Storks is the fun, and mostly funny, new animated film from Warner Bros about babies, birds and being a grown-up. It charts the tale of a flock of storks who sell out on their tradition of delivering babies to get with the times and deal in packages for Internet giant Cornerstore.com instead. The inevitable spanner in the works comes when their now-redundant “Baby Making Machine” – bizarrely imagined as something akin to a nuclear fusion reactor – is accidentally booted back into use and pops out an adorable pink-haired baby. Office orphan, 18-year-old Tulip (Katie Crown), and an aspiring middle-manager stork, Junior (Andy Samberg), make it their mission to deliver the baby the old fashioned way.
Storks does mostly hit the mark: the characters are heartwarming, the pace quick and the animation exquisitely executed. It refreshingly breaks stereotypes, with tough lead female Tulip depicted with an incredible mass of auburn curls and such a diversity of babies represented: every colour from yellow to blue-haired is covered. But an overly busy plot line means some of it, as well as its jokes, might fall flat – for kids at least.
Being writer and co-director Nicholas Stoller’s (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) first foray into animated film, Storks is far more preoccupied with the anxieties of being adult than being a kid: office politics, work-life balance and the trials and tribulations of having children dominate the themes and jokes. Take the central premise which plays on the age-old white lie made to avoid awkward dinner table questions about the origin of babies, by default it will go over the heads of most children. Likewise some of the funniest moments of the film, such as Tulip’s schizophrenic skit impersonating office workers gossiping over a watercooler, or Nate’s warning to his workaholic Dad, could be read straight out of a self-help parenting book: “You know, you’ll only be my idol for two more years.”
Storks does have enough action and slapstick to keep kids occupied – a pack of wolves forming a wolf bridge, boat and submarine are plainly hilarious – but it’s hard not to think the “something for everyone” balance is slightly out of kilter in what is otherwise a unique and beautifully animated romp of a film.
Storks is released nationwide on 14th October 2016.
Watch the trailer for Storks here: