Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Storks

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  At one point I accidentally typed "strokes" and realized that would a been a very different movie.



Storks – 4 out of 5

I don’t know if you know this or not but babies don’t actually come from storks.  I know, I learned about it only two years ago and I’m still shocked by this reality.  Turns out, there’s an entirely different process used to make tiny human beings and it involves a lot of nakedness.  Anyway, Storks is an animated feature from Warner Bros. that plays off the old fairy tale that these birds were once the human life delivering equivalent of UPS drivers.  When I saw the trailer, I thought it looked amusing but was it?  Well, you can see my score so you know I did think it was.

Honestly, having Key and Peele as two wolves automatically made this
an enjoyable movie.  Man, I really miss their show.

This movie even has some penguins...now let's
see them do battle with the ones from
Madagascar!
After realizing that there’s more profit to be made in being a parcel delivery service, CEO of Cornerstore; Hunter (Kelsey Grammer), discontinuous delivering babies.  Years later, a young hotshot delivery boy named Junior (Andy Samberg) is next in line to become boss but first he must fire the orphan Tulip (Katie Crown), a baby who wasn’t able to be delivered and remained at the warehouse.  Unable to complete the task, he puts Tulip to work in the now defunct mail room and disaster quickly takes place after a young boy named Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman) decides to write the storks and ask for a baby brother because his busy realtor parents (voiced by Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell) never have time for him.  Tulip ends up putting the letter in the machine that creates the babies (no nakedness involved) and now she and Junior must get the kid to her new family before Hunter finds out.  However, a brown-nosing pigeon (Stephen Kramer Glickman) is suspicious of the two and is out to discover what they are up to and use whatever he finds to his advantage.

I need to point out that Tulip is an 18 year old person and that stork is taller than
her.  Which begs the question:  HOW GIGANTIC IS THAT STORK?!?

Often when it comes to animated films I find that if they aren’t Pixar they are very rarely in the arena of amazing quality.  That isn’t to say that anything from DreamWorks, Sony or others is automatically a stinker but few animation companies have mastered the art of storytelling the way Pixar has.  Storks isn’t on the same level as the emotion and heart that we’ve seen from the people that gave us Toy Story, Wall-E and Up but this feature is a long way from something as cheap and forgettable as something DreamWorks has farted out in the past.  Sure, it has talking animals but this isn’t one of your “Let’s have animals talk and do people stuff and just stop there” type of animated movie.

Cartoon babies are cute.  Real babies scare me because they embody
responsibility.

One thing that struck me as the film progressed was how truly great the animation was.  When I first sat down to watch it, the backgrounds, characters and character movements all seemed to be pretty basic, run-of-the-mill computer animation that you see often but I soon started to realize that this was far better than the standard.  The background locations all look immensely incredible and detailed and even though the characters all have the signature cartoon look about them, they all had a very realistic approach to their movements—including the way their eyes move (you know, in that way that makes it feel like there's a real brain processing information behind them eyes)—that made they all feel very real.  Once the voice actors were inserted, the characters came to life in a very fun and, from a technical perspective, impressive way.

Seriously, the backgrounds in this movie look awesome!

"Our next step in making our company profitable is
pooping on as many statues and cars as
we can!"
And speaking of the voice actors, this movie really brought in some talent that fit their characters extremely well.  Whether it’s having Kelsey Grammer as the CEO bird Hunter—who has a voice that just screams upper management—or Katie Crown really capturing the quirkiness and intuitive nature of the character Tulip or the small but very fun parts that were filled by Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Danny Trejo.  I think, however, the best part of the cast was Andy Samberg as Junior.  Samberg is already a very talented funnyman as he is excellent at being over-the-top and cartoonish in real life.  This trait really translated well to the animated bird and allowed Samberg to not just be the voice of the bird but feel like he was really being the bird.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an actor so perfectly mesh with the animated character they were playing before this.

And from now on, you can't convince me that Andy Samberg is nota cartoon bird.

Finally, this movie is very funny.  I will admit that it took a little bit for the humor to work for me but once it started going I was rolling on the floor and busting a gut—it was a spectacle and a bit of a mess trying to fix that busted gut.  The humor in the film has a lot of your typical animated go-to’s like a character hurting themselves in ways that would normally seriously injure or kill a real person or animal but there’s also a good dose of meta humor and borderline absurdist comedy thrown in.  My favorite comedic aspect of the film has to be the pigeon character because he’s responsible for a lot of the meta humor but he’s also a fantastic parody of the frat boy “bro” persona with a hilarious voice to match.

"Bro, do you even bird?"

I went into Storks thinking it was probably going to be a mildly amusing animated film that would probably be a movie that I’d watch once and never think of again but was pleasantly surprised with something else.  While the story isn’t full of rich emotion like some other animation companies supply, it works for what it is and it is filled with a great cast, killer animation and it’s darn funny.

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