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Klaus is a 2019 English language-Spanish animated Christmas comedy-drama film written and directed by Sergio Pablos in his directorial debut, produced by his company Sergio Pablos Animation Studios with the support of Aniventure and distributed by Netflix. Co-written by Zach Lewis and Jim Mahoney, the film stars the voices of Jason Schwartzman, J. K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Neda Margrethe Labba, Sergio Pablos, Norm MacDonald, and Joan Cusack. Serving as an alternate origin story of Santa Claus different from the historical take of Saint Nicholas of Myra, with a fictional 19th-century setting, the plot revolves around a postman stationed in an island town to the North who befriends a reclusive toymaker (Klaus).

Klaus was released on 8 November 2019 and received positive reviews for its animation, story, and vocal performances. It won 7 Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature Film category at the 47th Annie Awards and it was also nominated at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards and 92nd Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, making it the first animated film from Netflix to be nominated for an Academy Award for the lattermost.

Wikipedia

When Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) distinguishes himself as the postal academy’s worst student, he is stationed on a frozen island above the Arctic Circle, where the feuding locals hardly exchange words let alone letters. Jesper is about to give up when he finds an ally in local teacher Alva (Rashida Jones), and discovers Klaus (Oscar® winner J.K. Simmons), a mysterious carpenter who lives alone in a cabin full of handmade toys. These unlikely friendships return laughter to Smeerensburg, forging a new legacy of generous neighbors, magical lore and stockings hung by the chimney with care. An animated Christmas comedy directed by Despicable Me co-creator Sergio Pablos, KLAUS co-stars Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman and JK Simmons. —Written by Netflix

Jesper Johansson (Jason Schwartzman) is the lazy and spoiled son of a wealthy Postmaster General, who has enrolled Jesper into his postman training academy hoping that it will reform him. Jesper deliberately underperforms, forcing his father to finally send him to the distant island town of Smeerensburg with the task of posting six-thousand letters within a year. If Jesper fails, he will be cut off from the family estate. Upon arrival, it is explained to Jesper by sarcastic ferryman Mogens (Norm Macdonald), and bitter teacher-turned-fishmonger Alva (Rashida Jones), that the town’s perpetually warring families—the Ellingboes and the Krums—comprise nearly all of the populace and hardly exchange words, let alone letters.

Desperate for a way to post letters from the town, Jesper notices an isolated dwelling at the corner of the map in his office. There he finds a reclusive woodsman named Klaus (J.K. Simmons) with a house filled with handmade toys. Terrified by the man’s imposing appearance, Jesper flees, inadvertently leaving behind a sad drawing he had found made by one of Smeerensburg’s children. Klaus confronts Jesper, who, still terrified by Klaus, is now trying to leave town, and demands to go to the house depicted in the drawing. Arriving there late at night, Klaus forces Jesper to secretly deliver a toy to the boy inside.

Word of this event spreads to other children, who go to Jesper the next day, each believing that they will receive a toy if they send him a letter. Jesper capitalizes on the idea and goes to Klaus with the proposal of donating the toys in his house; Klaus agrees provided that they operate at night, and that Jesper continues to deliver the toys in secret. Soon, more and more children begin writing letters to Klaus. When Jesper tells them that Klaus only gives toys to good children, and always knows when any child misbehaves, the acts of kindness they subsequently perform gradually inspire the rest of the townsfolk to end their ancient dispute, and Alva reopens her school to help the children learn to read and write.

Eventually, Jesper and Klaus begin running out of toys to give to the children. With the end of the year and Jesper’s deadline coming up, he tries persuading Klaus into making more toys in time for Christmas. Klaus initially refuses, and he pushes Jesper away after a misunderstanding. The duo then reconcile by working together on a sled for a small Sámi girl named Márgu, who lives in an isolated settlement with her people. After this, Klaus finally tells Jesper about his wife, Lydia, and explains he made the toys to give to the future children the couple hoped to have but never did, and Lydia eventually died from illness. Klaus has realized their work has been spreading joy to the children and agrees to the Christmas plan, with Márgu and the rest of the people from her settlement arriving to help. As the town and his relationship with Alva flourishes, Jesper finds himself wanting to stay in Smeerensburg.

Meanwhile, family elders Axel Ellingboe (Will Sasso) and Tammy Krum (Joan Cusack) form a temporary truce in order to stop Jesper and Klaus so that the families can resume their traditional feud. They trick Jesper’s father into believing Jesper had posted fourteen-thousand letters, and he arrives on Christmas eve to congratulate his son, inadvertently revealing to Jesper’s friends the selfish reasons for his deeds. Just as they are about to leave town, Jesper’s father notices his son’s remorse, and after a talk he allows Jesper to stay in Smeerensburg. Seeing the elders and their gang going to Klaus’ home to destroy the Christmas toys, Jesper tries to stop them and apparently fails. However, over the course of the chase that ensued, Mr. Ellingboe’s daughter and Mrs. Krum’s son fall in love. Alva had also been informed of the elders’ plot by the town’s children, and so she and Klaus had already replaced the toys with decoys.

Jesper is redeemed, and Smeerensburg becomes a happy town, with the family elders being forced to end the families’ feud due to the marriage of their children. Jesper marries Alva and raises two children, and he and Klaus continue to deliver presents in Smeerensburg and beyond for eleven years. Then on the twelfth year, Klaus follows a wisp of wind up a sunny hill and disappears, seemingly to join his departed wife. Every subsequent Christmas Eve, Jesper sits beside the fireplace and waits to see Klaus as his spirit continues to deliver toys to children around the world. —from Wikipedia

 

Reviews

 
 
jonathan ghattas
 

Why Klaus Is Amazing Even before one word of dialogue has been said you can already tell that you are in for a treat, the animation and artwork for this movie is absolutely gorgeous and it helps the visual storytelling by a lot. Before knowing what’s going on the art shows us we are in a timeless land and that this is a remodeling of the old Christmas story of Santa. The actual plot is amazing, it takes many cliches but makes it work in a way where they actually work as good storytelling devices. Every single detail and point made in the story equal to amazing results and quality. The new take on Mr. Klaus was wonderfully done and with the addition of the art design it helped all the audience to feel like a kid again, everything that was once magical IS magical still. I dont believe I have ever seen a movie that told the story of Christmas in a new way and actually worked as an amazing piece of art. The length that this story goes with its new Santa is done magnificently, making him a regular human (or so we thought) not only made us connect with him more but also made us smile like kids to know that this man is Santa. The main character of the story Jesper Johanna is a regular post office man who helps create the Santa story, making him come up with the naughty list and the giving children toys on Christmas thing was such a wonderful surprise. Because we love this character we don’t mind him changing the story, although it did bother me at first that Santa wasn’t just a magical being, the ending made me really wonder “was he really not magical? Or did I just not notice” the way they humanize him is truly incredible. The wind as a symbolic reference to Santa’s past lover is a cliche but works so well in the story that it doesn’t take anything away and just adds even more. The wind being symbolic for Santa’s wife and the wind moving through the snow, (which is connected to Santa because it represents Christmas which he holds dear to his heart) just creates even more amazing symbolism. The ending was amazing and really was an unexpected tear-jerker.

 
thefloating idea
 

When I started watching this movie, I was totally unaware that I am up for a pre Christmas treat from Netflix. This movie is going to be a classic in future. The whole story of Santa is told in a new and refreshing way. It made the Santa a Human who gets angry, who laughs and who is also sad sometimes. All these are the basic emotions of human beings which makes us emphatic , kind , friendly and movie has done a great job in associating these feelings to Santa. All iconic scenes of Santa like flying reindeer , Hoo Hoo laughs , Red clothes are retold with human and realistic touch. The music of this movie is also fits the moods of movie. I am gonna search in on Spotify and make it my caller tune. The Jesper character was also very beautifully designed. Initially he was shown like a regular guy who is filled with flaws , greed , self contentment but later on movie the character develops feelings and understand the value of selfless act. Please watch it with your children because these movies feel much better while watching with Family.

 
Nancy Frick
 

Bravo to Netflix and everyone who brought this story and mesmerizing art work and touching story into our homes. The animation was far superior to any other films I’ve seen in a long long time. The characters were well developed in costuming l, expression and carriage. The little girl was so expressive and charming, and you couldn’t help but love her, without even understanding a word she says, you knew exactly what her message was. This story is powerful for all audiences and will become a classic to be enjoyed over and over again.

 

WHAT’S THE STORY?

KLAUS follows Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), a privileged young Postal Academy employee whose strict father, the Postmaster General, punishes him with the most remote assignment possible: Smeerensburg, an island above the Arctic Circle. Jesper can’t return to his pampered life at home until he processes 6,000 pieces of mail in one year. But upon arriving in Smeerensburg, it becomes clear that the citizens aren’t inclined to send correspondence: The town is built on resentment and recrimination, and the founding families are engaged in a War of the Roses-style feud. Even the town’s one teacher, Alva (Rashida Jones), has turned into a fishmonger because the warring factions don’t send their kids to school to sit next to the enemy. After Jesper accidentally delivers a child’s letter to village hermit Klaus (J.K. Simmons), a carpenter and toymaker, Klaus asks Jesper to deliver a toy back to the child. This gives Jesper a brilliant idea: Every kid who writes Klaus a letter should get a toy in response; that way, all the eager kids’ letters will eventually add up to his father’s quota.

 

IS IT ANY GOOD?

This holiday movie with roots in friendship, bridge-building, and the dying art of letter writing is sure to entertain and amuse thanks to its impressive animation and expressive voice cast. Klaus‘s take on the Santa origin story is unique and a little loopy, but as Jesper and Klaus collaborate to bring toys to the children of Smeerensburg, the movie manages to explain all of the key points of the Santa legend (the reindeer, the sled, the chimney, the big bag of toys, even the bright red outfit). The snowy landscapes are gorgeously animated — swirling shades of white, blue, brown, and red — while the characters are crisp and expressive. On one side, there’s the perpetually scowling matriarch of the Krum family (Joan Cusack), and on the other, there’s the adorable Sámi girl who ends up enlisting her entire tribe to assist Jesper and Klaus in his workshop.

The initial premise — that Jesper just wants the kids’ postage-paid letters and the return toys delivered so that he can get out of Smeerensburg — isn’t nearly as important as the ensuing friendships between both Jesper and Klaus and Jesper and Alva, who’s finally able to go back to teaching once the kids realize they need to learn to write to send Klaus letters. Jesper’s character development is crucial in recognizing the story’s holiday spirit. Giving to the kids isn’t a means to an end at all. The giving is what brings meaning to Klaus, to him, and eventually to the entire town. Sweeter and more thoughtful than it needed to be, this is a fine holiday pick for the family.

 

MOVIE REVIEW

Jesper has only ever known the posh life. As the son of the director of the Royal Postal Academy, Jesper prefers to spend his days ordering room service and sleeping on silk sheets. Which would explain why he’s just failed out of his dad’s rigid school, again! But the good ol’ days come to an abrupt end when Jesper’s father ships him off to a violent, eerie, dilapidated village in the north called Smeerensburg. His assignment? Create a functional postal service in that town, or be cut off from the family fortune forever. No problem, Jesper thinks at first. But when he arrives in Smeerensburg he soon realizes that the people can’t be reasoned with; in fact, they don’t care about sending or receiving letters at all because they hate one another! But not everyone in Smeerensburg is so embittered. One day, a little boy gives Jesper a picture of what he hopes for: happiness and joy. Jesper, unsure of what to do with the letter, takes it with him to a woodsman’s house, far out in the country, in one last vain attempt at getting someone to write something. But when Jesper sees the Woodsman known as Klaus, he’s terrified by his giant stature. In a panic, he flees back to town, dropping the picture and leaving it to be discovered by Klaus, a lonely toy maker who has forgotten his passion and his need for human connection. Stirred by the little boy’s drawing, Klaus finds Jesper and forces him to deliver a toy to the young lad. And what starts as one gift, turns into an act of selflessness that changes Jesper, Klaus and the entire town of Smeerensburg forever.

POSITIVE ELEMENTS

Jesper doesn’t always have the right motivation, but he learns over time how to work hard, how to understand those around him and how to selflessly love others. This all begins thanks to Jesper’s dad, who forces him out of a life of privilege and prosperity into a rough town where he hopes Jesper will learn the importance of responsibility. Once, Jesper tells a naughty, mean boy that Klaus sees everything and that if his behavior doesn’t improve, he won’t receive any gifts like the other children. When the boy and other children hear this, they begin doling out acts of service to help one another and to receive gifts. And what starts as an act of self-service turns into a series of selfless acts of kindness that change the nature of Smeerensburg forever. Jesper convinces Klaus to continue making toys for children and, in turn, Klaus teaches Jesper the importance of a kind act. Klaus, for his part, wakes from his depressed stupor and begins to see the joy and happiness in life. He works diligently to provide toys for kids, as does Jesper; eventually other people begin to help them make and deliver toys as well. Klaus tells Jesper that “a true act of goodwill always sparks another.” This truism is played out throughout the entirety of the film as children begin to love one another and to help those around them. Once their parents see their acts of love and service, the hatred and prejudices in their hearts begin to melt away, and the town is unified and revitalized. Another character named Alva starts out as an angry, embittered former teacher. But as her story unfolds, her passion for teaching is rekindled and she begins a school for the village children. Alva spends her own personal savings to buy the kids school supplies and to turn her school into a loving environment for her students. All in all, characters in the film learn to value what they have, to love those around them, to work together and to cherish the present.

 

SPIRITUAL CONTENT

Klaus is led to certain areas around his house and around the town by a magical wind. Later, he says that it’s as if his wife’s spirit is the magical wind that leads him to acts of kindness. [Spoiler Warning] In the end, Klaus “disappears” forever as he follows the magical wind into the light. Klaus and Jesper’s sleigh gets tossed into the air when they make a wrong turn. A young boy sees the “flying sleigh” and assumes it’s magic, telling all the village children that Klaus is magical.

 

SEXUAL CONTENT

Klaus tells the story of how he and his wife wanted lots of children but were never able to conceive. Jesper eventually gets married and has two children. He and his wife snuggle, and she kisses him on the cheek. A captain makes a joke about young love. Alva lovingly kisses Klaus on the cheek. An angry neighbor pushes a man out of his house while bathing (with his privates covered with bubbles). A row of naked toy bottoms stick out of a wall in remembrance of a time when people “mooned” one another.

 

VIOLENT CONTENT

Smeerensburg has been the center for generational feuds for, well, generations. The Ellingboe family hates the Krum family, and vice versa. When a town leader wants some violent action, all he has to do is ring a central bell, and villagers from both sides come out to beat one another with axes, guns, hammers, spears and whatever else they can get their hands on. This happens a few times during the film, and though no blood is shed, it’s still fairly violent. Some villagers look evil and eerie at the film’s start (although this changes as their hearts soften). Two villagers carry a sack into a dark home. (The sack looks like as if holding a dead body, but that’s never made clear.) Villagers yell and scream at one another. Village elders show two kids pictures of the historical evidence that supports the violent feud between the Ellingboes and the Krums. Jesper is scared of Klaus at first and makes some grim jokes about being chopped up and scattered in the woods. We also hear quips about severed heads, ransom notes and axe murderers. At the start of the film, Alva works as a fishmonger of sorts. Dead fish hang from every corner of her home; she slices and beheads a few fish (which we see). Klaus tells Jesper that his wife died years ago from an unknown illness. A man breaks a glass in frustration.

 

CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE

God’s name is misused once. A young kid calls Jesper a “loser” multiple times, and Jesper retaliates by calling him a “brat.” Jesper says, “Man, I hate you” to a boat captain. We hear the word “idiot” and the phrase “shut up” once each.

 

DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT

Jesper jokes about drinking a glass of sherry and tells a joke about “a man who walked into a bar.” A boat captain drinks a mug of what looks to be beer.

 

OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS

The people of Smeerensburg are divided into two clans: The Ellingboes and the Krums. These two families have been sworn enemies for centuries, and town leaders believe it’s their job to carry down the “centuries of hatred,” grudges and mistrust (they continue to do this throughout the entire film). Because of this, the town is literally divided in half. Ellingboe children aren’t allowed to play with Krum children, and vice versa. The parents even keep their kids from going to school together (at first) as they prefer the segregation. Jesper says that “all children are liars.” He makes a joke about Klaus having a mental illness. A man tells Jesper he’s never seen someone soil his pants and whimper around a love interest. Jesper burns his rear on hot coals.

 

CONCLUSION

It’s easy to think that the world is a terrible place that’s only getting worse, especially if we’re always checking the news. But the truth is, one tiny act of love and kindness can influence an entire town—and it only takes one person to ignite change. This Netflix original starts off with an eerie backdrop and a protagonist you don’t want to root for. But by the end, you’re drawn into the story of how “Santa Claus” came to be. The story suggests that Santa didn’t start out as some magical being floating through the air. Rather, he was a normal man who brought joy and happiness to children across the world with a desire for change and the help of friends. Yes, there are some truly eerie characters here, as well as rude humor, references to alcohol, mean names and a surprising amount of animated brutality. But these things are used to illustrate a stark contrast, highlighting the importance of kindness and the power of selflessness. This may not be a movie you want your littles to see, as it can be pretty creepy at times. But with some navigation, it is a movie with the potential to spark some positive conversations.

 
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