Netflix’s ‘Klaus’ Tackles Origin Story Of Santa Claus
Wed, April 14, 2021

Netflix’s ‘Klaus’ Tackles Origin Story Of Santa Claus

With the upcoming Netflix animated movie titled ‘Klaus,’ people will have a new perspective of how the beloved holiday icon began. / Photo by: Piotr Trojanowski via 123rf


As the holidays are fast approaching, there is no denying that the Christmas spirit is already creeping into our hearts. Everywhere you look, you can now see different decorations which symbolize the arrival of Santa, the fat, jolly gift-giver. Almost everybody knows who Santa Claus is, as children from different parts of the world patiently await his arrival, hoping that they will find a gift underneath their Christmas trees instead of a lump of coal.

With the upcoming animated movie titled ‘Klaus,’ people will have a new perspective of how the beloved holiday icon began. Indie Wire, a film industry and review website, shared that the movie was created by “Despicable Me” creator Sergio Pablos at his animation studio located in Madrid. 

It has also been announced that Klaus was voiced by J.K. Simmons, while the character of Jesper was voiced by Jason Schwartzmann. The film struggled after it was turned down by several Hollywood Studios, but thankfully, Netflix saved the day and produced Pablos’ pet project. ‘Klaus’ will premiere on the big screen for its Oscar qualification before the famous streaming site releases it on November 15.

About ‘Klaus’

The upcoming 2019 movie written and directed by Pablos in his directorial debut features Schwartzman, who is given the mission of reviving the post office of Smeerenburg, an island found above the Arctic Circle. The New York Times, an American newspaper, shared on their website that Jesper is supposed to be the perfect image of entitled Gen Z-ers, as he has whiny pitch and an anachronistic vocabulary as he complains about his proposed exile. 

On the other hand, the backgrounds and character designs of the postal academy are an ode to the 1959 version of “Sleeping Beauty.” Smeerenburg can be intimidating and terrifying at first, as it is filled with gray undertones when Jasper arrives. Aside from that, the locale is alive with grotesque shadows and sickly green in one of its fish shops. The bleak place remains as it is, even though the cheery yellow sunshine rises. 

As the story progresses, the audience will get to see bits of Santa Claus’ initial story. They will see how the jolly old man starts using a sled as his mode of transportation, and how he gets the reindeer to power up his magical ride. The animation has also been praised for its delightful and smooth visuals, which make it possible for the film to be included in the family Christmas-movie library. 

Changing the Animation Game

The animation film is not your typical 2D cartoon for the holiday. Animator Island, an animation community built to share tips, tricks, and everything there is to know about doing great animation, mentioned on their website that ‘Klaus’ might actually mark a significant milestone in animation history. The website stated that the film has been predicted to have a significant effect on the future of American animation when it comes to 2D animation.

Demolishing the Conventional

‘Klaus’ is proud of its 3D CGI animation. During its early stages, it did not have the appeal that conventional quick scribble or rough colors by skilled artists had before. However, Pablos explained that they were able to demolish the technical limitations of traditional animations. 

“To that end, we developed the tools and means to make sure this film still had that nostalgic quality but was presented in a completely different way. If we did our job right, you’ll feel like every frame is a hand-drawn painting in motion, where every element is perfectly integrated and bathed in beautiful light, with the charm that only imperfection of the human hand can produce,” Pablos said in an interview with Indie Wire. 

Visually, the film was created in a CG world populated with 2D characters. But, Pablos and his team decided to paint the backgrounds and use the freedom from cameras only whenever they needed camera projection. This enabled them to have an impression of 3D space or build a 3D set and paint all the textures manually. 


Visually, the film, 'Klaus,' was created in a CG world populated with 2D characters. / Photo by: Jakub Gojda via 123rf


Effectively Using 3D Animation

3D feature animation resonates effectively with audiences. It has pushed 2D animation completely out of the market, and it is said that the realism of 3D is what makes it an appealing element for animators and viewers alike. Animator Island claimed that its strengths might lie in the good shading of the film, but one fact remains: the animated film might be the start of the revival of 2D animation. 

Even if the animators shaded it frame by frame, they weren't able to find a super-automatic method for their process. If the film isn't welcomed by audiences, the reality could hit the animators on the head like a brick, considering what they put into the film's creation. Overall, ‘Klaus’ leaves the impression that 2D animation can still offer a lot of freedom and spontaneity to creators.