By Jack Dignan
2016 has honestly been a pretty good year for animated movies, both for younger and older audiences. Throughout all the animated films this year, there's been more than a few standouts, including the more recent Kubo and the Two Strings, which I really, really enjoyed. But let's not forget about the other animated films that came out this year, such as The Secret Life of Pets, Long Way North, The Red Turtle, Finding Dory, Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda 3, and personally I even enjoyed the Angry Birds Movie. Plus, Sausage Party was just a tonne of gross out fun. Amongst all the great animated films, however, there was the latest Ice Age movie, which I didn't see in time to get a review up for, but I definitely did not enjoy it. When looking at this impressive list of animated movies, Storks is more in the range of Ice Age than it is all the others, and that's tremendously disappointing.
In Storks, storks deliver babies to all the families in need of one, but recently, this business has... well... gone out of business, replaced with a delivery service that delivers furniture and appliances. Junior (Andy Samberg) wants nothing more than to be the boss of his company, and this dream of his is about to come true, so long as nothing goes too wrong. Enter Tulip (Katie Crown), a young orphan lost from her family and living in the stork workspace. After mucking up and causing destruction one too many times, Junior sends Tulip to the mail room, where he presumes no mail will actually be sent to. But it's in the mail room where she receives a letter asking for a baby to be delivered, and upon accidentally making a baby (no, not in that way), Junior must help her deliver the baby to its family before his boss finds out and fires him.
What I didn't realise about this film until the credits rolled was that it was written and directed by Nicolas Stoller, the man behind Bad Neighbours, Get Him to the Greek, Yes Man and The Muppets (2011), in which he ranges from writer and director. While I don't necessarily love every one of the films he has made, there's one thing I have noticed about all of them. They all seem to be energetic, fast paced movies that do come across as awfully likeable. They play around with interesting concepts, and not all of them end up being good movies, but I do have things I like about all his films. Storks is no exception.
It's a fast paced, well animated comedy that has an excellent voice cast, even if most of them aren't too recognisable and I didn't even realise they were in the movie until afterwards. But maybe that's a good thing, as it didn't take me out of the moment trying to think of who this actor was. I just presumed it was some b-grade actor, yet to my surprise, it wasn't. And all the cast do do a good job, particularly Andy Samberg who works as the film's lead. Well, everyone except Stephen Kramer Glickman, who didn't necessarily give a bad performance, but the character he portrayed, Pigeon Toady, just annoyed the hell out of me. I was waiting for every moment when this character was not on screen as I hated him with a passion.
As adventurous and well acted as it may be, that doesn't make it a good movie. In fact, it's not. I did not like this film, and I really, really wanted to. It's just not a funny movie, every joke really annoying and over the top. None of the gags worked, and I wasn't interested in spending time with any of these characters. Tulip was mildly interesting I guess, but there wasn't anything about her that I would describe as investing or worthy of being the second lead, and Junior was just too perfect of a hero for me to feel connected to him. They're the two leads, and I couldn't stand either of them.
As a film, it is really disjointed. The plot is all over the place, covering thousands of subplots without any of them flowing well together. They try to do too many things, and while it's very ambitious and I do appreciate some of the things they were trying to do, as a whole it just did not flow. There were so many random and painfully unfunny moments, and I just wasn't sure what the hell I was watching. I was constantly looking over to my friend in a state of severe confusion, not sure as to why the things happening were actually happening. Nothing made sense, nothing was funny and I just was not enjoying the movie I was watching.
To sum up, I just.... I can't. I tried to like this movie. I wanted to like this movie. I really hoped Ice Age was the only bad animated movie from 2016, but clearly it wasn't. This unfunny mess isn't too good, either. There's a short film that plays beforehand though that I loved, so just wait for that to come online and don't waste your time with Storks.