Movie #25 2020: Klaus (2019)

Jason Schwartzmann as the voice of Jesper and J.K. Simmons as Klaus

Ah, another non-Disney animation that had to go up against Toy Story 4 at the Oscars this year. So did it win the battle? No, of course it didn’t.

Klaus is the tale of a young Postman (Jesper) who meets an old, grouchy toy maker named Klaus after he is forced to move to a remote town when he performs badly at his Father’s postman training academy. The thing that gives Klaus the leg up over TS4 is it’s originality. Of course, when the first Toy Story movie premiered in 1995, it was absolutely original. The idea of a kid’s toys coming alive when he left the room was brilliant, hence it getting a further 3 sequels and the possibility of more. However, it’s now 2020 and we get it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Toy Story so much and it is probably my favourite animated movie/franchise of all time. But isn’t now the time to give something else a chance?

What Klaus does is hark back to classic Disney animation without being Disney at all. In fact, this is a Spanish production. The animation is actually the one facet of the movie that the majority of praise is pointed towards. The more 2D approach is apparently the studios’ attempt at discovering what Disney may have been like today had they not switched to computer animated movies, and they do a beautiful job of it. Klaus, as a result, ends up being both new yet nostalgic, and just gorgeous to look at. Particular stand out moments come when you look at the little things. One scene comes to mind specifically, in which you see a simple close up of a spider’s web while its eight-legged inhabitant slinks across the face of it. It’s a pure, wonderful piece of animation.

It was kind of difficult for me as a viewer to really connect with the subject matter here, as I watched it way after Christmas. However, it’s still a lovely tale that keeps the voyeur entertained throughout and I’m pretty sure it’ll be a regular watch for a lot of people for many Christmases to come. (My girlfriend, for one, is completely obsessed with this movie and cried at least 3 times while she watched it… And she’s 28 years old. Imagine how kids growing up with this will feel 20 years from now).

Casting-wise, this is another brilliant use of voice actors. Interestingly, Joan Cusack lends her voice to this movie much more heavily than she does in TS4, and therefore this movie gets the slight edge. If you ask me, the more Joan the better. (Other cast members include the brilliant Rashida Jones and of course, the silky-smooth J.K. Simmons).

Although Klaus most likely won’t garner the overwhelming audience that larger franchises (particularly Pixar) have, I’m almost certain that Klaus will become a cult movie in the near future.

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