Running time 1hr 27mins
JUST when you thought they couldn’t possibly find another scenario ripe for the CGI animation treatment, along comes Storks. Not only is the premise one you can’t quite believe they didn’t get round to tackling sooner, but the feathered subjects of this entertaining movie also prove themselves ideal for the anthropomorphisation treatment.
The idea? Storks, historically known for delivering babies, have been retired from their previous responsibilities and shifted over to delivering parcels instead. It’s far more profitable for the capitalist fat cats, after all – represented by company boss Hunter (Kelsey Grammar).These avian ‘drones’ are worked hard – there are targets to hit after all – so when human stork-adoptee Tulip (Katie Crown) isn’t deemed fit enough to continue in employment there, she’s fired – only her co-worker Junior (Andy Samberg) can’t quite bring himself to break the news. Instead, he banishes her to a disused part of the warehouse, where he puts her in charge of letters. But since nobody writes letters any more, she finds herself bored out of her brain, with explicit instructions never to leave the room she’s in.
However, when a letter arrives, Tulip springs into action. In her haste and excitement, she inadvertently operates the long since defunct baby-making machine, which is operated by written pleas for babies from humans. To her surprise, she winds up making a baby. Taking it upon herself to deliver the child to its rightful parents, she sets off with Junior. But when power and money-hungry bigwig Hunter gets wind of what’s happened, he mounts a mission to track them down and intercept the drop.
Thoughtfully written, with smart dialogue and characterisation as well as charming animation and genuine laughs, Storks also has some exceptional voice performances that layer on the humour, making it a delight for adults as much as children. The pigeon – called Pigeon Toady (Stephen Kramer Glickman) – in particular is relentlessly and unexpectedly funny.The rest of the talented voice cast includes names as diverse as Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell and Danny Trejo but it’s a credit to them all, as well as the animators and directing duo Doug Sweetland and Nicholas Stoller (who has also penned the screenplay), that we don’t care who’s supplying the voices and aren’t even compelled to find out.
Coming out a week or so ahead of another animated release, Dreamworks’ Trolls, it has found itself in the shadow of the animation giant’s aggressive marketing campaign. But don’t let the PR machine distract you from dropping in to see Storks – it’s a veritable bundle of joy.