Two Cineasts’s review published on Letterboxd:
Film reviews in 22 sentences (or less)
"A true selfless act always sparks another."
(J.K. Simmons as Klaus)
Hi everybody, after how many years can you say that something has developed into a ritual? Certainly not in the second, nevertheless "Klaus" sweetens my pre-christmas season again, after its release last in 2019 and I know for sure that it won't be the last time. Last year I thought this heartwarming tale had the potential to become a part of a yearly routine and now I have the proof that "Klaus" was not only a one-hit wonder, but perhaps THE most important Christmas movie for me personally from now on. There is no film that catapults me right into the mood for another Christmas, as it wasn't always the most enjoyable feast in my so called "family".
A lot of people will know what I mean when I say that it's just an unpleasant farce to see people you can't stand and vice versa, after several months without contact only to pretend that the disinterest for one another doesn't eat you up from inside out. Acting like a happy family when you aren't, and yes it always takes two sides, but in this particular case I can state, without much self-pity, that I have drawn a difficult lot with this gang. And so I'm very happy about this goofy, but moving journey. For a nice Christmas feeling films like It's a Wonderful Life are perfect, but I needed something else, something new, refreshing that don't remind me that much of last Christmas, now that I've renounced the cozy get-together with a bunch of, I have to say it, racist evil characters, and exactly that film is "Klaus".
It's one of the sweetest, emotional and funniest animated movies of the last years, even if it doesn't get around using some chliches, but "Klaus" does his best to be unconventional, starting with the plot. The film offers a very unique take on the "Christmas origin", by delivering an origin story to Santa Claus himself. Some questions you have never asked yourself will be answered, for example why Claus says "Ho ho ho", why he travels on a sleigh with reindeers and how he got them. The film definitely would have been more surprising with this interesting premise of examining a mythical characters possible life and how Santa Claus could come to be, if the title didn't already reveal the main storyline, not to mention the trailer.
"Ho ho ho!"
"Wait, wait, wait. Time out. Really? THAT'S how you laugh?"
(J.K. Simmons as Klaus and Jason Schwartzman as Jesper)
Nonetheless, the soft optic of the film is a treat for the eyes: a gorgeous, smooth, nostalgic hand-drawn look, resurrecting old cartoon classics, a remarkable lightning with blooming lit scenes everywhere and simply a consistently, delightful and detailed Christmas look. That's how a Christmas animation should look like.
Even if "Klaus" reminds us of 40 year old cartoons, it's modern, not reinventing the wheel, but with regard to some Disney films it feels more organic, as the whole bunch of characters we encounter on this trip, look different: from young, middle aged, old, to thin, round and tall, little, every figure looks and acts slightly differently and is just not cloned in the background like in so many Disney movies. "Klaus" has a refreshingly adult personality, especially with absurd sight gags not necessarily understandable for children, keeps entertaining and doesn't depend on too much sentimentality, even if it's very moving. Each time I have to use the word "mine" I have to think about this film and smile; it became an inside joke at my home. Love, warmth, kindness - the story is engaging, has some surprises along the way and unusual narrative deployments. At the end "Klaus" is both, a sort of coming of age story paired with a growing old story, it's somehow grounded, despite the fantastical aspects and thus offers enough fun for children and emotional depth for older ones... so a perfect film for the whole family and/or for everyone who wants to see a Christmas movie which is on the best way to become a classic.
With my personal family/Christmas "problem" I'm only glad that I can choose my friends and had the luck to meet a new family with whom I can spend Christmas together, unfortunately not this year though, because our government is has restricted the holidays only for the "real" family, but (without any complaining, the situation is what it is) my question is: what's more real than people you want in your life, you share experiences with on a daily basis and you consider YOUR family?