In the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle’s (Forest Whitaker) fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter (Madalen Mills) – and a long-forgotten invention – to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.
User Reviews: IN A NUTSHELL:
This jubilant movie is a breath of fresh air. If you love musicals, you’ll love this. If you don’t, step away. It feels like a colorful Broadway stage play but it’s even better because of the magic of technology and filmmaking. The movie was written and directed by David E. Talbert featuring a mostly African-American cast. It’s not the typical Christmas show, but it will definitely get you in the mood for magic and wonder. Thank you to Netflix for saving 2020 with all of the awesome content this year and for inviting me to screen this movie early!
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
This is entirely family-friendly entertainment. Yay!
Little girls, especially, are going to love this.
When your kids have a hard time with math, just remind them about the "square root of possible."
"We wait for no tomorrows!" – Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin)
"The square root of impossible is the possible in me!" – Journey ( Madalen Mills)
Be who you’re meant to be
"If you believe, it’s all possible." – Grandmother (Phylicia Rashad)
THINGS I LIKED:
The musical score by John Debney is spirited with fun variety. I don’t know if little girls around the world will stop singing songs from Frozen 2 but these songs are really sweet. Every singer in the cast blew my socks off. The songs perfectly fit the scenes and feel like they belong to the story.
The lively singing and energetic dancing are delightful. It reminded me of the joyful movie The Greatest Showman , which is quite a compliment because I absolutely love that movie.
The talented cast includes charismatic performances by Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Phylicia Rashad, Justin Cornwell, Anika Noni Rose, and even Ricky Martin!
Madalen Mills is absolutely adorable and fantastic. Her voice is pure and she’s definitely got some acting chops that will surely grant her a great future in films. Do I smell Disney in her future?
Who else wants Phylicia Rashad to be their grandmother? Yes, please.
I thought the toy matador was so fun and I wanted to see more of him. He’s voiced by none other than Ricky Martin!
I love how the live-action movie was intertwined with animation.
There is a cute snowball fight scene that used local business owners and shops as Extras in Norwich, England where the scene was filmed.
Charming set design and production.
I didn’t know Keegan-Michael Key or Forest Whitaker could sing! Wow! Nice! Forest Whitaker actually sings three times!
John Legend recorded the song "This song" and stated, "As a father, I jumped at the chance to be involved with a holiday film that’s both inspirational and inclusive, a film with a great message where my kids can see themselves reflected on the screen." He wrote some of the other songs and produced the film as well.
Some really great CGI.
The costume design by Michael Wilkinson is extremely vibrant and detailed with fun touches.
Keep watching during the closing credits for some more cute images that match the job titles of the crew.
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE:
The lips don’t always quite match the singing. All of the songs are good but they’re not all memorable.
Some cheesy, overacted, cliched moments.
It’s hard to tell where the story is supposed to take place…USA? Europe? England?
The new toy toward the end of the movie looks an awful lot like Wall-E.
There are a LOT of plots crammed into the story.
* "You can throw roses at my feet later." – Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin)
"Ok, back to me!" – Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin)
"Well, you hurry back as slowly as you can." – (Forest Whitaker)
"It’s not stealing when you borrow indefinitely." – Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin)
"What makes you think you can get it work?" – Edison Latimer (Kieron Dyer) "Because there’s nothing that says I can’t." – Journey (Madalen Mills)
"The magic isn’t just in what you’ve lost. It’s in what you still have." – Ms. Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip)
"A child with an imagination always belongs." – Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker
"Never be afraid of what you can see. Only be afraid if you no longer see it." – Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker)
You can see the rest of my review on my Movie Review Mom YouTube channel and website