Animation films are rarely targetted solely at children anymore, and quite a few of them pack in a bit of fun for adult audiences as well.Storks, the latest offering from Warner Brothers Animation, brings together a bunch of talented comedians and voice actors to fill in the shoes of, you guessed it, storks (and a few humans caught in the mire ofStorkland). But thestorks’ business is an odd oneunless you are used to coming across a baby delivery service handled and run entirely by storks while taking a walk in the neighbourhood. But to give credit to the film, animation movies do not generally aim to hold up a pristine picture of reality; instead, whatmost in the genre do is to try to answer a lot of the questions that kids may have about lifewhile steering clear of melodrama with the aid of comedy.
Storks is a weird mix of these characteristics. The film is co-directed by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Doug Sweetland (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles) and stars Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, and Jennifer Aniston among others. Brad Lewis ofRatatouille fame has co-produced the film alongside Stoller. With such gifted creators and artists attached to the project, one would think that the film would be an absolute riot, and it does seemto go in that direction to an extent before falling miserably short.
The basic story of Storks revolves around friendship and compassion, not quite oddly, between a stork and a human. The storks used to be in the baby delivery business before, now they have moved on to a more profitable business- postal delivery of consumer packages. Junior, thecompany’s top delivery stork, is about to be given a coveted promotion. Junior is also good friends with Tulip, the orphaned girl who is the sole human working at the factory. However, things go south as the two accidentally activate the Baby Making Machine, which as a result produces a cute little baby girl. Meanwhile, Nate, a lonely kid sick of his workaholic parents, writes to the storks to deliver a baby to their family so that he can cherish the much-needed company. Junior and Tulip see an opportunity and plan to make the first baby drop since the company shut down. This sets the course for a wild adventure of enduring friendship and introspection, coupled with the optimism of being reunited with one’s family.
Journeys figure as an important factor in many stories, right from the epics to modern day animation films. So in a way, Storks is quite cliched in terms of its plot. But the film does manage to achieve a few things within its 90 minutes of running time.Kids often wonderand ask their parents, about where babies come from, something that frazzles even modern day parents. But while most parents choose to say that babies are created by the almighty, Storks replaces that force with machines run by birds. There’s a little bit of satire in there, we think.
But for an animation film that aims to be high on humour, Storks doesn’t deliver much in the way of that. Andy Samberg, a well-known face from his days on Saturday Night Live, tries his best to give Junior the character that he deserves, but somehow fails to draw upon his comedic skills. In fact, it’s the serious dearth of a good script that breaks apart the film. The characters say things that are supposed to be funny, but they simply do not deliver.
Nevertheless, the film does hold up a story that covers the basics- it highlights certain negative issues in some of its characters and portrays the good stuff as well. Friendship, perseverance, and compassion, and not greed, are the forces that drive the world, the film wants to say. But somewhere between the lack of humour and the fast-paced plot, the message gets reduced to a monotonous preaching.
Despite all the cliche that has been crammed into this one film, Storks does have its positives. The film rarely feels boring owing to its tightly paced action, and kids will perhaps love the suspenseful adventure that the unlikely trio of Junior, Tulip, and the baby embark on to accomplish their mission. It even feels clever owing to the creators’ out-of-the-box thinking.
In all honesty, Storks has all the potential to be a good animation film. But the script is what makes or breaks a movie, and especially for one which counts on wit and humour. Sadly, both of these are sorely missing from Storks.
Storks: Our Rating
Storks is an animation film, and the animation bit is extraordinary. Despite the lack of delivery from the some of the main characters, others come across as utterly hilarious. Stephen Kramer Glickman as Pigeon Toady, the cute but equally vicious pigeon that threatens Junior and Tulip’s mission, and Kelsey Grammer as Hunter, Junior’s self-centered boss at Cornerstore, both do an outstanding job. There’s an ample amount of cute goofiness thrown in the mix as well, which makes the film tolerable. But regardless, Storks fails to be the film that it aims to be. So we give it a 2.5 out of 5 based on performance and story. The animation gets a good 4 out of 5.
Storks will hit theatres on September 23, 2016.