Storks have been associated with babies for centuries, from Classical mythology to Hans Christian Andersen. You’d think all the variations of this trope would have been done. Well, what about if the birds didn’t deliver babies?
Storks tells the story of a more modern day delivery service, with the birds delivering packages akin to Amazon rather than their traditional role. The film follows Junior (Andy Samberg), the stork set to become the next Boss, and the orphan Tulip (Katie Crown), who was the last baby to be made by the company because the stork that was supposed to deliver her went mad and tried to keep her, as they try to deliver the first baby ‘created’ by the storks in 18 years. This baby was requested by Nate Gardener (Anton Starkman), a lonely little boy thoroughly neglected by his parents.
I thought the film was initially a bit slow – there was a lot of exposition setting up the backstory, which really could have been done in montage form like the opening sequence of the film. However, once the plot picks up it is a truly heartwarming film about friendship, family, and finding the place you belong. Though it may seem odd to have a stork and a teenager at the centre of the movie, the growth of their relationship really is at the heart of it: though they don’t realise at the beginning, they are both outsiders within a very niche community, and over the course of the film they find their family through each other.
One of the other key points for me was the way that the Gardener family was portrayed. Nate is essentially a very lonely child as his parents prioritise their job over him. So, he takes it upon himself to ‘order’ a baby brother (which turns out to be a sister, but he loves her anyway because of her ‘ninja skills’). As the film progresses the parents finally begin to play with their child, and the transformation of their family unit is part of the film’s heart: they go from looking like professional business people to an actual family that have fun together. I believe this message will hit home with the parents who have taken their children to see this film, and I hope it encourages them to take some time out and realise how precious their children are.
Oddly enough, I think the place where this film falls down is the comedy. It was mostly slap-stick and physical comedy, which is funny at first, but the repetitive nature of all the gags (physical and verbal) meant they got stale very quickly. Even the children in the cinema stopped laughing after a few runs. However, the film also excelled in poking fun at itself as it realises the absurdity of storks ‘creating’ human babies, but the one who stole the show was Nate: his wry commentary really makes the film, and appealed to the children as well as the adults.
All in all, Storks is a very good film. I think it is a really interesting premise, and is a successful film despite some of the jokes falling flat. All the characters were well fleshed out and very different, with clear motivations and growth (which sometimes doesn’t happen in kids’ movies). What I particularly enjoyed was the montage of parents receiving their babies: there were single parents, and couples of all races and sexualities, which is a lovely touch that sends such a powerful message to the people watching the film, especially to the children. The message is explicit – that family comes in all sorts of different places, and the importance of spending time with those you love.