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
Seems retelling stories is a big thing these days. I heard Klaus did it right. Most seem to get it wrong for a variety of reasons. Biggest one may be expecting fans to cheer no matter changes are made.
Very true, Charles And I don’t expect that this film will appeal to everyone because of the changes. I think for me, the director/writer provided characters that could sustain the story. Characters I wanted to watch in action.
Surprisingly, I remember it getting a lot of praise.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 95%! I’m not sure why I missed it when it debuted.
It had holiday cards everywhere too. Didn’t get much fanfare.
I don’t know what happened to me that I missed all of this!!!
Both Klaus and Elf are new to me. I am familiar with Home Alone…LOL! Congrats to Jennie!
Jill, I saw Elf when it was in the theater. It’s hard to believe that was almost twenty years ago! But Klaus I watched on Netflix because it suddenly popped up.
What a potpourri of topics and visuals here. I like quirky, and the assortment of books and art. I remember seeing Elf, so funny in a slapstick sort of way.
I’ll check out Klaus on Netflix. Maybe it’ll help me feel cooler. Thanks, L. Marie! 😀
You’re welcome, Marian! I should have mentioned this in July, since Christmas in July has been a thing. But I just noticed the movie on Netflix, so here we go! 😊 It is a vry odd movie. You’ll think of the Hatfields versus the McCoys.
What attracted me to your choice of this movie was your reasoning. The fact that you chose it largely due to your interest in the artist/artwork of Edward Gorey and how ‘Klaus’ reminded you of his style shows how so many factors enter into preferences of novels, movies, shows, music – heck – even food – and our willingness to check out new things (such as this movie in your case) based upon those same factors.
I enjoyed reading up on this artist via your blog. I do remember that intro…for some reason his artwork reminded me of the illustrations in Shel Silverstein’s and Roald Dahl’s books back in the day.
Oh yes, congrats to Jennie!
Laura, it is always interesting how a product finds its audience. Back when I read the slush piles at a publisher, the search for the manuscript that might catch the eyes of many readers was very serendipitous. Some people claim they know exactly why certain things become popular. Not me.
Klaus sounds like something I’d enjoy. I loved the Edward Gorey introduction to Mystery. Used to *sigh* along with it at the right moment. Thanks for the suggestion.
Ally, I did the same. I felt very nostalgic watching that intro and reading some of the comments about watching Mystery back in the day.
Interesting thoughts, L. My author friend (and critique partner) just finished a fantasy novel with a secondary story that mirrored Beauty and the Beast. She did an interesting retelling of the story. So much so that I hadn’t realized it was a retelling until I finished. 🙂
Beauty and Beast is a great story to retell. Do you think you would consider retelling an old story?
Yes, I’d consider retelling an old story, if it was one I felt passionate about. I’ve also thought about doing prequels or sequels to some old stories.
I might return to the story I started retelling. But for now, I will concentrate on original stuff.
I am not familiar with either of these films. Every year, I tell myself I must watch Elf. I’ll add Klaus to my list. I do like the quirky art.
Sharon, I think you will like Elf. I’m not so sure you will like Klaus though.
I love Edward Gorey’s work, and I used to watch Mystery every week! I hear you about the fine art of retelling a story. It can be a real eye-opener when done right, but it’s hard to get right, in my humble opinion 😉
Retellings are. It’s hard to be fresh and stay true to the original story.
Indeed. Some retellings are so far from the original story that you wonder why it’s even considered a retelling.
I wonder that sometimes too, Marie!
I am SO excited! I know my preschoolers will absolutely love this book. Bear books are among my favorites. A hundred thank-yous! I would be honored to have the book dedicated to me, Jennie.
Your book was ordered!
“I started a fairy tale retelling a couple years ago, but stopped, having lost inspiration for it along the way.”, you say, Linda. Why not to continue your story.? Please, continue. Ideas come all of a sudden and so on !
I encourage you
Thank you so much! I will take another look at it then! Love to you and Janine! ❤️