The Morning After: Feb. 3, 2020

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Klaus


The former dark horse contender for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars has become something more than that and if you’ve seen the film, you can understand why. Klaus is the story of a young dilettante forced by his father to become a mail man and shipped off to a remote wintry locale to use the skills he hasn’t learned to revitalize the town’s postal services.

Voiced by Jason Schwartzman, Jesper wants nothing more than to get out of the hell hole, but if he gives up, he will be disinherited and forced to live on the street. When happenstance results in a letter he was holding for a small child reaching a mysterious woodsman who makes toys, the story of Santa Claus finds its origin. Or does it? As expected everything starts crumbling around him in the most predictable way possible and whether he can save his own hide or the hides of those in this community remains to be seen.

The most delightful vocal work in the film is by Joan Cusack as the leader of one of the village’s two factions who have been warring Hatfields & McCoys style for as long as any of them can remember. Schwartzman’s lack of emotional detail and clarity to his performance make him an incomplete hero, one that the story must forcefully push forward. J.K. Simmons voices the huntsman, Rashida Jones the school teacher saving up to get out of town, Will Sasso as Cusack’s chief rival, and Norm MacDonald as the haranguing ferry boat captain who eggs Jesper on.

The art work is stylized for the most part and sometimes quite inventive, but the overall look of buildings and the towns miserable attitudes seem like a mirror universe version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and a lot more predictable. This sweet and endearing film tells a solid, if predictable narrative and audiences of all ages could welcome it into their homes as a regular holiday tradition.

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