ingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a 2020 American Christmas musical fantasy film written and directed by David E. Talbert. Choreographed by Ashley Wallen, it stars Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Davina Phillip, Ricky Martin, and introducing Madalen Mills. The film, which was originally planned as a stage production, received ten nominations, the most at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
Jeronicus Jangle—an inventor, toymaker, and owner of Jangles and Things—receives the final component to his latest invention that he believes will change his and his family’s lives forever. This component helps create Don Juan Diego, a sentient matador doll. Jeronicus leaves to celebrate, leaving Diego and the store under the care of his apprentice Gustafson. Diego is distraught to learn that he will be mass-produced, thus robbing him of his uniqueness. He manages to convince Gustafson, an aspiring inventor himself, to get back at Jeronicus by taking Diego and his book of inventions.
Without proof of Gustafson’s actions to show to the police, Jangles and Things falls into financial hardship while Gustafson starts his own factory. After the death of his wife Joanne, Jeronicus grows distant from his daughter, Jessica, who moves away.
30 years later, Jangles and Things is a failing pawnbroker shop and Jeronicus has completely lost his creative spark. He is visited by postwoman Ms. Johnston who is sympathetic to his plight and smitten with him as she tries to lift his spirits. Jeronicus is visited by banker Mr. Delacroix who tells him to pay his debts or produce a new invention to show to the bank by Christmas or lose his shop.
Meanwhile, it is revealed that Jessica now has a daughter named Journey who shares Jeronicus’ passion for inventing. A letter arrives for Jessica from Jeronicus, and Jessica sends Journey to stay with him until Christmas. Upon arriving, Jeronicus seems uninterested in her, though agrees to let her stay. Gustafson, now a famous toy tycoon, has exhausted all inventions from Jeronicus’ book. At a party, Gustafson unveils a toy that he has since been trying to perfect called the Twirly Whirly, though it malfunctions and attacks one of the guests. Diego convinces Gustafson to steal another invention of Jeronicus’.
Jeronicus is busy working on his next toy, The Buddy 3000, which Journey discovers was conceived and designed by Jessica, and she resolves to get it to work. That night, she is caught in Jeronicus’ workshop by his assistant, Edison. Together, they find Buddy’s body in Jeronicus’ workshop, and after putting in the mechanism that Jeronicus was working on, Buddy comes to life. Jeronicus hears the commotion and enters, causing Buddy to shut down. After sending Journey to bed, he laments about his estrangement from his daughter, the loss of his wife, and the memories he used to share with them.
Journey and Edison discover that Buddy has been stolen by Gustafson. They manage to infiltrate Gustafson’s factory, where he conducts a failed unveiling of Buddy. Gustafson orders Buddy destroyed, though Journey and Edison are able to retrieve it before it can happen. After realizing Journey and Edison have gone missing, Jeronicus goes to the factory. With help from Jeronicus and Buddy, Journey and Edison are able to escape the factory, though Buddy is severely damaged as a result. Ms. Johnston arrives to help them escape Gustafson and his guards.
Journey reveals to Jeronicus that she wrote to Jessica on his behalf, wanting to get to know him. Wanting to do right by Journey and Jessica, who arrives in town to retrieve Journey, he gets to work on fixing Buddy. Jessica confronts Jeronicus over his neglect for her, though he unveils hundreds of unsent letters to her that he couldn’t bring himself to send. After making amends, Jessica helps Jeronicus fix Buddy over night.
Jeronicus and his family are confronted by Gustafson, Diego, and the police, and accused of stealing Buddy from him, though Journey disproves this. Jeronicus removes the life-giving component from Diego for reprogramming. As Gustafson is arrested, Jeronicus gives Gustafson the missing component for his Twirly he wanted to give him years back, which he would’ve been given if he was patient. Mr. Delacroix arrives in the store and sees Buddy, and promises to give Jeronicus funding for any invention he desires to make.
The story is shown to be told by an older Journey to her grandchildren and she unveils a still functional Buddy to them. She flies them to the Jangle-owned factory where Gustafson’s factory once stood. At the end credits, a book montage of Jangles and Things going back into business, Gustafson finally perfecting his Twirly Whirly in his cell, Diego’s doll being mass-produced, and the opening of Jangle’s factory.
Forest Whitaker as Jeronicus, a toymaker and inventor
Justin Cornwell as Young Jeronicus
Madalen Mills as Journey, the granddaughter of Jeronicus
Phylicia Rashad as Grandmother Journey
Keegan-Michael Key as Gustafson, the apprentice of Jeronicus
Miles Barrow as Young Gustafson
Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Delacroix, a banker
Anika Noni Rose as Jessica, the daughter of Jeronicus and the mother of Journey
Diana Babincova as Young Jessica
Ricky Martin as the voice of Don Juan Diego, a sentient matador doll
Jonny Labey provided the motion capture of Don Juan Diego
Lisa Davina Phillip as Ms. Johnston, a postwoman
Marisha Wallace as Ms. Johnston’s singing voice
Kieron L. Dyer as Edison, Jeronicus’ assistant
Sharon Rose as Joanne, Jeronicus’ wife
Abraham Popoola as Rogers
Tobias Poppe as the voice of Buddy 3000, a toy robot creation.
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