In an attempt at breaking my will to live, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hollywood all teamed together and decided to throw out as many Christmas related movies as they could in one week. Beating the record of last year, we’ve seen more Christmas oriented feature length pieces in the past week than we could have ever dreaded before. The abysmal Disney offering Noelle has set a precedent to modern Christmas films being nothing short of disastrous. Thanks to those at Netflix though, they’ve pulled a small diamond out of their very rough originals in the form of Klaus, starring the voices of Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons and Rashida Jones.
Possibly the most unique part of Klaus is its animation style, a style that reminded me of The Secret of Monkey Island, the old LucasArts game that released some years ago. A great feeling to see an entire film expand upon this art style and give it a nice, crisp, festive feeling. Animated films are often impressive, but the work and effort that has gone into making Klaus look this great is superb, an exemplary offering of what can be done when some hard work is actually put into a Netflix original. It’s always a surprise when Netflix manage to pull something this enjoyable, seemingly out of nowhere, Klaus was dumped onto Netflix without so much a preview to announce the film. A sad shame too, since this is one of the finest Netflix outputs available to date.
That’s not entirely a hallmark of quality though, with Klaus merely being a wholesome yet forgettable piece of animation that looks great but lacks anything unique enough in the story department to make a lasting impression. Boasting an impressive ensemble cast, Klaus is a unique spin on the origins of Father Christmas and how the festivities and fabled legends of Christmas began.
Klaus follows snobby postman Jeaper (Jason Schwartzman), who is given exactly one year to turn the barbaric village of Smeerensberg into a profitable mailing area by delivering 6,000 letters. He encounters Klaus (J.K. Simmons) and together they craft the story of Klaus, a man that delivers presents to children that write to him. So begins a tale of how Christmas began, and director Sergio Pablos has no trouble being as creative as he possibly can be in his directorial debut. He crafts a great story that relies on an enviously great cast including solid performers like Norm Macdonald and Joan Cusack in great supporting performances.
Schwartzman is a truly impressive performer and has a few hidden gems under his built. I have no doubt that Klaus will join the likes of The Overnight and his supporting role in Big Eyes as ill forgotten but generally enjoyable pieces of film. The cast alone is enough to peak the average fans interest, with Oscar winners galore in this charming animated piece. The story captures what everyone believes the message of Christmas to be, and it genuinely does propel the piece into uncharted territory, a great change from what could’ve been a simply mediocre piece of film.
This is how a Christmas film should be crafted. If you’ve nothing unique to add to the ‘Christmas is a time for family’ message then just slap that tried and tested storyline into a film that looks visually delightful. The results are perfectly pure, and Klaus is a certainly enjoyable piece of film that captures the meaning of Christmas in suitably cosy fashion.