KLAUS – Review by Susan Granger

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Set on a frozen island above the Arctic Circle, “Klaus” is a Santa Claus origin story, directed by “Despicable Me” co-creator Sergio Pablos and Carlos Martinez Lopez. It’s racked up seven nominations for the 2020 Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.

The story follows lazy, pampered Jesper (voice by Jason Schwartzmann), who is dispatched by his firm father, director of the Royal Postal Academy, to remote Smeerenburg to serve as its mailman. If he works hard, he’ll earn his inheritance. If not…

To his horror, Jesper discovers that Smeerenburg’s embittered residents don’t write letters. They’re too busy feuding and fighting, particularly the Krum and Ellingboe clans.

Eventually, Jesper teams up with Klaus (voiced by J.K. Simmons), a reclusive woodsman whose hobby is making toys. With no children of his own, he’s been storing them on shelves until Jesper, working with the schoolteacher Alva (voiced by Rashida Jones), has a gift-giving idea.

While Smeerenburg is a fictional village, Pablos did visit Norway’s Svalbard Island for research, which is how he learned about the culture of the Sami people. Young Margu is voiced by Neda M. Ladda, a Sami.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Klaus” is an engaging, revisionist 8, destined to become another Christmas classic.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.