Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
Christmas time is long gone, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t write reviews of Christmas films! I mean… it’s probably unwise… No one is asking for this. I could have just moved on with my life and prepared to review behemoth Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) or the colossal Godzilla vs Kong (2021), but Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) was a different beast. It affected me in a way that no film has affected me in a long time....
Pictured: A magical film that I haven't stopped thinking about for months.
Let’s explore why, shall we?
What makes Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) really interesting is that technically, it’s not really set at Christmas? It’s more set in a magical fantasy land that happens to be imbued with the spirit of Christmas, without ever actually ever saying “Merry Christmas". Think A Christmas Prince (2017); they definitely live in a real kingdom, but the kingdom seems to be perpetually in a state of Christmas cheer.
Pictured: It looks like Christmas and tastes like Christmas... It probably is Christmas!
As such, it’s able to explore the themes of Christmas without being bogged down in already-set Christmas lore. There’s no Santa, no Reindeer, no Jesus; just a couple of toy inventors making toys that the whole world loves!
Or at least… THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO THINK!
Underneath it’s warm fuzzy exterior beats the cold mechanical heart of everyone’s worst fear since watching The Terminator (1984). That’s right: the dangers of Artificial Intelligence.
Pictured: the subtext of a Christmas movie.
You think I’m joking?
8/10 LIVE IN FEAR!
Jeronicus Jangle is an idiot who dooms the world. We were all thinking it, I just had to be the one who said it.
Pictured: An idiot before his family abandons him for being an idiot.
He starts by inventing an artificial intelligence so complex and advanced it not only becomes self-aware instantly, but it also suffers from an existential conundrum. That’s right. This AI isn’t just smart; it can feel!
Now if you don’t think that’s anything to be scared of, you have to realise how complex emotions are. Even the AI we have today don’t suffer from emotions; they may replicate emotions, but can’t manifest them without prior input.
Pictured: The Harbinger of Death.
Don Juan Diego is a dancing Hispanic toy-man who, upon discovering plans to mass produce him, suffers from a traumatic existential crisis. Now, it’s one thing if my computer suffered from an existential crisis, but this is a computer with a walking, talking and dancing body! It has free reign to do whatever it can! And rather than dealing with his emotions in a rational matter, he seduces Jangle’s apprentice so that they can steal Jangle’s life-long list of inventions and sell them instead.
SO NOT ONLY is this artificial intelligence capable of human emotion, it hasn’t had time to develop and mature, so it lashes out quickly, while still having the cognitive skills to ruin a man's life in his wake!
7/10 LIFE IS PAIN!
And you know what’s even worse? Jangle doesn’t even learn anything from it. Turns out, in the meantime, Jeronicus Jangle has invented ANOTHER artificial intelligence with a BIGGER AND STRONGER body! Sure, it’s just Wall-E with feet this time, but this one has some form of telekinesis.
Pictured: The Apocalypse.
Do you see why this is terrifying yet? This is one of the smartest men alive creating an advanced, emotional and easily upset artificial intelligence with a capable body…. FOR CHILDREN! And when he realises that, hey, maybe that was a bad idea because that AI just bankrupted me, Jangle MAKES ANOTHER ONE?! Why is the smartest person so freaking stupid?
Oh yeah, the sets are absolutely beautiful, in a way that makes it feel fake but in just the right way. The music sets a fantastic tone throughout the film, with some exciting numbers. The costume designer deserves some sort of award because the costumes are timeless and classic, as well as real yet fanciful. It’s truly something to behold... but then Jangles' granddaughter ends up being the key to make this new AI work.
Pictured: The world sure looked great before the Robots took over.
That’s right! Now it’s not just an AI, it’s a SYMBIOTIC SYSTEM that REQUIRES HUMAN LIFE TO EXIST! And Jeronicus Jangle DIDN’T EVEN KNOW! What was he doing when he was inventing? Just slapping things together and failing his way to greatness? And by greatness of course I mean THE INEVITABLE END OF THE WORLD?!
9/10 DOES SENTIENCE EQUAL LIFE?
This new symbiotic AI is able to do literally anything. It has the power of a God! And it explains it in a way that makes it seem as though God is just a scientific formula and THIS ONE ARTIFICIAL BEING (I almost wrote robot, but I don’t know if a sentient artificial intelligence inhabiting a mechanoid body would like that and I might be in mortal danger) is the one thing that is able to use this formula. Also, a little girl is able to figure it out. On accident. She also fails her way to greatness.
Pictured: Unlocking the power to destroy us all.
None of the characters learn anything, except to believe in themselves. Which you know… is fine… if you aren’t going to lead to the destruction of all natural life on this planet, you know?
Yeah, sure, it’s a real fun time. I can’t get over how great the music is. The young main actress has amazing charisma, and is very engaging the entire time. Also, there's a really horny mail woman, and how can you go wrong there?
Pictured: She sings a whole song about how badly she wants to ride his bones. It's great!
But at what cost? At what cost?
Remember that scene in Terminator 2 when Sarah Connor blows up the Cyberdyne building, and the guy who invented it all lets himself die to save the future because he realises how bad his creation is?
Pictured: True bravery. He saved us all, and I didn't even know his name.
Yeah. That part. That’s what should happen. For the sake of humanity!
8/10 WE ARE ALL DOOMED!