While at first I was a bit skeptical about a Christmas movie without a Santa Claus, reindeer, the North Pole and all of the other things that come along with a usual holiday classic, my mind was quickly changed after the first twenty minutes. (I shouldn’t be surprised, considering Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a perfect score.) It’s clear that Jangle’s talent as a toy inventor is equal to than that of the big man himself. Plus, the wonders of the colorful shop, Jangles and Things, make viewers feel like they're taking a trip to the North Pole—minus the elves, of course. So my immediate fear of the movie lacking that Christmasy quality was quickly put to rest.
The entire film is reminiscent of big-studio musicals (think Oliver!) and Broadway plays with giant singing and dancing ensembles coming and going—starting with the first musical number, “Today.” The vibrant Victorian-esque costumes are an added bonus.
In my less-than-rotten-tomatoes-worthy opinion, although the entire cast does an incredible job of capturing the magic and whimsy of the holiday, Jordan Peele, Ricky Martin and newcomer Madlen Mills are absolutely what sold me on this one. Not only was their acting, or in Martin’s case, voiceover work, way more sophisticated than what we’d get from our usual choice in Christmas Hallmark movies, but their musical numbers brought a Disney feel to the flick (especially, in one Peter Pan-like scene where children are flying around the room and singing). However, it was tough at times to look at Peele as an evil villain.
My only criticism of the film? I would have enjoyed one or two more Christmas-centered songs, rather than interior monologue numbers about the characters’ feelings. Perhaps I’m getting too nit-picky, but I can’t help but crave a song like “Believe” from the Polar Express.
Overall, Jingle Jangle is pure, simple fun for the whole family (especially the snowball fight scene where everyone breaks out in a dance). And we wouldn’t be surprised if becomes one of the classics.