A simple act of kindness always sparks another, even in a frozen, faraway place. When Smeerensburg's new postman, Jesper, befriends toymaker Klaus, their gifts melt an age-old feud and deliver a sleigh full of holiday traditions.
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
Neda Margrethe Labba, who voiced the Sami girl Márgu, did not speak any English. Sergio Pablos traveled all the way to Tromsø, Norway where she lives and did her whole recording session through translation and mimicry. See more »
Just after Jesper is explaining to the kid who got coal that only good children get presents, he slams open the lower part of his door, which passes right through two children standing in front of it. See more »
Letters. You don't really write many these days, do you? But I bet there's one you never forget. Send it off to a certain plump guy in a red suit and, provided you've kept your act together more or less, he'll drop off a toy or two. And yet, no one seems to wonder how the whole thing got started in the first place. This is a story about letters, and it began... with this one...
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The film title has a clockwork key powering it. See more »
This is what this film feels like: sitting around a fire and being engrossed in a story that someone remembers from long ago. Is the plot very original? Maybe not, but it is well paced and has some surprises along the way that make Klaus special.
Here, we have a sincere, funny and engaging film, that doesn't rely on ironic jokes to tie in the adults, or on the integration of modern technology to hold the kids' interest. It just tells a story.
The story is about a spoiled young man who is sent into the little backwater village of Smeerensburg to take over the post office. Jesper has to deliver 6000 letters by the end of a year or he'll be cut off by his wealthy father. After he meets the reclusive toymaker Klaus, Jesper starts to plot his way out of Smeerensburg by roping in the kids of the village. Along the way he makes some friends, changes some lives and, well, grows up.
This is, in a way, Jesper's coming of age story, even though he is a fully grown man to begin with. But this is also Klaus' growing old story. I found this apect very touching - the old and widowed hermit finds a new purpose in his life and gets to be happy for a few years yet. You do not see that sort of plotline in animated movies very often. The subplot of the warring clans of Smeerensburg was hilarious and reminded me a little of Asterix and Obelix.
Apart from the old school, but very well executed plot, it is worthwhile to talk about Klaus' technical realization. Firstly, the animation is gorgeous. The lighting is magnificent. The look is excellent. This film looks exactly as lovingly detailed as a Christmas movie should. The handdrawn animation is very effective - it gives the film a very soft and almost canvas-like feeling, while still making good use of the smooth and fast execution that CGI affords.
Klaus isn't dunked in polished, on-the-nose effects, but is, you might say, warmly covered in a carefully crafted blanket of twinkling forest lights and harsh mountain snows and accompanied by a little, gruff town of crooked and funny looking houses and crooked and funny-looking people.
In Klaus, we do not encounter a string of slightly altered clones, that all have the same body type and facial features (looking at you Disney) but a jumbled ensemble of big and round, tall and bent, young and middle aged and old characters, who all look and act differently from each other.
The only criticism I can honestly think of is that Klaus lacks a little on female representation. Its central female characters, Ava and Márgu, felt a little sidelined to me, especially given the fact that theirs could have been the better story, if told accordingly. But given the fact that I still loved it, I can't really hold this against Klaus.
So, just in time for Christmas, Klaus is a thoroughly enjoyable treat of a movie that I will probably recommend excessively over the next few weeks.
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