Movie Reviews

The Making of the Santa Myth in ‘Klaus’

The Santa Claus legend is one of the first myths every chid learns at a young age. Most of us grow up imagining this benevolent character steeped in magic, delivering toys to reward good behavior. Coupled with the amped up holiday season and the many traditions that grow around families, it makes Christmas into a myth that captivates our imaginations.

Enter Klaus, the newest Netflix Christmas movie. I’ll admit I was a bit reluctant to watch it. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a solid animated Christmas film and this one seemed a little out there. The animation style sold me and I thought I’d at least be able to say I saw it at work on Monday.

By the end, I was left awed at how wonderful this movie was. I loved everything about Klaus, from the animation style to the sprinklings of unexplained magic, to the central character who grows from spoiled brat into admirable hero of the people. The script is solid, the pacing spot on. Above all, it’s the movie’s examination of myth building that makes this a must-see film for fantasy and fairy tale fans alike.

At its heart, Klaus documents what makes up a legend, how it starts as a small seed and begins to grow into a behemoth of a story. One simple exchange between a toymaker and a child grows into the Santa myth we know and love today. It was exciting to watch the filmmakers sprinkle in bits and pieces here and there. Each piece is examined and made practical, replacing the mythological magic with real events. It’s not flying reindeer on a magical sleigh, but a hill attempt gone wrong, resulting in a shattered sleigh and scattered reindeer. This most impractical part of the Santa story begins thanks to a single child witnessing the sleigh fly by. 

This is one of those movies that surprises from start to finish. Get ready to see Santa Claus in a new light. 

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

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