Hens looking to escape an egg farm, a detective story in an animal metropolis, a chameleon with an existential crisis in a Western town, a fox robbing the rich to feed the poor…the list goes on. Animals have starred in animated movies for as long as there have been animated movies. We have seen everything from Porcupines to Anglerfish inhabit the screen and now it is the time for the Storks to fly in their own colourful animated adventure. In this day and age most young people probably know more about sex and how babies are made than people decades older but there was a time when mums and dads would drop the old ‘Storks deliver babies’ story while they wondered how best to explain. Well this feature from Warner Bros. Animation puts its own spin on this idea, with added chaos, pop culture gags and, er, wolves? So is it flop or fly?
The basic idea is, as we have just stated, that Storks once delivered babies, it was a tough business but a necessary one. However times have changed and over at Cornerstone.com (top delivery business), the Storks now deliver top of the range tech. Business is booming and when the company’s best delivery Stork Junior (Andy Samberg) is called into the office by big boss Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), he is excited by the prospect of being the new boss. However when kind hearted but clumsy orphan Tulip (Katie Crown) – who was not delivered years back and grew up with the Storks- tries to help out, she accidentally creates a baby from the old baby maker machine! Attempting to solve a big problem, Junior and Tulip aim to get the kid to her home but that is going to be easier said than done.
With great animation but pretty bog standard plotting, the promotional material for Storks looked to be pretty so-so at best, however upon seeing the finished film, some may be a little surprised. Storks is certainly not anything breathtaking nor daring but it is an agreeable cinema visit for the entire family that is far superior to what was promoted. The plot does play out as expected at times and Nicholas Stoller’s screenplay does not always nail the jokes (however when it does, there are some worthwhile laughs to be had here – the wolves are great). That being said, there are some worthwhile themes on offer, with the importance of parents being involved in vital childhood years being prioritised, as well as some passing themes about independent womanhood, diversity in the workplace and a very subtle closing inclusion of same sex relationships onscreen.
Sure these ideas could be more developed but their inclusion is a welcome surprise and while sometimes the plot veers into disarray, there are some madcap sequences worth the admission alone. The characters are mostly likeable too, with Junior and Tulip being an engaging pair of leads and some fine supporting characters like the scene stealing wolves and Grammer’s ruthless business bird Hunter. All wrapped in a sometimes all over the place but more than watchable story of family and what it is to have them around you (blood relations or otherwise).
All in all Storks is kind of mis-sold by its trailer, yes it does not re-invent the wheel nor soar as high as other animated hits but the kids will likely love it (especially the colloquialism packed script – some of which was lost on this reviewer…god I’m getting old) and there are great moments of nutty energy throughout. Not every joke lands safely but the film is imbued with genuine heart and some inspired moments (see a silent penguin fight that is a real joy). A surprisingly enjoyable and inoffensive offering that ought to fit the family-viewing bill.
STORKS / CERT: U / DIRECTORS: NICHOLAS STOLLER, DOUG SWEETLAND / SCREENPLAY: NICHOLAS STOLLER / STARRING: ANDY SAMBERG, KELSEY GRAMMER, KATIE CROWN, JENNIFER ANISTON / RELEASE DATE: 14TH OCTOBER
Expected Rating: 5/10