Australian Council on Children and the Media

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

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Short takes

Not suitable under 7; parental guidance to 10 (mild scary scenes and sad themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
  • a review of Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 November 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not suitable due to some scary scenes and sad themes.
Children aged 7–10 Parental guidance recommended due to mild scary scenes and sad themes.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group though parents should be aware that there are some sad themes (death of a parent).

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild Themes, scary scenes
Length 120 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a Christmas musical fantasy movie. It tells the story of Jeronicus Jangles (Forest Whitaker (and Justin Cornwell as young Jeronicus)), a brilliant inventor and engineer of imaginative toys, who owns the magical and beautiful toyshop, ‘Jangles and Things’. Everything takes a downward turn for Jeronicus when his apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his book of inventions, as well as his most prized new toy, the animated talking matador doll, Don Juan Diego (voice of Ricky Martin). Gustafson sets up his own toy empire with the stolen ideas and Jeronicus is deeply hurt by his apprentice’s betrayal. Slowly, Jangles and Things sinks into financial ruin. When his wife Joanne (Sharon Rose) dies and his daughter Jessica (Annika Noni Rose) grows distant and leaves him alone, Jeronicus is a sad man whose once magical toyshop is now a run-down pawn shop. Just when things are at their worst, Jeronicus is surprised by the arrival of his young granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), whom he has never met before. Disarmed by her infectious, unconditional love and affection for him, as well as by her brilliant intelligence, Jeronicus begins to see things more positively. Journey shares her grandfather’s passion for inventing, and she is not just brilliant, she also has the innocent imagination and belief that only a child can bring. Journey’s belief in magic and the impossible breathes new life into the discarded inventions in Jeronicus’ workshop. Gustafson, on the other hand, is quickly running out of stolen inventions and has his sights set on stealing whatever he can from Jeronicus. Journey and Jeronicus must rescue their latest invention from Gustafson and bring it to life in time for Christmas.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Christmas; Musical; Inventions and Engineering; Fantasy; Magic; Death of a parent; Father, daughter and granddaughter relationships; Breaking moulds; Accepting difference.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • The moving doll, Don Juan Diego, has a habit of slapping Gustafson in the face. He also shouts, “Kick their shins, pull their hair, twist their arms”, when they discover the children are in the shop.
  • There is a snowball fight with people throwing snowballs at each other and being hit in the head and face. They are having fun. Jeronicus hits a policeman right in the face.
  • Gustafson grabs Journey’s arm roughly and she pulls herself free and runs away.
  • Gustafson breaks into the Jangles and Things shop and then we see later that he has tied up the young assistant, Edison, to some furniture with a rope.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Don Juan Diego is a little puppet with a lot of personality but at times he can look a little intense and creepy, especially when you can see inside his skull and the mechanisms of him moving. He is also quite mean and shouts things at people and slaps them.
  • Jeronicus’ wife Joanne dies, leaving him with their daughter Jessica. It is a sad scene but is brushed over quite lightly with just the image of her gravestone shown to symbolise that she has died.
  • Jeronicus loses his temper and shouts in anger and despair at his granddaughter when he discovers her touching his things in the workshop.
  • A small robot comes to life and at first the two children are afraid and hide under some furniture, but they soon realise that it is a friendly robot. Edison shouts out, “I don’t want to die!”.
  • Gustafson is a bit of a villain and seems angry, mean, and a little menacing throughout most of the film.
  • Journey and Edison go up into Jeronicus’ workshop and at first, they think it’s a little bit spooky and might be haunted. Spooky music plays and it is dark. They soon realise there is nothing to be afraid of.
  • A flying drone/robot flies into a man’s face and he shouts out that his face is burning.
  • Journey and Edison are running away from Gustafson and they find themselves trapped inside a large air vent. There is a fire coming through the vent and the only way they can escape is to get through the giant whirling blades. This is the most perilous scene in the movie and it is quite fast paced and tense.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children in this age group are likely to find the above-mentioned scenes scary.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Ok for this age group, however parents should be aware of the more sensitive themes such as death of a parent.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mrs. Johnston, the local postwoman, is very attracted to Jeronicus and flirts with him outrageously. She does things like dangle mistletoe above their heads and hold his fingers longingly.
  • Don Juan Diego admires himself in the mirror, looking at his backside and talking about his ‘bumpies’.
  • Edison might have a crush on Journey.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Gustafson appears to drink alcohol from a wine glass.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Imbecile
  • Bumpies (bottom cheeks).

In a nutshell

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a fun and different twist on the usual holiday movie genre. What it lacks in coherent plotlines, it makes up for with great musical numbers, fantastic costumes and some lovely positive messages about family, forgiveness and the magical powers of belief and imagination. The central character of Journey, a young ten-year-old with a passion for inventing, is a wonderful positive role model whose twinkling brightness and spark is delightful. Whilst smaller children will enjoy the music and dancing (even if they get a bit lost in the story), parents should be aware that there are a few scenes that some children might find mildly scary.

The main messages from this movie are that being different is something to be embraced even when it feels tough; that imagination and belief are just as important as facts and calculations; and that it is never too late for forgiveness and redemption.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Not being afraid to be smart and intelligent and to stand out as different.
  • The amazing healing power of unconditional love.
  • Time and patience can heal old wounds and forgiveness is possible.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • What happens when we drive away the people we love the most? Is it important to try and heal old wounds?

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