Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Storks' Is Typical in Most Parts; Shocking in One Moment; Averagely Entertaining but Disposable Overall

Everyone knows the idea of storks delivering babies to their parents.  It’s something rooted in folk lore and ancient mythology.  And it’s what parents sometimes tell their children whenever they’re asked, “Where do babies come from?” and they find it uncomfortably awkward to tell the truth.  Well, that’s the concept behind the animated movie Storks.  It’s set in a world wherein anthropomorphic storks (as well as other animals) exist, and used to deliver babies as profession, working for a company called Cornerstone.  But Cornerstone discontinued the baby delivering business and instead redirected its focus on delivering internet retail merchandises, which proves to be a more profitable venture.

The plot revolves around Junior (Andy Samberg), the top delivery stork of Cornerstone, who finds his recent promotion to boss threatened when Tulip (Katie Crown) – who, as an infant, was undelivered, and thus, was taken in by the company and grew up among storks – accidentally turns the long shut-down Baby Factory on, which produces an adorable baby girl.  Before Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), the mean-spirited CEO of Cornerstone, can find out of the mishap, the two have to find a way to deliver the unauthorized infant, who they eventually named “Diamond Destiny”, to her parents.
At most parts, Storks is your typical animated movie for kids.  It has an amusing, easy-to-follow plot (albeit a moderately muddled storytelling) with an effort to bring “the feels.”

The jokes aren’t quite sophisticatedly clever, but there are some nice hits.  My favorite gag involves this wolf pack that is oddly capable of assembling into vehicles and constructs (as if they’re a combination of the Voltron Vehicle Force and Lego).

The animation is pleasantly colorful.  It’s definitely going for a “cuteness” win, with the babies and all.  I guess the babies were fine.  But seeing baby Dory and baby Moana first absolutely ruined for me any cuteness that Storks has to offer.
Again, in most parts, “typical” is the word to describe Storks.  But there’s this one striking thing about it – and not in a good way.  (SPOILERS) Near the end of the movie, in the montage depicting the storks delivering the babies to parents, at least two same-sex couples were among the ones shown receiving new babies.  It was fleeting, but I was still stunned because it was the first time I encountered homosexuality blatantly depicted in a kid-friendly animated movie.  I know that the time will come when even Disney will make movies that openly feature LGBTQ characters.  It’s saddening, but it’s simply the path this world is going to.  However, though I’ve long expected its inevitability in the medium, I was still completely floored by the presence of homosexuality in Storks.

Storks has enough redeeming aspects to be an averagely entertaining watch.  But with this year’s crop of fantastic animated films – which aren’t only better crafted, but also have much more worthwhile themes – it’s a pretty disposable animated movie overall.

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