In 2013, Warner Bros. announced that they had founded a new department that was dedicated to producing quality animated features. This new team was called Warner Animation Group, and in 2014 they released their first project, The Lego Movie. The Lego Movie took the world of animation by storm, and was met with critical and commercial success.
2016 has seen the release of WAG’s follow up to The Lego Movie, simply called Storks. In premise alone, Storks reminds me a lot of a Pixar movie. It takes a rather simple concept or story, and attempts to make something really special out of it. In this case, it’s the story of the storks, birds that deliver beautiful, healthy babies to loving homes and families. While Storks doesn’t quite live up to the Pixar name, it is a genuinely entertaining film in its own right.
I went to see Storks with zero expectations. I hadn’t seen a single trailer or preview for the film, all I knew was that it existed, and as a huge fan of animation, I had to see it. I feel that tempering expectations for Storks is a really good idea, because while it is a fun film, I don’t see it living up to the bar that was set by The Lego Movie.
In the world of Storks, the titular birds run a baby delivery service. Well, at least they used to. After a delivery mishap that left an infant orphaned, the storks turned their beaks to greener pastures. They founded an Amazon-esque delivery service called Cornerstore.
Storks’ story isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. It’s a classic tale of jerk with a heart of gold, an overly excited partner, and they bond and learn from each other over the course of the adventure.
There’s also an intertwining side story involving a kid and his busy parents, (quick note: the parents aren’t really neglectful. They very clearly love their son, they are just always busy with work). One day, the child finds an old ad for the storks delivery service, and sends off a request for a little brother.
While the story structure isn’t anything new and exciting, the characters more than make up for it. Storks’ characters are so rife with charm and humor, and seeing them all interact is a real treat. For starters, we have our protagonist, Junior. Junior is Cornerstore’s number one delivery bird, and has big dreams of being head of the company. After an accident that results in the creation of a baby, Junior is forced to deliver her with the help of a newly 18 year old Tulip (Tulip was the child whose unfortunate situation lead to the cancellation of the baby delivery service).
Junior may be the best delivery bird in the game, but he’s also kind of a dork (in the best possible way). Seeing him get all giddy and excited over things like a promotion and Stork-Con went a long way towards making him an endearing character, not to mention the fact that he’s the butt of many of the film’s jokes. Tulip was also a really fun character, although I am a sucker for those happy-go-lucky, always smiling characters.
The extended cast of Storks is just as good, if not better than the two leads. The wolf pack, the penguins, the non-flying birds, all of these guys made the film that much funnier. But the best character is probably Pigeon Toady, a tiny pigeon with a big attitude and a ridiculous voice. With the exception of the penguins, this guy definitely got the biggest laughs out of me.
There are tons of movies that I say are funny, and whenever I say that, it usually means that they at least got me to chuckle. Storks got me to genuinely laugh from my gut, multiple times in fact! This is due in part to the film’s fantastic voice cast. Andy Samberg and Katie Crown portray Junior and Tulip respectively, but Storks also features voice talent from Jennifer Aniston, Key & Peele and Danny Trejo. Every actor did a phenomenal job of bringing the world of Storks to life.
Storks may not be the best animated film of 2016, but I’m really glad I saw it. I went in with no expectations, and left the theater with a satisfied smile on my face. Storks is a really funny film, one that I would recommend to just about anyone.