Director: Sergio Pablos and Carlos Martinez López
Year Released: 2019
As punishment for being lazy, Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) is sent by his well-to-do father to a gray, miserable arctic town - perpetually locked in a civil war between two warring families (the Ellingboes and the Krums) - to be the postman: he isn't greeted with any sort of hospitality, but he does meet austere woodworker Klaus (J.K. Simmons) who enjoys making toys for kids. It's interesting how Pablos and López try to demystify the Santa Claus narrative and make it more "real" (quotation marks needed), but it's another to turn Ol' St. Nick into a depressed widower (which takes out a lot of the fun) - that they kill off later on - and then conclude on another dumb chase sequence with an Angry Mob running after the sleigh filled with gifts because they don't want their children to have any joy in their lives (ho-ho-hum). I'm no doubt the wrong target audience for this type of thing, but at least Disney's 2019 release Noelle - with Anna Kendrick - tries to be fun in its own syrupy way and doesn't leave one feeling a little let down.