“Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Always deliver.”
These frequent flyers “modernize” their delivery system from babies to packages in the entertaining animation fest Storks, which has some hilarious moments among an ambitious plot strengthened by a strong voice cast. The one hour and 26 minute running time goes at a maniacal pace at times, but the clean, colorful visuals keep viewers focused and pleased.
Initially set on Stork Mountain, the heartwarming missions drive the plot across several settings as the story basically has no antagonist character just challenging situations involving the cute babies.
Animators make the babies appealing and adorable as the story and characters revolve around their needs and importance in this animated universe where filmmakers utilize unique story and baby characteristics while taking some creative licenses allowed in animated like multicolored baby hair not usually possible without special dye.
Andy Samberg (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, TV’s Brooklyn Nine Nine) anchors the cast in his sixth feature voice role as top white stork deliverer Junior along with Katie Crown (Adventure Time, Bob’s Burgers) who voices Tulip in a star-making role.
Stork CEO Hunter, voiced by Kelsey Grammer, looks to pass the baton to a worthy successor with his same ideals. Grammer hits the mark well in his eighth movie voice role that commands audience attention.
This animated adventure plays like a buddy comedy and sets up the jokes so everyone does not need a Ph. D in popular culture to enjoy them…just a strong attention span, which creates a slight issue with the plot’s pace.
For example, Tulip’s hilarious mail room segment is wonderfully animated, but her dialogue is so fast that it might take multiple viewings to fully appreciate all the dialogue deliveries, jokes, and references (e.g. “cool beans” from Sandberg’s live action comedy Hot Rod).
Also, the fast pace makes the dialogue deliveries more fun. For example, a character’s impromptu sequence using the song “How You Like Me Now”, originally performed by The Heavys, would not be funny if delivered based on vocal power and awe inspiring musicianship. It takes a funny voice combined with hilarious visuals to make that joke work.
Creators have the increasingly hard task of making fickle, demanding audiences laugh consistently. They produce a nice variety of physical gags, dialogue, satire, insults, one liners, puns, reactions, and humor that does not make logical sense plus some exhilarting flight sequences.
This approach diminishes story focus a bit, especially a parallel storyline where Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston voice busy real estate couple Henry and Sarah Gardner who have a young 10-year old boy named Nate, voiced by Anton Starkman.
A tight knit wolf pack also discovers the baby and are led by another strong character pair named Alpha and Beta, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.
Stephen Kramer Glickman (TV’s Big Time Rush) voices an awkward, ambitious pigeon named Toady who has some memorable lines like the following: “[waving his phone around] Check out my girlfriend! She’s in Canada! She migrated, she’s not made up. Look at her, look at her! She exists, bro!” An old stork named Jasper, well voiced by an almost unrecognizable Danny Trejo, also factors into the story.
Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors) directs and writes the funny screenplay while wisely teaming up with animation filmmaker Doug Sweetland (The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Toy Story) as co-director. Storks is the animated feature film debut for both filmmakers while Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The LEGO Movie) also serve as executive producers.
The film’s score was composed by Mychael and Jeff Danna keeps the tone light and enjoyable while the songs keep the fast pace and include the upbeat “Holdin’ Out” performed by the Lumineers, and Jason Derulo’s “Kiss the Sky.”
Extras on the DVD include The Master: A LEGO Ninjago short originally shown before the film during the theatrical release (including 3D theaters) and “Kiss the Sky” music video, but you’ll have to get the Blu-ray (including 4K Ultra HD version) for a funny short titled “Storks: Guide to Your New Baby” hosted by Pigeon Toady, commentary track by Stoller, Sweetland John Venzon and Matt Flynn, deleted scenes (with and without commentary) and a small, but memorable group of staged outtakes from almost every main character. An UltraViolet code is also included for several compatible devices.
Warner Animation Group’s second feature film Storks comes recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated PG for rated PG for mild action and some thematic elements.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler