A little later than our friends in the US, we finally get the latest Warner Bros Animated feature Storks; does it deliver? Lee finds out.
Throwing everything and the kitchen sink into a project gets a bad rap; realistically, so long as there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the majority of what you’re putting in and you don’t mind your work being a little bit of a mess, it’s still better than having too little ideas.
Storks wants to be a little bit of everything: a movie for kids, a movie for adults, a movie about parenting, a movie about family, about adventure and business and adversity and action movies and satire and loneliness and seeing the good in what you get and absent mindedness and dream fulfilment and not wishing too hard and distraction and wolves, I suppose, and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. There’s a lot in Storks, and because of that, a lot of the themes aren’t satisfyingly wrapped up or given a clear and distinctive answer we can follow up on. Which, for the most part, is fine.
Fine because, even if Junior and Tulip don’t get the truly satisfying arcs they deserve, isn’t there something more interesting in the fact no one ends up exactly where we think they should? And weren’t there enough lessons learnt during the arcs that we don’t really need an ending anyway, so long as the character’s we started with change just enough to make the adventure worthwhile, not enough that we lose sight of who they were before? There’s something admirable in Storks somewhat unpredictable feel, something that also ties in to its fast-paced, quick wit humour, which is by far its greatest selling point.
Jokes are played off like they’re no big deal, satire and concepts are just introduced then discarded as if they are nothing where other films would take the time to focus on these ideas alone and make something of them; clearly we have a team of creatives who just can’t help themselves, and that makes for a fun ride no matter what the story. The upside: jokes that don’t keep giving, like the wolves, are discarded quickly. Downside: we don’t get enough of what you want when you do find something you like. It’s a fine balance, but there’s also re-watch value in catching all the little jokes you missed first time around, so that might tip the scales a little.
Characters are fun and varied, our leads are more-or-less likeable, clichés breeze past the narrative with nary a second glance, the world is well-explored and vibrant, the satire funny and not too weighty and ultimately the intentions are good; all of which should be enough to distract when we lose direction during the second-to-third act, the drama ramps up unnecessarily, narrative convenience borders on laziness at times, we get a segment of “Liar Revealed” which feels utterly pointless and we get tired of Pigeon Toady who is not nearly as funny as he should be.
Tastes will vary, as they oft do, but kids are sure to have a great time and adults are likely to find something to enjoy just as much. Plus with good messages among the noise for all involved, it’s at least worth the paltry hour and twenty minutes (roughly) it’ll cost you.
Also: We really need more films with evil penguins. Was like a Gary Larson cartoon brought to life, incredible.