Netflix got into the Animated Christmas Spirit this year releasing “Klaus” an origin story about Santa Klaus starring J.K. Simmons, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, Joan Cusack and Norm MacDonald.
The film is Sergio Pablos’ directorial debut. You may know some of his previous work as a writer for “Despicable Me,” and working in the animation department on other classics like “Rio,” “Tarzan,” “Treasure Planet” and others.
The film has a beautiful 2D aesthetic harkening back to the classics of yesteryear. The animation is fresh and visually pleasing. The stylistic depictions accentuate the story of the town of Smeerensburg (essentially the North Pole) and its Hatfield-vs-McCoy inhabitants feuding for the sake of feuding.
The story follows Jesper (Schwartzman), a mailman with his final chance to prove to his father he can hack it before he is cut off from his cushy existence. By chance, Jesper happens upon Klaus (Simmons), a woodsman and toymaker in a previous life, who has only ever wanted to see his toys bring joy to little children. The final piece are the children who would love nothing more than to have a brand new toy to play with. The three pieces like cogs in a clock work together to birth the Santa Klaus mythologies as needy kids begin receiving their presents.
As the film progresses a main theme emerges, “a true, selfless act always sparks another.” A kind of “love wins” over the neverending feuds and backward traditions that have persisted here for so long. The acts of giving to one another results in new bonds formed and old differences fading away.
It is a wonderful message to attach to Christmas for children and adults alike. It is, after all, God’s gift of His son Jesus, the reason we celebrate Christmas.