In a year that has given us a wealth of animated movies from Production Companies such as Disney (Zootopia, Moana), Pixar (Finding Dory), Universal (The Secret Life of Pets, Sing), Dreamworks (Trolls, Kung Fu Panda 3) and Laika (Kubo and the Two Strings) it is almost impossible to officially declare whether one film should be watched with your family above all others. That being said, of all the major releases to appear within the last 12 months, Sony’s “Storks” seems to have quietly fallen underneath the radar. With comedic talents such as Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live, Never Stop Never Stopping), Kelsey Grammar (Fraiser, The Simpsons), Jennifer Aniston (Friends, Horrible Bosses) and Ty Burrell (Modern Family, Muppets Most Wanted) lending their voices to some of the lead characters as well as Phil Lord and Christopher Millar (Lego Movie) producing, Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bad Neighbours) writing and Directing raises the question as to why Sony allowed a Movie with such strong comedic credentials release to such timid fanfare.
Round 1 – Story
In a world where Storks used to deliver babies, they instead meet the demand of the public by now delivering packages around the world. The story follows Junior (Andy Samberg), the company’s top delivery Stork, and Tulip (Katie Crown), an undelivered child that has been forced to spend the last 18 years attempting to work with the Storks in order to find her place in this crazy world. This all changes when instead of fulfilling his Boss’s wishes of “liberating” Tulip, Junior decides to relocate her to the mail room in an attempt to let her down gently. Within no time Tulip receives a letter from Nate, an only child desperate to have a younger brother to spend time with while his parents live out their heavy working lives. Overcome with joy Tulip decides to action this request in the form of reintroducing the now redundant Baby-Making machinery and create a brand new baby.
From here on we are subject a sometimes hilarious race against time to deliver this new born baby to her eagerly awaiting family – a personal highlight has to be escape from the Wolves during Act 2 by the way. With touching interactions, entertaining set pieces and occasionally confusing story developments, Stoller’s script contains everything a family movie needs to keep everyone entertained.
There were the odd occasions where things didn’t seem to make sense, especially when Junior and Tulip reached their mandatory disagreement, things seemed to go from fine to unsettled in the blink of an eye with no real reason as to why it had happened. Additionally, the motives behind both the baby-making facilities being ceased and The Boss Stork not wanting to deliver the newly created baby didn’t seem to materialise. However this does not detract from an otherwise funny and entertaining story that doesn’t stop tickling the funny bone from start to end
ROUND 1 SCORE: 7/10
Round 2 – Characters
As mentioned in the opening crawl, the main characters of “Storks” are voiced by a number of seasoned comedic talents. With Samberg’s Junior playing the hapless fish out of water, Grammar’s Hunter acting as megalomaniacal as we would expect a character voiced by Grammar to be (case and point Sideshow Bob) and finally (and most importantly I must add) Keegan-Michael Key’s partnership with Jordan Peele as Alpha and Beta Wolf respectively adding what has to some of the funniest moments in an animated movie seen in the last decade.
Unfortunately there are too many moments where the characters fail to really capitalise on their full potential. I feel as though the likes of Aniston and Burrell and painfully under used as Nate’s overworked Mom and Dad, plus the initial threat of Danny Trejo’s Jasper added a much needed level of immediate threat only to see it abolished within the first genuine interaction between him and the fleeing Junior and Tulip. But this is just me probably splitting hairs over what was a mostly enjoyable affair.
ROUND 2 SCORE: 6/10
Round 3 – Overall Enjoyment
If by this point I hadn’t made it clear, “Storks” is without doubt an entertaining movie! The laughs are clean, the story flows steadily enough to keep the masses sufficiently entertained and the way in which Samberg presents his character towards the cup porting cast only serves to assist the comedic value of this property.
With clean execution, professional performances and an overall enchanting display, it’s difficult to describe this 3rd Round as anything other than the perfect finale to one of the most shamefully underrated Animated Movie of 2016
ROUND 3 SCORE: 8/10
FINAL SCORE: STORKS WINS BY DECISION 21/30
Sony Animation’s “Storks” arrived in 2016 without any real marketing strategy. Sure there were posters, and sure there were trailers. But against the embarrassment of material released by Movies such as “Finding Dory” and “The Secret Life of Pets”, it’s something of a shame that a Film that is clearly superior than the others in many ways will sadly suffer from the lack of confidence it’s Studio decided to show.