8 Ways That Storks Delivers
by Mikhail Lecaros
On first glance, Storks is your run-of-the-mill animation, without much purpose than to fill in the gap between the next Disney/Pixar flick or Dreamworks/Fox sequel. Let’s face it, The Secret Life of Pets was a letdown, and Sausage Party, which opens this week, is strictly for the adults (in all the best ways!).
Built on the classic explanation of where babies come from, Storks takes the old yarn about storks’ role in the reproductive cycle and cranks it up to eleven, fabricating an entire mythology that, all things considered, will probably raise more questions that most parents won’t want to answer.
The story goes that storks stopped delivering babies years ago due to the actions of a rogue stork (Machete himself, Danny Trejo) that prevented a child, Tulip, from reaching her intended parents. In order to prevent such incidents from ever happening again, the storks make the switch to delivering packages for online megastore Cornerstore.com (an amusing swipe at Amazon).
The main character is Junior (Andy Samberg, TV’s Brooklyn Nine Nine), whose dream it is to impress the Cornerstone CEO, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer, TV’s Frasier) become a boss (even if he can’t entirely explain why). On the eve of his promotion, a series of unfortunate incidents involving the now-grown Tulip (Katie Crown) results in Junior having to deliver a baby to a couple (sitcom veterans Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston) that may be too busy for one.
What follows is an odd couple road trip adventure that will see Tulip and Junior learning the true meaning of family while trying to fend off everything from a corporate stooge to deadly panes of invisible glass.
Well-paced, witty and undeniably more intelligent than it has any right to be, here are 8 good reasons to catch Storks with the kids:
8. It’s not a sequel or a prequel or a remake.
It says a lot about the state of Hollywood and filmmaking in general when this is considered a plus, but when the last original animated film we can remember seeing was the superlative Zootopia, any film that comes after has got its work cut out for it. Thankfully, Storks is a worthy addition to the genre that’s distinguished by a subtly twisted sense of humor that directors Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Doug Sweetland (formerly of Pixar) wisely never allow to overpower the main narrative.
7. It looks amazing
Ok, theoretically, in an age of photoreal CGI, this should be something we can take for granted, but unfortunately, not all animations are made equal. In this case, however, the visuals from Warner Animation (The Lego Movie) are topnotch, with elements like Tulip’s bountiful curls to the heavy equipment at the Cornerstone.com warehouse rendered in eye-popping detail.
6 Andy Samberg dials it down
In line with the tone adopted by the filmmakers, Andy Samberg is likewise restrained in order to better suit the family-friendly nature of the material. Make no mistake, his manic man-child routine is very much present, but In dialing back to ensure that he shares the spotlight—rather than steals it—Storks is all the better for it.
5. The cast is uniformly great
Admittedly, casting Tyler Burrell as a glorified animated version of his Modern Family character (a real estate agent who desperately wants to be great dad and is willing to drop everything to bond with his son in the most over-the-top ways possible) isn’t much of a stretch, but he fits the mold so well, why fix something that ain’t broke? The same can be said of Grammer, who uses his elegantly dulcet tones to imbue Cornerstore.com overlord Hunter with the same sort of barely-restrained insanity as his signature Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.
4. It’s well-written, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Briskly-paced and packed with amusing one-liners and sequences, Storks doesn’t meander or get stuck in unearned sentimentality. In sticking the landing all the way to the end, it doesn’t pander to kids or insult the adults who took them to see it (unlike the interminable The Secret Life of Pets).
3. The wolves steal the show
In concept and execution, the wolves in this movie are absolutely bug nuts crazy. Led by an alpha and a beta named Alpha and Beta as played by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (of sketch show Key and Peele), the wolves are possessed of group contortionist abilities that put any number of transforming robot groups to shame. Honestly, if you can’t appreciate the hilarity of someone calling out, in all seriousness, “Wolf Pack – form of submarine!” you’re probably already dead inside.
Sadly, this probably means someone will give them a standalone flick that will rob them of everything that made them hilarious in the first place, like those Penguins and Minions that really were funnier in small doses.
2. It’s not about kids; it’s about parenting and family
Sure, it’s based on a parental white lie and it’s got a moral that it drives home with all the subtlety of a mallet to the head, but it’s handled so deftly that you can’t help but be swept along. As the workaholic parents of Nate (Anton Starkman), Burrell and Aniston manage to be likable enough that we don’t hold it against them (too much) that they spend too much time at their jobs. When all is said and done, Storks not only makes the case that spending time with your kids is an essential part of parenting, it also shows the happiness derived from letting your loved ones know that they matter to you.
1. It’s all-embracing
Now this was unexpected: in a sequence that comes towards the end of the film, we are treated to a montage of parents receiving their bundles of joy, and that’s when Stoller and Sweetland pull off their slyest trick by including parents from all walks of life, including a couple of non-traditional family units that will probably annoy the CBCP. While it is one those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it things, the fact that a major studio would use such imagery to illustrate that loving parents come in all shapes and sizes certainly gives one hope for the future.
Storks – Form of heartwarming!
What other family friendly flicks are you planning on watching this week? Tell us about them below!