Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Starring Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo
The storks of Stork Mountain have long been out of the baby business, instead delivering packages for Totally Not Amazon(TM). Top delivery stork Junior (Samberg) is due to be promoted to CEO when the incumbent, Hunter (Grammer), gets kicked upstairs, but first he need to ‘liberate’ the company’s sole human employee, Orphan Tulip (Crown), whose delivery address was lost when she was a baby, precipitating the move away from baby delivery. Taking pity on Tulip, Junior instead moves the overeager young woman to the defunct postal sorting room. There, she transfers a letter from lonely only-child Nate (Anton Starkman) into the old baby factory, creating a custom baby girl.
To cover his mistake, an injured Junior allows Tulip to use a home-made plane to help deliver the baby. A series of mishaps follow, involving the repeated failure of Tulip’s vehicles and a pack of wolves (Key and Peele) who want to adopt the baby, a sycophantic homing pigeon (Stephen Kramer Glickman), Tulip’s original delivery stork Jasper (Trejo), and Hunter’s determination to prevent any chance of a resurgence in the baby business, as the mismatched pair struggle to deliver the baby to Nate and his parents (Aniston and Burrell), forcing Junior to consider his place in the world.
What’s wrong with it?
Storks is a crazy, technicolour mish-mash. It literally never lets up. It’s a little wearying.
The characterisation in the movie is a little slight, especially Nate and his parents, who spend most of the runtime in what feels like a separate, parallel movie.
What’s right with it?
This film is completely bonkers! It features a wolf pack that manage to shape themselves into boats and submarines and suspension bridges.
Tulip is one of those bubbly, ebullient characters who could be completely intolerable, but has just enough weight and tragedy that she comes out charming.
The film uses montages to represent people’s inner feelings, which are treated in an oddly diegetic fashion when Hunter deliberately tries to provoke Junior’s ambition.
The film’s humour is scattergun, but hits more than it misses.
How bad is it really?
Storks is a really fun film. It’s weird as hell, even by my standards, but it’s just full of joy and colour and action, and maybe that’s what I needed at the time or maybe it would be that much fun any time. Either way, I really enjoyed it, flaws and all.
Best bit (if such there is)?
After their wolf-pack airplane fails to fly, resulting in them losing the ‘tiny helpless thing,’ the wolves adorably adopt ‘form of a broken heart.’
What’s up with…?
- The baby factory?
- The structural wolf-pack?
Production values – Created by Warner Animation, Storks may not be up to the standards of Pixar or Dreamworks, but even mid-level animation is pretty slick these days. Strong voice acting and non-stop action covers for any rough edges. 6
Dialogue and performances – A strong cast makes the most of broadly-drawn characters and a script packed full of jokes, some better than others. 7
Plot and execution – The story is pretty basic, and much of the action consists of a series of digressions and side-episodes, with the human side of the story only barely connected. 9
Randomness – “Wolf-pack! Form of submarine!” is worth almost a full 20 points on its own. 13
Waste of potential – There are a few jokes that don’t quite land, but otherwise this is well beyond the standard one might expect from a film about baby-delivering storks by a redbrick animation house. 6