First Class Christmas Joy

Name: Klaus
Genre: Animation, Family, Adventure
Year: 2019

A Christmassy feel good movie so endlessly engaging and emotionally heart-warming, Klaus is the perfect Christmas afternoon film.  

Completely allow yourself to submerge into this wonderful fantasy world where Christmas joy and hope is spread, changing a community and changing lives for the better.

Posh and spoilt Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) has proven to his father that he is constantly failing at training to automatically go back to his life of servants, linen sheets and unlimited food. His father has decided it’s time to teach him a lesson, giving him a taste of tough love. Jesper is sent to an isolated island of Smeerensburg, where the citizens are divided into two tribes, and are not fond of outsiders.  

This father gives him the task of posting 6,000 letters in one year. If Jesper completes this mission he can return to his posh life and being spoilt. Jesper is stumped of how to get the citizens of Smeerensburg to send letters to each other, rather than throwing spears and pitch forks.

Jesper’s luck starts to change when he meets a tall mysterious bearded woodsman named Klaus (J.K.Simmons), who used to be the islands toy maker. With the help of Alva (Rashida Jones), the islands teacher who also wants to leave the place and not look back, one true act of goodwill could change the lives of everyone in the community.  

But not everyone is happy with the peaceful outcome and healing of the town. The two elders of the clans, Mrs Krum (Joan Cusack) and Mr Ellingboe (Will Sasso), would rather the town to stay at war than accept the community as one.

The cast itself worked extremely well, reflecting a wide range of ages, class and gender. You wouldn’t automatically think that Simmons would be your first choice of actor when you’re casting for the warm and jolly Saint Nick. But it worked, it should a beautiful progression in his journey and it worked well tugging on the audience’s heart strings.

The animation style for Klaus took a little time to get used to. Initially at the start of Klaus, it didn’t feel like a Christmas film to me. But Klaus is the first traditional hand-drawn film to use lighting and texturing, providing 3D look that audiences expect for CGI animation. The surroundings were similar to Frozen, but coming off unique enough due to the lack of hand-drawn animation films on the market these days.

I felt like a child watching this film, with funny explanations of elements like the naughty list, coal being left in stockings and even flying reindeer. It sure put a smile on my face showing these elements come to life.

Klaus also has a simple but effective message; a kind act will spark another. You see characters treating others with kindness and respect, which spread like wildfire. It started with the children of the town, being friendlier, looking after the place and helping the elderly. Then the adults saw the happiness their children were having, and couldn’t resist trying to be nice themselves.

Even with this powerful message, the script itself encourages a good amount of humour, with some laugh out loud moments. Klaus is fully packed and wrapped with emotion, like a roller-coaster from tears to smiling in seconds – especially the ending.

One more thing that will make Klaus a Christmas tradition to watch is it’s original song ‘Invisible’ performed by Zara Larsson. Grab yourself a nice hot chocolate and sit down and relax, let this film fill you with joy and Christmas spirit.

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