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Last week, I enjoyed the special holiday episodes of The Great British Baking Show. Tina reviewed two mysteries — The Searcher by Tana French, set in Ireland, and Fallen Angel by Jenny O’Brien, set in Northern Wales.
I mentioned last week that comedies haven’t been working for me this year. It turns out that the light-hearted Christmas rom-coms are mostly failing for me, too. Granted, they’re rarely great movies, but I usually enjoy them for a few weeks in December. This year, the only one that worked for me, so far, was The Princess Switch: Switched Again. I was already invested in the characters and setting from watching last year’s The Princess Switch. I’m open for recommendations, though!
In the meantime, however, I’m grateful for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. This movie is set in a vaguely Victorian, vaguely London city with steampunk elements. The mostly black cast is also mostly American, although Lisa Davina Phillip is delightful in her film debut as the mail carrier and wanna-be love interest. Downton Abbey fans will also enjoy Hugh Bonneville who plays a small role that I enjoyed as being neither villain nor white savior.
I loved seeing Phylicia Rashad as the grandmother in the framing story. Such a comforting presence in such wonderfully-decorated Christmas space.
The two main characters of Jingle Jangle are Jeronicus Jangle (played by Forest Whitaker), owner of a pawn shop that was once a successful toy shop, and his granddaughter Journey (played by newcomer Madalen Mills). Together, they work through just the sort of story arc that works so well at Christmas. Jeronicus is a washed-up (and grumpy) toymaker, but Journey believes in him and herself and their abilities to bring Christmas magic to life. The magic looks like STEM, and sometimes is, so this is a great movie for engaging kids in engineering.
Of course, a good story needs a good villain. Jingle Jangle has two. Gustafson probably would have turned out better if he had not been coached by the mechanical doll Don Juan Diego, voiced by Ricky Martin.
The musical numbers add to the festive mood, thanks to songs by John Legend and collaborators.
Have you seen Jingle Jangle? What did you think?