Klaus: A New Holiday Favorite
Christmas time is a time of many things. One of those things is a whole slew of Christmas specials and shows and movies. This has been the case since…I don’t know when, long before I was born, if Frank Capra’s annoying classic is anything to go by. Thus, being middle age and pretty firmly jaded by all things Wintermas, it takes something pretty special during this season to catch my eye.
And yet, Netflix managed to do just that, with an unexpected animated movie about the origins of Santa Claus, called “Klaus“.
It starts simply enough with a spoiled scion of the Postmaster General (a man that seems to take that General part quite seriously) who is sent (in an attempt to craft him into an adult) to open a post office in the far northern reaches1, in a town where there is a real Hatfields & McCoys feud going on, two families who don’t much care for the services of a postman (but who also recognize that making him a victim of the feud will bring unwanted attention to their little corner of the world). The feuding families are content to ignore the outsider, but the postman has a goal to reach if he ever wants to find his way back to civilization, so he keeps trying to get people to use his services.
Along the way he befriends a school teacher turned fishmonger, and a lonely old wood cutter out on the far end of the island, and while they are all trying to find a way out of their respective miseries, the legend of Santa Claus is born (along with all sorts of perfectly rational explanations for the aspects of the legend, because kids have great imaginations).
The movie is funny, lots of cartoon violence in the spirit of Looney Toons, lots of sarcasm, but still a warm hearted tale that completely sidesteps the whole religious aspect of the holiday, and focuses instead upon acts of kindness and goodwill, and friendship. And it does a good job of that without getting sappy or saccharine.
Anyway, Bug and I watched it on a whim and we loved it. Then we roped mom into an encore viewing, and she loved it. And then we all watched it again. And again. And I’m still really enjoying it.
And I think you probably will too, even if you don’t have kids.