HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:85
Warner Brothers hasn’t been a power house in the family animated world for quite some time. They have a great setup with the DC animated films, and they had ENORMOUS success with “The Lego Movie”, but other than that, it’s been YEARS since they’ve been able to compete with Disney, Dreamworks and the like with family animated feature films. However, they are giving it their all with “Storks”, a cute and zany animated film that takes a look at the wonders of baby years and the problems that this entails. Interestingly enough, Warner got director Nicholas Stoller to head it up. You know, the same guy who did “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, “Get him to the Greek”, “Neighbors”, “Neighbors 2” and “The Five Year Engagement”. A strange combination indeed as Stoller has made a career out of ridiculously dirty (and downright funny) comedies for his directing career, and now he’s at the helm of a PG animated family film. Things get crazy, and things get a bit weird with the cast going back to the same jokes over and over again, but they definitely show a lot of enthusiasm and a can do attitude that makes for a lot of good laughs that work incredibly well.
Remember the old wives tale of the storks brining your baby brother or sister so you didn’t have to tell your young one about the birds and the bees till they were older? Well, those days are over. The storks have officially hung up their baby delivering caps and now make a living by delivering old fashioned parcel packages. I guess after a stork named Jasper (voiced by Danny Trejo) got a little too protective of his delivery and accidentally breaks the homing beacon they realized that there wasn’t much of a future in baby deliveries. Now, 18 years later, Stork Mountain is a giant corner store and spitting out packages left and right. However, things get a little messy when the big boss Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) decides that the now 18 year old child that Jasper broke the homing beacon of is all grown up and not their responsibility anymore. Hunter wants to keep the business flowing smoothly and having an 18 year old HUMAN around is not exactly conducive for business. Sending his managerial successor, Junior (voiced by Andy Samberg) to fire the young girl he thinks all is well.
Only thing is that Junior doesn’t have the heart to fire the young 18 year old Tulip (Katie Crown) and shuffles her down to the letter sorting station (which is basically the equivalent of Milton getting an office in the basement in “Office Space”). There she gets a letter from a little boy named Nate (Anton Starkman) who wants a little baby brother. Excited at her first real responsibility, Tulip rushes over to the old letter depository and accidentally sticks it in the abandoned baby making machine. out over what his boss will think of the accidental baby, Junior decides that he and Tulip are heading out to deliver the baby as quietly as possible and then sneak back in before Hunter even knows they’re gone. Naturally things don’t work out exactly as planned and the duo have to trek through snow, sleet, rain and a pack of very obsessive wolves to get this baby to its rightful owners.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=87122[/img]First things first. Let me warn you that it’s best to leave your brains at the door, otherwise you’ll be asking questions that require answer. Something that I’m not sure the film is really willing to answer. Stoller and crew throw just about everything but the kitchen sink at the wall and hopes it stick. Something that can be a bit hit or miss as some jokes are beaten to death with a dull fork and others are hilariously funny. Probably the best bit of the entire movie is Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele as the two main wolves in the wolf pack. Their natural chemistry from “Key and Peele” is infectious and they make up some of the best laugh out loud moments in the entire movie. Andy Samberg is amusingly brash with his normal SNL style of humor as Junior, but he does have some great chemistry with Katie Crown, as she’s the polar opposite. A bright cheery dispositioned girl with unending optimism. Kelsey Grammer is kind of bland as Hunter, but then again, Hunter isn’t given a whole lot to do besides being the ticked off boss. The only character that I DIDN’T like was comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman who plaid “Toady”. A snot nosed brown noser who talks with the most horrifically annoying valley accent and grates on your nerves every time he speaks.
The film benefits greatly with Stoller encouraging his cast to get together and improv together, something which really isn’t done in animated films (usually the animation storyboards are already drawn out and improvisation requires the artist to draw up new work if the script is altered). As such the comedy flows naturally and there are some scenes in “Storks” that are downright hilarious and are later revealed to have been completely off the cuff at that storyboard session. While the slapstick humor is always funny, I have to say that “Storks” was definitely written by someone who knows about the joys and pains of new parenthood. Much of the humor slyly pokes fun at all of the adorable cuteness that goes on initially, but also at all the sleepless nights, infighting amongst exhausted parents and the little quirks of trying to find your “groove” as new parents. It added a sense of intelligence and wit to the stupidity that happens when comedians run wild.
Rated PG for mild action and some thematic elements
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=87130[/img]Yum yum yum. “Storks” looks AMAZING and crystal clear as if straight from the digital tap. The animated film is awash with tons and tons of brightly lit colors that pop off the screen with neon pinks, bright oranges, deep yellows and almond tones. Fine detailing is superb, with the fur of the wolves looking intricate and Tulips twisted and curly red hair showing off a myriad of different angles and shapes to the tight curls. The film isn’t always perfectly animated like a Pixar film, but there’s a high level of consistent detail throughout. Blacks are deep and inky, and the dark and shadowy wolf lair shows off some pretty impressive shadow detail. I couldn’t detect any major softness or artifacting, and the animation itself is free of digital anomalies or jaggies to mar the image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=87138[/img]While the video encode is ALMOST perfect, the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that is given to both the Blu-ray and the 4K UltraHD disc is about as good as you can get. The film is surprisingly aggressive and bombastic, blasting the surround channels with a melody of pop songs that hold a great amount of heavy LFE and wild and crazy escape sequences that keep all 8 channels firing at once. Dialog is clean and clear, locked solidly up front in the center channel, and the surrounds get a lot of workout with the more active moments. You can hear the wolf wheels flopping over pavement in the background, or the roar of the jet engines on Tulip’s plain humming in the back, and the front soundstage is constantly active with every sound imaginable. I was REALLY impressed with the LFE here, as it was unrelenting and jam packed in all sorts of scenes. The baby making facility, the roar of jet engines, the smashing and crashing of Hunter’s big construction device, or just a welcome addition to the music. The bass just shows up everyone and doesn’t let up.
• Storks: Guide to Your New Baby
• The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short
• Music Video for Jason Derulo's Hit Song "Kiss the Sky"
• Deleted Scenes
• Commentary by directors
• Deleted Scenes with commentary
“Storks” isn’t Pixar or Disney levels storytelling, but it’s a solidly fun and zany little flick that had me chuckling more times than I expected to. The first 1/3rd of the movie is a bit rough to get through, but once Tulip and Junior are out on the road and encountering the wolves things pick up a good bit. It’s a bit strange watching a director who cut his teeth on raunchy comedies make a family oriented film, but the end result is actually pretty good. The video and audio are the real winners here, though. Both are incredibly top notch, but the extras are a tad thing. Still decent, but on the thin side. Recommended as a decent rental.
Starring: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Doug Sweetland
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1, English Descriptive Service
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Own Storks on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD on December 20 or Own It Now on Digital HD!
Buy Storks On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Storks 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Storks On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Cheap Rental
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