The other day, I watched a 2019 animated movie called Klaus on Netflix. Maybe you’ve seen it? It was written and directed by Sergio Pablos, a former Disney animator. Click here to get the Wikipedia explanation for it.
When a scene from the movie popped up on Netflix, there was something about the weird looking town and people that instantly appealed to me. They reminded me of art by Edward Gorey—surreal, but in color. If you’re not familiar with who Edward Gorey is, click here. More than likely, you’ve seen his work somewhere. Here’s a clue: if you watched Mystery on PBS back in the day, his artwork was used in the intro. Click here for a video of that. You know it’s old, because Vincent Price used to be the host. He died in 1993.
Anyway, back to Klaus—this post is not a review of that movie, but merely an expression of my admiration for how gutsy Pablos was to retell such a familiar story—the story of Santa Claus—in such a quirky way. Though I was not directly reminded of the movie Elf, I was reminded of how I felt watching Elf for the first time—how it captured my attention immediately to the point where watching it became a yearly tradition.
Klaus is not like Elf though. Many of the characters in the film are unlikable for quite some time. For me that is usually a serious strike against a film. Normally, I would’ve stopped watching it. But the premise was so weird, engaging, and oddly sweet, that I couldn’t stop looking at it.
It’s not for everybody though, I’m sure, especially since some aspects of it do not make sense. But it caused me to consider how a filmmaker or an author can retell an old story in a fresh way without going off the rails. I wish I had tips for how that can be done. Though I don’t usually retell stories, I started a fairy tale retelling a couple years ago, but stopped, having lost inspiration for it along the way. So I admire the people who stick with a retelling and wind up getting their story published.
Well, now I will segue to an original story told by the great Sandra Nickel. The winner of Big Bear and Little Fish is Jennie!
Jennie, please comment below to confirm. Please note that the book will not be sent until after Sandra’s book signing (after September 24). If you have a particular dedication, please let me know in the comments. And thank you to all who commented.
Klaus poster from Wikipedia. Klaus cast and black and white image from somewhere on the internet. Klaus Krum-Ellingboe image from Jasonsmovieblog