After proving himself to be the worst postman at the academy, a postman named Jesper Johansson (voice of Jason Schwartzman) is posted to a frozen town in the North where he discovers Santa Claus (voice of J.K. Simmons) is hiding out.
Ah, yes, animated movies. Some of my all-time favorites if I am going to be honest. Although I do not frequently watch them, there is no denying that I love them. In fact, my favorite film of all of 2016 was Travis Knight’s excellent and emotionally powerful stop-motion feature Kubo and the Two Strings.
That’s not to say that there are not some bad animated movies (I’m looking at you The Emoji Movie) but there are plenty of great ones out there to watch and enjoy. Funny enough, I have not seen too many animated features set around the Christmas holiday, so I was excited to see what Sergio Pablos’ directorial debut Klaus would have to offer. Firstly, I adore Christmas movies. My favorite one of all time is still to this day National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. My family and I watch that film at least once every single year near Christmas Day. It is a hilarious and fun tradition for us.
Second, the praise for this movie was pretty high, with some calling it an instant classic. Now that I have seen it, I can say that Klaus is a decent, above average animated movie but is not groundbreaking in any way. This is quite a cute and fun movie that has a great message at its core but it does suffer from some issues along its way.
The animation here however is truly phenomenal. It reminded me a lot of the way last year’s incredible Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was animated. Everything looks absolutely beautiful and Klaus uses an extremely unique and fresh style of animation that makes its imagery pop even more. I wish that more animated movies looked like this. Sometimes we will see our lead character Jesper have a certain look on his face and the way it is animated is genius.
When it comes to its issues though, the story was one that I was not all that interested in for a long while. Gratefully, the third act picked up steam immensely and things finally started to get interesting, but for a large portion of the film, I was not always invested in what was going on. In fact, there were some sequences in which I was just flat out bored.
Also, the humor is a bit of a mixed bag for me. There were times in Klaus where I was genuinely having a great time and laughing, but there were also some times in which I found the humor to be a complete miss.
Something that did honestly surprise me about this film was its emotional impact and core it has. It sneaks up on you and doesn’t reveal itself until the third act, but when it is revealed, it actually kind of hits hard. I was not expecting it and it will definitely pull at the heartstrings of many viewers all around the world.
This is not a masterwork of a film, but it is also not a disaster. It is a decent movie that is greatly benefited by its beautiful animation, its emotional messages, and it does at times make you laugh.
Although Klaus takes a while for its story to get interesting, it is saved by its breathtaking animation and emotional message at its core.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor and mild action
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, J. K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Joan Cusack, Will Sasso, Norm Macdonald
Directed by: Sergio Pablos
Distributed by: Netflix
Running Time: 97 minutes