BEIRUT: It’s been ages since cinema gifted audiences a film with the true heart of the Christmas spirit, especially during the holiday season. But with many platforms and avenues for content, it was only a matter of time before audiences could unwrap a film filled with magic, color, and hope.
Enter NETFLIX’S KLAUS.
A simple act of kindness always sparks another, even in a frozen, faraway place. When Smeerensburg’s new postman, Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), befriends toymaker Klaus (Oscar® winner J.K. Simmons), their gifts melt an age-old feud and deliver a sleigh full of holiday traditions.
Directed by Sergio Pablos, a veteran animator and a man who has influenced the world of animated cinema, NETFLIX’S KLAUS explores the origins of this seminal character and does so in a way that is accessible to modern audiences.
The film asks what experiences shaped the jolly gifter and how did he interact with his community, but also devises matter-of-fact explanations for reindeer flights and chimney descents without ever taking away the magic of it all.
Many of the things that we consider the ‘magical Santa Claus’ are actually practical in how they happened and from these practical things, the stories unfold, get passed down and become more and more magical.
NETFLIX’S KLAUS isn’t solely about Christmas and the legend of Santa Claus, but rather a journey that you have to stick with in order to get the tear-jerking pay off at the end.
That journey also follows the character of Jesper who at his core is a young man looking for redemption and acceptance, and though he’s got a big heart, he’s lost touch with it and has to go on this journey to find it again.
Surrounding the two protagonists is a town that has only one tradition: feuding.
Passed down from one generation to the next, the town feuds constantly and lives in utter hopeless misery, that is until Jesper and Klaus begin to work together.
What stands out aside from the heart-felt narrative is the film’s beautiful animation and visual aesthetic.
Netflix’s Director of Character Animation, James Baxter along with everyone on board who worked on the film, found a beautiful evolution of 2D animation in order to gift audiences a jaw-droppingly beautiful film where the characters don’t look stuck on a beautiful painting but are instead blended into their environments. The film’s score is modern with a classic twist and fits right in the world that Pablos and the team presented us with.
With the world being so much like that of Smeerensberg, one that is built on feuds and not on kindness, NETFLIX’S KLAUS is a beautiful reminder that one true act of goodwill can spark another.
Being joyful can literally be an act of resistance when things are dark. You can find joy almost anywhere as long as you're nice to each other, as long as you support each other, and if that’s not a message for the Christmas season, I don’t know what is.
NETFLIX’S KLAUS releases globally on November 15, 2019 on Netflix.
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