Warner Brothers’ latest film explores the idea that storks no longer deliver babies. When a workplace accident leaves the flock with one last baby, two employees must find a way to deliver the baby to its new family.
Directed by Nicholas Stoller (also the writer) and Doug Sweetland, the movie features the voices of Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Anton Starkman, and Danny Trejo.
The central idea of this movie is that storks are no longer delivering babies, and we’re given some backstory to explain the reason. Eighteen years ago, one stork went rogue and refused to deliver his baby, damaging the baby’s delivery beacon and losing the intended address in the process. After the tragedy, the storks switched to the package delivery business. They now work for CornerStore.com – an obvious rip-off of Amazon.
Head delivery stork Junior (Samberg) excels at his motto to “always deliver.” To reward him for his hard work, his boss (Grammer) offers him a promotion. There’s just one little caveat though – in exchange for the new job, Junior must fire a troublesome, accident-prone employee.
This employee is Tulip (Crown), the only human working at CornerStore. She was the baby who did not get delivered to her family. Instead, she was raised by the storks and now works as a CornerStore employee. Tulip is . . . too much. She is energetic, bubbly, talkative, loud, and chaotic, which annoys not only her coworkers, but (I would dare to guess) also a large part of the adult viewing audience as well. Though she is incredibly smart and always means well, most of her antics lead to disaster.
When Junior goes to fire Tulip, he finds that he doesn’t have the heart to do it. He instead “promotes” her to the job of head letter sorter and requires her to stay out of sight in the mail room. This room is where all the requests for babies used to be sent, but now they rarely receive any letters of any kind. Tulip is unaware of this and thrilled with her new job.
Meanwhile, a young boy named Nate Gardner (Starkman) wants somebody to play with him. His parents (Aniston and Burrell) are too busy with their real estate careers. While playing alone, he finds an old ad from the storks’ baby-delivering days. He thinks he has found the solution to his problems and forges a letter from his parents asking for a baby boy with ninja skills. Excited to finally get a playmate, he mails the letter to the storks where it eventually finds its way to Tulip.
Before Junior can stop her, Tulip accidentally files the letter incorrectly, causing the old, unused baby machine to activate. Junior hurts his wing while trying to stop the machine, but he isn’t quick enough. A pink-haired, blue-eyed baby is produced. Knowing he will lose his promotion if anyone finds out, Junior insists that he and Tulip deliver the baby in secret.
Their following adventure is a difficult one. They argue constantly and blame each other for everything that goes wrong. Along the way, they meet a pack of wolves as well as the outcast stork who had originally been assigned to deliver Tulip (Trejo). Back at their CornerStore division, a character named Pigeon Toady (Glickman) finds baby powder and suspects something is wrong. He starts an investigation, putting Junior’s career plans in danger.
I think your enjoyment of this film will depend on your age. Young kids should be entertained, but I think many older viewers will be a little bit bored.
Typically, I am a big fan of family movies and have no problem watching one by myself. Storks just wasn’t one of the best. The movie moves slowly, and the plot takes a while to develop. The cast is fantastic, but there are too many characters having to share screen time. Kelsey Grammer, in particular, was underused I thought. By focusing on so many characters, the film has little time for character development and must slow the plot down to include them all.
Personally, I found many of the elements meant to be cute and funny rather annoying. Tulip had too much personality, and Pigeon Toady was tiresome. I also found the constant arguing between Junior and Tulip to be frustrating. I was hoping for a funny family movie, but the arguing was too constant and realistic (yes, I know it’s a film about cartoon storks).
One of the film’s highlights is remarkably also one of its weaknesses. The wolf pack, led by Alpha (Key) and Beta (Peele), provide a lot of the movie’s humor; however, they provide little else. Though their fawning over the baby is funny, in no way do they influence the plot of the movie or the journey to deliver the baby. It feels like they are randomly added to different scenes with little explanation as to how or why they got there.
Most of the movie’s humor was seen in the previews; however, there is one particularly funny scene that wasn’t included in the trailers. This is a fight scene where Junior and Tulip must face a group of evil penguins. The fight is done as quietly as possible, since neither group wants to wake up the sleeping baby. The silent screams of pain and the quiet punches are rather funny.
A final thought I had on the film has to do with the logic (yep – cartoon storks movie – I still remember). When Tim Allen starred in The Santa Clause back in 1994, people were quick to point out a major plot hole. If adults no longer believe in Santa, then where do they think all of the gifts are coming from? Storks shares a similarly faulty logic. If no one is writing letters to the storks anymore, than where are all the babies coming from? Tulip (who we are told just turned 18) was supposed to be the last. Is the film suggesting that no one under the age of 18 exists? If so – why do we have Nate in the story? The answer is likely obvious to most older viewers, but it isn’t addressed anywhere in the film. What we do see is an old machine full of unanswered letters.
Audio and Visuals
The movie prominently features the song “Kiss the Sky” by Jason Derulo, which plays over a short montage about a third of the way through the film. A music video for the song is included in the special features.
Visually, the Blu-ray quality looks excellent. Normally, I don’t think Blu-ray is worth the price for animated movies, but this one is an exception. The Blu-ray version enhances the colors in each scene, making them bolder and more visually aesthetic than in the regular DVD edition.
- Commentary – Directors Doug Sweetland and Nicholas Stoller, as well as John Venzon and Matt Flynn, offer insights about the making of the movie in this audio commentary track.
- Storks: Guide to Your New Baby – Pigeon Toady, with the help of Junior, Tulip, and the wolves, informs viewers how to care for their new baby in this two-minute instruction short; however, if you actually have a new baby, it’s probably best not to take Pigeon Toady’s advice . . .
- The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short – This five-minute short story is meant to promote the new Ninjago movie scheduled for release next year. The plot features Sensei Wu (Jackie Chan), here listed as Master Wu, chasing a havoc-wreaking chicken through a monastery.
- Music Video for Jason Derulo’s Hit Song “Kiss the Sky” – Short clips of the movie are edited together in this video for Derulo’s new pop hit. Be warned – this song will likely get stuck in your head.
- Deleted Scenes – These seven unfinished scenes come with an optional commentary track. Most of them offer little more than backstory that was already explained through dialogue in the movie. I’m disappointed that my favorite scene in the entire movie was deleted – a scene in which Kelsey Grammer’s character operates some machinery and says, “I’m a crane!” in reference to his famous role of Frazier Crane. Funniest line in the whole movie.
- Outtakes – Characters get their lines wrong in this scripted sequence.
Storks is a decent family film, but probably not the best one you will ever see. It has the occasional cute and funny moment, but ultimately fails to “deliver” much more.