Klaus ★★★★

Day 3 of the TinselTime Holiday Movie Month!

Unbelievable luck to try three Christmas movies we haven’t seen and have every single one knock it outta the park. That’s holiday magic right there!

Since Cohen’s reviews are so much funnier than mine, I’m sticking to my wheelhouse: CHARACTER STUFF and PRETTY THINGS.

Klaus is essentially The Postman’s New Groove. I say this because the main character is Kuzco and Klaus is Pacha and there’s no way around that. Yes, the teacher is a bit of a reskinned Meg from Hercules (watch her movements), but the villainess (shout OUT to my GIRL Joan CUSACK knocking it out of the PARK) shares a fair bit of design similarity and character vibes with Izma. Her hands are the exact same. Watch for it! Her hands also remind me of the Fates from Hercules. I watch a lot of cartoons.

Klaus does an incredible job mixing 3D modeling and textures with classic Disney movement and lines. It feels both digital and hand-drawn - I always prefer hand-drawn even though it’s basically a dead art, so it was lovely to see this mashup come together so well. The character designs are distinct and interesting to look at, each with a unique silhouette. The movements are so fluid and the poses so dynamic! Upon googling just now, it seems that:

 “After setting up his own animation studio in Madrid, Spain, director Sergio Pablos, who had worked on Disney Renaissance films such as Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Tarzan, decided to develop a new traditionally-animated feature film.” - Wikipedia

Hercules! Called it! Alongside tENG, that’s the clearest stylistic influence outside maybe 101 Dalmations. THE James Baxter worked on this too? That’s a good get right there.

In a smaller way than Jingle Jangle, this movie also benefits from a cultural mashup. A Spanish production company and team working on a very Nordic-inspired Santa story! I like that.

“Pablos wanted to explore how the medium would have evolved had western animation film studios not switched to producing mostly computer animated films since the 1990s. For the film's look, the studio sought to overcome some of the technical limitations that traditional animation had, focusing on organic and volumetric lighting and texturing to give the film a unique look, while maintaining a hand-crafted feel. Proprietary tools from Les films du Poisson Rouge, a French company in Angoulême, were used to allow the team to produce a variety of visual development styles, with the aim of getting away from the standardized style of "characters looking like stickers put on painted backgrounds." - Wikipedia

I’ll say: They nailed it!

I liked how they wrapped up Klaus’ story. A simple, sweet thing that avoids leaving kids deeply traumatized. His character had so much warmth and sadness, and damn if I ain’t the target audience for that.

Norm MacDonald’s a joy in this. He’s kinda gone the way of a cranky boomer IRL, but as a smarmy and loveable sea captain, you get the best of ol’ Norm with none of the chaff.

Highly recommended! Onward to: GREMLINS!

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