Just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about Santa Claus—big bearded guy in the red suit, lives in the North Pole, delivers Christmas gifts to naughty and nice kids all over the world on a sleigh run by reindeers—here comes a movie that portrays Old Saint Nick as anything but jolly.
Streaming on Netflix on November 15, the animated film Klaus tells the tale of Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), a lousy postal academy student assigned to the Arctic Circle island of Smeerensburg. There, in the “unhappiest place on earth,” he comes across the loner Klaus (voiced by JK Simmons), a carpenter who lives in a cottage filled with toys that he makes. Jesper strikes a deal with the introverted Klaus and the two make Christmas a much-anticipated time for kids of all ages. But can they convince Smeerensburg’s indifferent locals to soften up too?
Also Read: The Legend of Santa Claus
Directed by Sergio Pablos, whose animated film credits include Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan, Hercules, and Despicable Me, Klaus is special in that its images are hand-drawn and not completely dependent on CGI (computer-generated imagery) technology, the way most animated films today are. The 2D effect complements the nostalgic theme of the film, which attempts to explain the origin of Santa Claus.
Klaus also gets plus points for its timeless messages too. “A true act of kindness always sparks another,” says Director Sergio in a behind-the-scenes clip, “and the film shows how powerful that is.”
“’Kindness is contagious’ is a beautiful phrase,” affirms JK Simmons, who was a mall Santa years before he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie Whiplash. “I think Klaus expresses it in a very lovely way.”
The animation also includes the voices of Joan Cusack as Mrs. Krum (she’s also the voice of cowgirl Jessie in the Toy Story pics!) and Rashida Jones as Alva.
Watch the full trailer below: