What Does Warner Bros’ Storks Intend to Deliver?

30 Sep

storks-posterBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Mild Spoiler Alert

Warner Bros. animated film Storks does not quite deliver the goods — not the babies as they used to do in the past — just right. There’s a bit of an in-joke with how Cornerstore (i.e. Amazon) is the one and only place to order all goods and it will be sent to your home on time, every time (and returns are just as fast) which I like, but for the average viewer, the narratives flies in your face and fast. There are two tales in this film, and while they run parallel to come together by the finale, just which story is more important feels muddled.

On one side of the coin is a story that seems more fitting for an Angry Birds movie; Junior (Andy Samberg) is a top delivery bird about to get a promotion, but he has to fire the only human Tulip (Katie Crown) living with this flock who never found her parents because of a mess-up in the past. The device containing the information of her forever home is lost.

On Earth, Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman) is a lad who desires a sibling. His parents are realtors and they never have time to spend with their boy. When he finds a brochure about who delivers babies, he writes a letter asking Santa, er the storks, for a young brother. The thought of having ‘that talk’ is never addressed since there is more than one method to keep the human population growing. The fantasy world created can be made better had it have gone the extra mile to look further into the origin of why storks deliver babies. In what was offered to explain the mythology went by too fast; my eyes gleamed and I nodded in appreciation of how Ancient Egyptians recognized them even though the exact lore is not described. Perhaps the best definition comes from Nordic lore — the stork symbolizes family values and commitment.

Storks 2016 Film; Nate's Family

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a treatment in his work The Storks which popularized the current belief, and this film’s producers Brad Lewis and Nicholas Stoller took no inspiration from. I did not expect them to. As amusing as this film is, the product feels derivative. Insert cute baby, check. Include comedy relief with a pair of dogs, check. Toss in a dorky hero pairing up with a lost lamb figure — Yes, this has been done before.

Insert a very unlikable rival for Junior, Pigeon Toady (Stephen Kramer Glickman does a killer job in this aspect) and this film is complete. The product is very busy and hyperactive. With a second act that can not quite establish which narrative is more important, I wondered if I should care for any of the humans at all? I was paying more attention to Nate’s problem of not having anyone to play with. Being the only child can suck and I can relate to his experiences more than caring about Junior’s plight on how to deliver the baby (produced by a machine) to the Gardner family (he injured his wing early in the film).

Happiness comes from discovering strong family bonds from unlikely folks coming together. At least this film delivers this message perfectly when thinking about why this film was produced.

3½ Storks out of 5

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