Animated adventure Storks is one of the big school holiday releases. Despite its cute premise, sparkling animation, elaborate set pieces and a deluge of sight gags, this film may,however, leave the intended youngster audience confused and dissatisfied.
The film follows a familiar plot device in which a mythical gift giving service is depicted as a modern day manufacturing business. This time it’s not Santa’s workshop or the Easter Bunny’s egg factory but a slightly disturbing baby making factory from which storks deliver youngsters to parents. Or at least they used to. The storks have opted out of the baby distribution game and instead turned their factory into a warehouse for an online retail company called The Corner Store. The baby producing machinery (so to speak) lays dormant until bungling human employee Tulip (Katie Crown) mistakenly starts it up again creating a youngster requested in a letter from an only child. To hide her mistake before the corporate head kicking stork Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) finds out, Tulip and a conscientious stork named Junior (Andy Samberg) must desperately try to deliver the baby.
The film’s writer and director Nicholas Stoller has a questionable resume with Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising and the awful Zoolander No.2 among his credits. Both those films had rambling non-sensical plots and while this film is definitely an improvement, it also suffers a lack of coherence as characters stumble from one perilous situation to another. Not only is the story jumbled but it lacks the layered intrigue of a great animated movie like Zootopia.
The film’s biggest problem, though, is that it doesn’t have memorable characters. Tulip and Junior are quirky and likeable but there’s nothing remarkable or especially endearing about them. Similarly, a supporting voice cast of big names like Jennifer Aniston don’t impress themselves on our memory. This, however, is due more to script limitations than their performances.
Like just about all modern day animated films the computer graphics in Storks are astonishingly realistic and detailed but that doesn’t account for a mediocre story. Also, the film suffers that curse of the modern animation feature: loud, manic, headache-inducing sight gags.
Storks is by no means a bad film but it pales in comparison to the great animated features of recent times like Wall E, Toy Story and Zootopia.
Nick’s rating: **1/2.
Genre: Animation/ adventure.
Director(s): Nicholas Stoller.
Release date: 22nd Sept 2016.
Running time: 89 mins.
Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM. Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show