Did Netflix just release one of the better Christmas specials for the decade? It looks that way. Here’s my Klaus review which you can now catch on Netflix.
The film looks gorgeous with their unique mix of 3D animation and traditional hand-drawn animation. That’s what they actually used to market the film before it’s release on the streaming platform. The fusion of two styles aided in telling a story that’s surprisingly heartwarming. Had they not done this for the film, it would have tanked or got bad reviews. Totally took care of that aspect. Those establishing shots all make for great viewing too because of how the film was animated.
The film follows a spoiled young man named Jesper (Jason Schwartzmann) who is suddenly assigned by his father to play postman in a distant island that’s so rural that they even have clan grudges from time to time. He needs to work on 6000 letters (all postal paid of course). He meets a woodcutter named Klaus living far away from the village who gradually becomes his partner in giving toys to the kids of the village much to the annoyance of the warring clan elders.
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man, Whiplash) provides the voice of Klaus and does wonders for the film. Without even his physical presence, Simmons helps deliver a great performance as the Christmas icon. Brilliant casting and one that I didn’t expect to click. Jesper’s transformation here is one that we can also enjoy and feel connected with. It’s nothing fresh or unique but its the journey from being a selfish guy who just wants to get back to his pampered life to a man who just want to make his community happy and thereby forever changing it. It’s good stuff.
The story has a lot of tropes but at the same time it offers up some fresh and touching moments. Here are a few you need to look out for.
- Klaus peers through a window a sees the wonder and happiness in the eyes of the first child they delivered a toy with. The subtle change in the way he looks and even his facial expression really signified the film’s change of tone. It was all good at this point.
- Dejected school teacher Alva half-heartedly teaches her class who surprises her with their willingness to learn, something she had been looking for since she started teaching in the island. This ofcourse is brought about by the students wanting to write Santa telling him how good they were. So when one student finishes writing her name on the blackboard, and informs the teacher that she wants to learn more, a spark reignites in her for teaching.
Swear to God I found myself tearing up in those moments. It also helped that they had musical scoring throughout these scenes and more.
If there’s one thing that may not have worked in my opinion, which I am officially putting down in this Klaus review, it’s the fact that it can get really dark and gloomy. Even some segments in the first act made me rethink if this was really written with kids in mind. I mean there’s out and out violence and subtle hints of violence throughout town. I get that the Ellenboughs and the Klums don’t get well together from a few hints but do we need it to have Soo much cartoonish violence?
Klaus is definitely made with so much love. When it wants to be tender and sweet it does so without effort and they are also out to teach a lot of lessons. Most importantly though, its about treating others well and showing compassion; which is one of the main focus points of the holidays.