It’s not easy to make a successful - and well made - Christmas film. It takes years to give a film like Home Alone or Love Actually the credibility and reputation that will keep festive revellers coming back time and time again. So with the streaming war in full battle, it’s Netflix’s turn to take on potentially the most difficult genre of all.
Klaus, which is now on Netflix, is a new retelling of the story of Santa Claus. The animation situates itself in the snowy north, in a fictional country that can’t help but riff on Scandinavia.
Within minutes, we meet Jesper (played by Jason Schwartzman), who is a failed postal academy student. Clearly disinterested and only there because his rich father tells him he has to be, he needs a good kick up the backside to improve his life.
His father decides to send him to a frozen island above the Arctic Circle and tells him he can’t come back until he collects 6,000 letters. Sounds simple, but Jesper learns nothing is easy in Smeerensburg.
With troublesome kids constantly getting up to no good and parents who aren’t any better behaved, Jesper learns that a simple act of kindness is a rarity in the fictional town; even local teacher Alva (Rashida Jones) has lost all will to teach.
Enter a chance meeting with the town’s biggest and baddest family’s smallest child and Jesper is introduced to Klaus (J.K. Simmons).
Klaus - clearly playing on ‘Claus’ - is not just a bit and burly lumberjack, but he’s also genuinely terrifying. However, we quickly learn he had a genuine heart and only wants to make children happy with handmade toys.
Jesper and Klaus team up to send children who write letters asking for toys everything they wish for - and the postman gets ever closer to his target.
But will he find he has everything he needs in Smeerensburg? Of course, it’s Christmas.
And thus, Santa Claus is