While Jingle Jangle provides spectacular visual effects, catchy songs, and lovable characters, I fear it will go down in film history as only a cult classic that is adequate at best.
The reason for this being just another Christmas film is the plot: Journey Jangle, granddaughter of legendary toymaker/inventor Jeronicus Jangle, seeks to restore faith in her grandfather who has become disenchanted after his apprentice Gustafson had stolen his ideas decades earlier. This is a recycled plot that has been used on a myriad of productions over the years. I could see each detail coming around its respective corner.
For the most part, the casting was great, except for one character: our antagonist, Gustafson, played by legendary comedian Keegan-Michael Key. Because Key has left such a wonderful impression as a goofy comedian, it was difficult for me to accept him portraying a driven villain. While there are plenty of comedians who have triumphed in dramatic roles (think Robin Williams and Peter Sellers), I do not believe this is the role for which he will achieve that feat.
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed watching this flick, and I am sure that there are many who will want to screen it again each holiday season, but I have learned there is a clear difference between enjoying a movie, which is based in reaction, and praising it, which is rooted in artistic criticism. I elaborated on this in one of my earlier reviews for Hubie Halloween. Years from now, critics will not lump it together with other Christmas classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Elf, Home Alone, or even Die Hard.
For those seeking simple entertainment, indulge! For those seeking something bigger, look elsewhere.