Friday, December 20, 2019

Movie Review: “Klaus”

By Matt Pascarella

Netflix Movie
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour and 37 minutes

Every year, around this time, millions of letters are written to one man, asking for something for Christmas. But, how do those letters get to him? Who is responsible for seeing they are delivered?
“Klaus: is an animated tale of postmaster-to-be Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), whose wealthy father wants him to be a postmaster. Jesper has spent nine months at the postmaster academy and did not do very well; his heart is not in it, and he likes living off his father’s wealth.

His father won’t have any of this and sends Jesper to Smeerensburg to be their postmaster. He gives Jesper an ultimatum: spend a year in Smeerensburg, develop a working post office and stamp 6,000 letters or be cut off from the family fortune.

Jesper is less than pleased about this and on arriving in Smeerensburg, ‘home of the world’s finest feuds’, it is a dark, unwelcoming, cold place. The townspeople are nasty and laugh when he tells them he is there to be their postmaster.

At first, there is nothing to mail. Looking for mail, Jesper heads to the Woodsman’s cabin and gets trapped inside. However, while he’s in there he finds shelves and shelves of toys. He also meets a somewhat unfriendly man named Klaus (J.K. Simmons). With the help of Jesper, he and Klaus deliver a toy to a child who sent Jesper a letter. Word gets out that writing letters means you get a toy, so many of the children of Smeerensburg begin writing to Klaus. Jesper’s letter count begins to rise.

Since Smeerensburg is the ‘home of the world’s finest feuds’ the Krum and Ellingboe parents (Joan Cusack and Will Sasso) do not like their children playing with one another. And they do not like Jesper. As more and more letters pour in, it becomes clear that some of the children cannot write and go to a teacher, Alva (Rashida Jones) for help. Alva had pretty much given up on being a teacher and was saving money to leave. She thought there was no point in trying to teach the children anything, but the arrival of Jesper begins to change her mind.

Jesper stresses the importance of being good and helpful in order to get toys, and this changes the behaviors of many of the children.

Meanwhile, Ellingboe and Krum want to stop Klaus and Jesper and return Smeerensburg back to the dark and dismal place it was.

After some time, Klaus has delivered all the presents he had. Jesper suggests Klaus make more. Klaus becomes very angry at this idea and tells Jesper to leave. Here, we learn a little about Klaus’s past.
After some convincing, Klaus agrees to make more toys. Alva has decided to stay as a teacher and tells Jesper that he has really made a difference in Smeerensburg.

Jesper’s father arrives in Smeerensburg and congratulates him on meeting his goal and that he can now return home. This is the doing of the Ellingboe/Krum team. Will Jesper decide to go, or will he stay in Smeerensburg?

This is a perfect movie for the holiday season. With an all-star cast, it comes at the story of Santa from a different angle and is fun(ny) for both kids and adults. This is a great tale of friendship and the ending will leave you feeling happy. Highly recommended. 

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