We’re pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like Netflix’s new holiday film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The festive fantasy about a kid and her inventor granddad is pure infectious energy – and with exquisite detail. From the music, to the dancing, to the costumes it’s a wonderfully beautiful film that also subtly showcases black culture. Here’s seven things you should know about the soon to be Christmas classic.
The musical film is set in the colorful Victorian town called Cobbleton. In many ways it feels adjacent to Christmas classics like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Willy Wonka, but with one big difference: the characters are mostly black. Forest Whitaker plays Jeronicus Jangle a brilliant inventor who, decades after his apprentice betrays him, finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on his doorstep.
The film features a a diverse cast of top-notch talent from Whitaker, Phylicia Rashad, Keegan-Michael Key and Anika Noni Rose. At the heart of the film is a young girl named Journey (Madalen Mills) who will melt your heart. Latin pop star Ricky Martin plays a manipulative matador doll named Don Juan Diego, while British stage actress, Lisa Davina Phillip, who plays Ms. Johnston, makes her feature film debut and is absolutely amazing.
The film, written and directed by renowned playwright David E. Talbert, is the largest budget for a live-action movie helmed by a black person. John Legend is also an executive producer on the film and helped write the songs and create the soundtrack.
The film features original songs by John Legend, Philip Lawrence and Davy Nathan. Lawrence, who is also Bruno Mars’ writing partner, is also one of the background singers on the song “Smile” with Lisa Davina Phillip. Legend wrote the ballad “Make It Work” that Anika Noni Rose and Forest Whitaker sing. Then there’s the upbeat R&B track “This Day” performed by Usher and Kiana Ledé.
To be expected there’s flashy dance scenes and musical numbers. To give it a special cultural touch Talbert had choreographer Ashley Wallen watch tapes of step show performances from fraternities like Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi to incorporate. There’s also an African dance sequence as a group of kids and Whitaker dance along to a song by Ghanaian singer Bisa Kdei.
The movie will have a limited release in theaters so it can be award show eligible before debuting on Netflix November 13.
Plans For Broadway
Talbert also told us he has plans to turn the movie into a Broadway show eventually.