Review of 'Klaus'

klaus.jpg An amazing looking though slow moving film with a seasonal plot that gently entertains, “Klaus” is a bit of an unexpected delight.

Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) is a spoiled, wealthy young man whose father is determined to instil in him a worth ethic. With his recent failure at the postal academy, his father sends him to the furthest reaches of the kingdom in Smeerensberg and admonishes him to deliver 6,000 letters in a year. On arriving in the grey, cold and remote village Jesper quickly learns the villagers are at war with one another and the town is slowly decaying with no functioning school and general misery throughout. Finding no mail to deliver he goes in search of it which takes him to the remote house of a woodsman, Mr. Klaus (voiced by J.K. Simmons) who makes toys. Soon enough they are trading toys for letters from the local children…and the lives of the villagers, and everyone in the world, will never be the same again.

A very atmospheric, romantic tale of the “origins” of Santa Claus that is often incredibly dark and sinister. Jesper is our view into a dark and inhospitable town that he somehow needs to win over, full of an angry people who have largely forgotten why they are angry in the first place. Jesper is our comic relief in this world of darkness as he bumbles his inadequate way through the story but still managing to keep his optimism. The politics and philosophy is a bit heavy handed but the story is interesting and the characters interesting, keeping us guessing as to how it will all turn out. It is likely young children will find most of the film quite boring with long, contemplative scenes where nothing really happens, but they will perk up with the action sequences which are loud, fun, and dynamic.

It is the animation here that truly astounds - A modern, clean aesthetic that really captivates and draws us into this world. The town with it's tall, dark, dilapidated and sinister houses reflects the personalities of people that live with it yet at the same time portrays a wild sense of whimsy – Sort of like a “Looney Tunes” cartoon from the 60s.

Amazing looking, different Christmas story that is sure to entertain but perhaps only for the patient.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-12-31

Directed by: Sergio Pablos and Carlos Martínez López

Studio: The SPA Studios

Year: 2019

Length: 96 minutes

Genre: Animation