Netflix has begun churning out their watchlist for the holidays, which gives us a mutlitude of options to entertain ourselves with during this festive season. Last time, I discussed my thoughts on Let It Snow (2019). Now, we have a joyous animated treat that I truly did enjoy.
Klaus (2019) is an animated Christmas comedy written and directed by Spanish director Sergio Pablos. It sets to present to us a re-imagining of the origins of the fabled Santa Claus from the perspective of the guy who came up the whole scheme in the first place.
The film stars the voices of Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Rashida Jones (The Office), and Joan Cusack (Toy Story) among others.
When the spoiled son of a postal service tycoon Jesper becomes the worst student in the postal academy, his father sends him to a frozen hellhole of an island village located above the Arctic Circle, where Jesper must establish a postal office virtually from scratch.
This proves to be harder than it already seems, however, when Jesper realizes that the people in the village would rather carry on an age-old feud that has divided them for generations than send letters to each other.
Just about ready to give up, Jesper discovers a reclusive woodsman and toy maker named Klaus, who he enlists the help of – encouraging the children to send letters asking for gifts.
Klaus presents itself as a origin story to the legend of Santa Claus. While simple in its structure, the film is nonetheless effective in the delivery of its message and is able to utilize the perfect feel-good Christmas formula without needing to resort to tired cliches. Most people don’t imagine Santa Claus as a crabby recluse after all.
Instead, the film differentiates itself with its cheeky humor, its blunt but expressive dialogue, and its well-rounded characters. And with the help of its interesting premise and its nostalgic art style, Klaus proves to be a touching Christmas story that might not tread any new ground but is original enough to be a film that’s to be enjoyed in the holidays to come.
J.K. Simmons and Joan Cusack are fantastic in the roles of Klaus and Mrs. Krum. Simmons brings to a character a sense of both mournful dejection and infectious cheer – a performance not unfamiliar to the Oscar winning actor. Meanwhile, Cusack breathes into Mrs. Krum a menacing vibe that’s flawlessly contrasted by the actress’ hilarious comedic interjections.
Jesper, Klaus, and Alva all experience a simple yet wonderfully heart-warming character arc that is helped by each of their pleasingly thoughtful characterizations. Much like the plot, they eventually embrace the spirit of the holiday even though it takes them a little time do it.
And by utilizing a mix of CGI and hand-drawn animation to bring these characters to life, Klaus carries with it a sense of timelessness that looks like nothing if not refreshing. Stunning visuals aside, the animation is also used as a storytelling tool to convey character development and tone to a beautiful degree.
“A true selfless act always sparks another.”
While Christmas movies are mostly known for their overuse of cliches to get their message across, Klaus takes a different route. As patient as it is thoughtful in its approach, the film is a creative take on the legend of Santa Claus and on the Christmas genre, altogether. As something that the whole family can enjoy, I definitely recommend that you give this film a watch.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie and your favorite incarnation of Santa Claus? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Do you enjoy the content on this blog? It now has a Patreon page! If you want to show your support for it, click here to become a patron!