Film: “Storks”; Directors: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland; Voices of: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo, Stephen Kramer Glickman; Rating:**
A modern take on the age-old yarn of, “Storks delivering babies”, this animated film, “Storks” is confusingly designed. It is far from a look good, feel good film.
This narrative begins with a voice-over that states, “For as long as time immemorial, storks delivered babies,” and it further states, that no matter what, they would triumph over adversities. But, with changing times and after an untoward incident that happened 18 years ago, the storks have stopped delivering babies and are now into package delivery service, operating for an online organisation called Cornerstore.com.
Andy Samberg voices Junior, the stork who is next in line to be at the helm of the organisation. To prove his mettle to Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), the current boss, he has been asked to terminate the services of an “Orphan” human girl Tulip (Katie Crow), who was brought up by the Storks. He is tasked to liberate her by setting her free from the Stork supervision and connect her to her intended family.
In the meanwhile, downtown, young Nate (Anthon Starkman) is lonely and hopes for “a little brother”. His parents, Sarah Gardner (Jennifer Aniston) and Henry (Ty Burrell) willingly sacrifice their time to make Nate happy. If there are a few life’s lessons to be learnt in this film, it is from the Gardners.
Of course things go wrong when Junior and Tulip, are forced to embark on a road trip with some precious cargo. How they clear the mess and Junior manages to keep his promotion, forms the crux of the tale.
To add gravitas to the narrative, there is Pigeon Toady (Kramer Glickman) who is Junior’s rival at Cornerstore.com. He is that fake, annoying character who puts a spike to Junior’s good deeds.
And there is a pack of wolves led by Alpha (Keegan-Michael Key) and Beta (Jordan Peele) who chase Junior and Tulip during their delivery. The parental traits of these two characters initially remind you of the wolves from Jungle Book. But gradually the wolves turning into innate formations to exercise a smooth chase is not hilarious, but absurd and preposterous.
There are a few emotional scenes, but these do not resonate the way they ought to in a children’s film.
The story plays out in a somewhat predictable direction, but the gags, tone of the dialogues and elements with loads of aggression, violence and chaos, make the film a less fun experience. In fact, it is sure to frighten the kids.
The characters are over-the-top, self-indulgent and aggressive. They are sharp and don’t even try to be subtle with some jokes. The unwarranted remark, like the one about “urine”, is in poor taste.
Visually, the animation is flawless but the 3D effects do not elevate the viewing experience.
The first song, “How you like me now'” ends before it can actually take off. The second number is difficult to fathom as the lyrics are incomprehensible. It is only the last two songs that make an impact to the narrative. But, by then it is too late.
Overall, this film is not likely to appeal to kids and their accompanying adults either.
By Troy Ribeiro