Review: Klaus (2019)

Director: Sergio Pablos
Screenwriters: Zach Lewis, Jim Mahoney
Starring: [voices of] Jason Schwartzmann, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso
Genres: Animation, Holiday, Children/Family
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for rude humor and mild action
Release Dates: 11/8/19 (Limited Theatrical); 11/15/19 (Disc/Streaming)
Where to Watch: Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

I knew next to nothing about this Netflix-released animated film, and wasn’t planning to watch it until it received an unexpected Oscar nomination (it most likely replaced Frozen II). I was pleasantly surprised at how charming and entertaining it was; while it is insanely predictable and hackneyed in some parts — such as the transformation of the main character — it contains enough innovation to bypass those cliches.

Klaus is a surprisingly inventive take on the Santa origin story that features beautiful hand-drawn animation and a solid voice cast, led by Jason Schwartman as the [at first] conceited main character. Oscar winner J.K. Simmons provides some grumpy relatability as Mr. Klaus (aka Santa), along with Rashida Jones, Norm MacDonald, and Joan Cusack.

The main message of putting aside our differences to get along and to inspire kindness is the heart of the story, although it is a bit heavy-handed at times with its morals. And yet, at a time in this country when things are so divided, this kind of movie is just what we need, and at the right time.

B+

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