Verdict: An inventive origin story of Santa told through beautiful animation.
Stream it on Netflix.
Klaus is the first animated Netflix original film and it’s directed by Sergio Pablos who’s worked on films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Despicable Me, and Smallfoot. This is the first time he’s working as a director and the result is a delightful holiday movie about how the legend of Santa Claus started from true friendship. The film has already received wide praise and even a limited theatrical release in the US, which would qualify the film for an Oscar nomination.
What’s Klaus About:
Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) is a spoiled brat who comes from a family of postmen. In order to teach him some responsibility, his father stations him at the frozen island town of Smeerensburg and tasks him with posting 6,000 letters. The task seems impossible in the desolate town where everyone is enemies with everyone else until he meets Klaus (J. K. Simmons), an old woodsman who is willing to donate toys to children. Soon, the news spreads and the town’s children begin to write letters to Klaus asking for toys.
Animation in films has slowly shifted towards looking more realistic and traditional animation has fallen out of favor. Klaus brings back the style of traditional animation and mixes it with modern designs. This gives the film a unique look that evokes a cozy feeling.
A town populated only by feuding families might seem like an odd choice for the setting of a Christmas film, but it works. The families have all been fighting for so long that they’ve forgotten what the feuds were about and continue because of tradition. Their squabbles make for some hilarious moments and even some sad ones, especially since they reflect the realities of today. The children aren’t allowed to play with one another or even go to the local school run by Alva (Rashida Jones), who has since given up and opened a fish shop. Even Jesper begins the film miserable but soon, a small act of kindness by Klaus sparks another and the town begins to change for the better.
What Could’ve Been Better:
There are some predictable moments in Klaus but it doesn’t lessen the film’s emotional impact. The pop music in the film can feel out of place at times.
Why You Should Watch:
Klaus makes for a wonderful watch that is sure to make you merry and get you into the holiday spirits. It puts a new spin on what we know about Santa Claus and reimagines him as a man who just wanted to make the children of his hometown happy.