A Wonderful Christmas Film
This time of year always brings out two sets of people. Those who absolutely love Christmas and those who dread the holiday season. Thankfully, I fall into the former category, making it a perfect time to sit down and watch Netflix’s new animated Christmas film, Klaus. Tapping into that magical charm and feel-good vibes that make Christmas so magical, Klaus is the perfect family film for this time of year, and one that may just stand the test of time as a Christmas classic for years to come.
The story begins with Jesper, an arrogant, selfish young man living the high life. When his Father forces him to become the new postman on the isolated, ravaged island of Smeerensburg, what follows is a heartwarming tale of friendship, belief and empathy. Jesper’s chance encounter with a lonely woodworker acts as the catalyst to melt an age-old feud in the town below, and as the film progresses so too does the concept of Christmas.
Utilizing a blend of CGI and hand-drawn animation, Klaus is absolutely gorgeous to look at. The lighting bounces realistically off the different character models and the hand-drawn landscapes really give this film an old-school animated feel akin to the early Disney films of the 90’s. Aesthetically, there’s a real understanding of colour and tone too, and the thin lines around models, along with some exaggerated mannerisms and attention to detail, make Klaus one of the prettiest animated films in a long time.
All of this ties in to the musical score too, which cleverly utilizes all the traditional tropes of old, including classical undertones during bouts of dialogue and a vocal-driven montage during the film’s third act. All of this, combined with the simplistic (but effective) structure to this film makes Klaus a surprisingly strong Christmas film and a very enjoyable animation in its own right.
The voice actors do a great job with their roles too, especially J.K. Simmons who manages to inject just the right tones of poignant regret and upbeat enthusiasm into Klaus’ character during the different moments of the film. If I have one gripe here though it comes from Joan Cusack’s performance as Mrs. Krum who, upon looking at the character itself, I expected to have a bit more of a cackle and maniacal tone that isn’t really delivered in the film. To be honest though, this is more of a personal gripe than an actual detriment so take this critique with a pinch of salt.
While Klaus doesn’t reinvent the wheel or do anything particularly original, it does tap into the perfect Christmas formula that makes films like The Polar Express and Jingle All The Way stand the test of time. Whether Klaus will join the ranks as another instant Christmas favourite remains to be seen but this a wonderfully heartwarming film nonetheless and an imaginative take on Santa Claus’ origin.