2020 has been a trip, so I say we are in for a little good news. Nothing fits the bill better than David Talbert’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The costumes, the music, the cast, the script are scrumptious and exactly what we all need to put us in the spirit of things. It’s chocolaticity at its best! Never have I seen a film that made me feel so many things, yet made me so proud simultaneously! Yes, y’all finally a Black Christmas movie with all the flair, heart, soul and whimsical yumminess we need right now!
Meet Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker) a young inventor who just needs one great invention to put him own the map. He spends decade after decade working on it until he finally hits the jackpot. Problem is, his apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) wants to hit the jackpot too. So badly, that he betrays Jeronicus stealing and taking credit for his bullfighter toy (voiced by Ricky Martin) invention and many others for decades. Once a joyful toy maker with a beautiful family, Jeronicus’ life crumbles after losing not only his invention, but his dutiful, supportive wife making him a shell of himself. Completely checking out of life, new hope presents itself when his bright young granddaughter (Madalen Mills) appears on his doorstep.
David Talbert is giving us a Chocolate Scrooge aka George Bailey (ala It’s a Wonderful Life) in the form of Forest Whitaker singing with sultry, dulcet tones that will bring tears to your eyes. Mixing stop animation, puppetry and traditional animation makes this film so unique and special only enhancing the viewer’s experience. But Whitaker is not the only one throwing down with musical brilliance. Tony winner Anika Noni Rose (Jessica), her mini me Journey (Madalen Mills), Keegan-Michael Key and Lisa Davina Phillip (Ms. Johnston) all have numbers that are top notch written and performed. My favorite numbers were anything involving Ms. Johnson aka Lis Davina Phillip. She is a highlight of the film with not only her ridiculous vocal prowess, but her comedic and dramatic chops are completely on point making her the perfect compliment as a love interest and inspriation for the widowed inventor.
But baby, not only is Forest Whitaker singing, but he’s even doing a little African dance break in the snow while calculating throwing snowballs in a good old-fashioned snow fight. At the heart of this Netflix original is the question of what does it take for one not to give up and believe in yourself while reminding us that a child with an imagination can accomplish anything.
Lyn and David Talbert have been producing and writing for more than 20 years. Now, they have managed to create a new Christmas classic where every little Black girl and boy will look at the screen and see someone who looks like them. With a musical numbers written by John Debney and produced by Oscar /Grammy winner John Legend, Netflix has put all the ingredients together for the best global gift ever with Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Can you tell I loved it? I really do and I am confident that you all will agree with me when you check it out.