Childhood fables have a magical quality that is hard to replicate as adults. Those that want that fantasy escape usually find a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, where a lot of this seems more real then an Easter Bunny or a Tooth Fairy. The latter rarely need more detail then their claimed existence as young children (lets set the bar around under ten) are still processing what’s real and what is left to their imagination. Of course one of life’s mysteries they ponder on is where babies come from. Until their ready for the birds and the bee’s talk, one classic way to explain is the stork.
Most have probably heard about the legend of storks bringing newborn babies to their parents that want one (or like in Dumbo, are just given one no matter what). It’s a cute idea, even though my parents had always told me how children are made (my family didn’t believe hiding those hard facts). I could see how expanding that idea could lead to something larger, like a product out of Pixar. So let’s see how Warner Brothers tries to explain storks and their mission in…Storks.
In this world, storks have been bringing children to parents forever (with clever art reflecting cavemen and ancient Egyptians), but when one child is accidentally forgotten with her route destroyed, it is decided that the birds need to change their business mindset. Cut to years later that the storks now deliver for an Amazon-like website called Cornerstone. It’s being run by the ambitious, but ruthless Hunter (played by Kelsey Grammer) while the birds under him makes their delivery round. One such bird, Junior (played by Andy Samberg) is about to get his promotion under the condition that he immediately fires the forgotten child now an adult, Orphan Tulip (played by Katie Crown).
Unable to do so, Junior instead makes Tulip the head of the mailing department which hasn’t gotten a single letter in years. Meanwhile, a young boy Nate is board by his parents Henry (played by Ty Burrell) and Sarah (played by Jennifer Aniston)always working and asks for a sibling. When told by his parents no, he finds an old brochure for the storks and writes to them. Of course they get it and the letter is a accidentally processed, creating their first baby in a while. Junior and Tulip decide to deliver it themselves, knowing that getting caught would result in their ejection.
Storks reminded me a lot of The Lego Movie, which was really fast paced and threw a lot of jokes while explaining it’s complex story. This too is hyper, but maybe too hyper for it’s own good. I laughed a lot while watching, but the first thirty minutes are exhausting at it seems to fast forward through it’s buildup without giving the viewer much of a chance to rest and to let it rest. We do get those moments later, but this is a situation where I wished it had a longer running time to take more of it’s time.
The casting is the best thing about it. Andy Samberg and Kelsey Grammer add a lot of their over the top personalities to these characters which makes it more interesting when Samberg does go through a character development. Plus I’ll give the filmmakers credit for NOT hiring an A-list star for Tulip, but a simple voice artist who is clearly given some recognition.
The animation, though occasionally looking strange, is very nice to look at and does move at an appropriate fast speed.
Again my major problem is that Storks seems to be so keen on moving fast, that it’s own setup, though funny, often leaves a lot of other questions. If they’ve been delivering for eons, did they need another baby making machine or did God do it? Are storks people? If not why do they need money? How come the storks could have not found Tulip’s address from their computer? You see what I mean?
I’ll give this three storks delivering babies out of five. Kids will probably really like this, though parents might be questioning the complex world more then admiring it. If that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, then you’ll probably be laughing along with your child. I just wish the film had delivered more for me.