Netflix’s “Klaus” is Memorable and Unique

4 starIf you’ve ever been flipping through the channels on cable TV, you’ve probably seen one advertisement for a holiday movie filled with at least a dozen cliches. Thankfully, Netflix’s new movie “Klausis not one of them.Klaus is about a young man named Jesper Johansson (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) who is sent by his father to a remote town called Smeerensburg to start a post office. He meets the two rival families in Smeerensburg: the Krums and the Ellingboes. They fight with each other constantly and don’t even let their children interact with each other; one man keeps his son practically locked up in his house with nothing to do. Jesper also meets a man named Klaus (voiced by J. K. Simmons) who finds out about the child and decides to give him a toy. The boy tells every child in Smeerensburg that if you write a letter to Klaus, he’ll bring you a toy, and soon Jesper is getting hundreds of letters a day. Klaus and Jesper (with a little help from a teacher named Alva, voiced by Rashida Jones) work together to deliver the toys, but the older Krums and Ellingboes want the feud between their families to continue and try to stop them from bringing the citizens together.


The movie, technically speaking, is amazing. The animation style was beautiful and original, the plot was easy to follow, and it had just the right amount of comedy for a children’s movie to still be engaging to teens and adults. Every character’s design had a good mix of stylization and realism that made the movie memorable and unique but not difficult to look at. Expressions and body language were emphasized but not overdone, and a lot of the characters had something unique to their design, which showed an admirable attention to detail. Most of the characters were very well-developed and three-dimensional; even some of the minor characters had interesting story arcs. It wasn’t too long, and the plot didn’t feel rushed either. In general, it’s a nice movie to watch when you have time over the weekend or winter break.


There are some parts where “Klausfell flat, though; the villains of the story, Mr. Ellingboe and Mrs. Krum, were two-dimensional and didn’t have any reason to stop Klaus and Jesper other than the fact that their kids were getting along and their ancestors didn’t. Their original plan to stop them was poorly thought-out and unsuccessful, even for the cartoon antagonists of a kids movie. To me, it felt like they just weren’t given as much thought as the other characters. The Krums and Ellingboes in general never really got backstories either; other than physical appearance differentiating the Krums (who were, in terms of animation style, clothes, and body language, Addams family look-alikes) from the Ellingboes (who could have been from another branch of the Weasley family tree) and a few fights over the ages, they’re basically the same people on different sides of the neighborhood. Of course, the movie wasn’t about the opposing families specifically, but they could have had more development. In addition to that, there was an original song about kindness that came in about halfway through the movie that felt just a touch too cheesy for my taste. The sentiment of the song was sweet and fit right in with the other aspects of “Klausthat made it a good children’s movie, but it could have been a little less repetitive (maybe even a little shorter).


“Klausshows kids that anything can be accomplished with perseverance and the help of your friends through beautiful animation, comedy that engages all ages, and a plot that doesn’t feel as cliche as a Hallmark made-for-TV-movie. Even though it has a few weak points, I would definitely recommend it to anyone with Netflix and some free time over winter break.