Hello, Spongey here.
Time for more animation! Yeah, I ended up skipping out on Blair Witch last week. Figured ‘I’d save money, plus apparently that one wasn’t’ too good, despite them pulling a 10 Cloverfield Lane on it. I’ll see it on DVD and hopefully I’ll like it.
But for now, this! Warner Bros has had a spotty history in terms of animated films. Aside from a good one here and they, they seemed to more concerned with ripping off Disney than playing to their strengths.
Quest for Camelot. That’s all I have to say.
But recently it seems like they’re trying a bit harder, as in 2014 they had The Lego Movie, which could have been cheap cash grab, bit it turned it to be a hilarious, smart, and even rather sweet cash grab.
After that, I was interested to see what Warner Animation Group would do. We’ll get The Lego Batman Movie next year (which I hope will be awesome) but in the meantime, there’s this. For some reason, a bunch of people are scoffing at it, but I was interested from the first trailer.
From the premise, and the trailers, this looked like a fun comedy, especially with the animation. Speaking of which, for this they outsourced the animation to Sony Pictures Imageworks, which is why this looked a bit like a Sony movie, in a good way.
Another reason I was excited was the crew. The sole writer is also one of the directors, the guy who brought us Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Neighbors 1 & 2, and was a writer on the recent Muppets films, most of which I like. (Haven’t seen Neighbors 1 or 2 yet, although they look good).
The other director has done work at Pixar, directing the short Presto, which I like.
But most of all, I just want a good animated comedy. Oh sure there’s been good animated features that have been funny, but they sell themselves on the story or other elements. Angry Birds, Secret Life of Pets and Sausage Party, and the like disappointed me in one or another, usually by just having problems that get in the way of being funnier.
So from the looks of like, this can be the solid animated comedy I’m looking for. And the reviews so far aren’t too bad, so hopefully I’ll like this. Although it now has a 60, which means they’re kind of ‘Eh” on it.
But after they considered Secret Life of Pets to be Certified Fresh, I’m not trusting them on animated comedies.
Will Warner continue their success and delivery a good time, or will this be another disappointment? Let’s find out.
This, is Storks
(But first, there was a Lego Ninjago short before the film. I personally enjoyed it for the the 4th wall humor, and it gets more excited for future Lego films. So I think you should be sure to catch it)
I said that the animation is done by Sony, and one look at the film very much proves that. And in the final product, it works out pretty well.
Admittedly, the overall look isn’t anything new compared to everything else out there. The humans look pretty regular, but are varied enough to be fine. The background are well done, but nothing that stands out amazingly well.
No, it’s the character animation itself that stands out, especially on the animals. This is some of the fastest CGI animation I’ve seen since Hotel Transylvania, and it’s glorious. This especially shows in the facial expressions.
They are good all throughout the film, but there’s certain moments where they clearly tons of fun creating these hilarious expressions, like the bit where Junior keeps bumping into glass. Like with some of the sony movies, the fast animation can bring out more laughs than anything else, which is not a bad thing.
Plus, it still looks good for a feature. Sure, they don’t break new ground the animation is cartoon-y, but the designs are still appealing, and it’s nice looking enough. There really isn’t much more to say on the animation the front.
Design wise, it’s fairly regular, but the execution is what makes it works, by looking good enough, and having some great character animation that is fast paced with very good expressions.
Perhaps it doesn’t look like anything new, but the execution of the character animation makes up for it, at least to me.
Storks used to delivery babies, but after an incident, they not deliver packages for CornerStore.com. One stork is going to become the new boss of the company, when a run in with a incident accidentally creates a new baby, and new he and a worker they were planning on kicking out must get the baby to a family before the current boss finds out.
Like with Angry Birds and Secret Life of Pets, this is a comedy first and foremost. Which means I’ll do an Enjoyment section again. But it also means the story could likely fall by the wayside like those films, meaning the film is hard to review objectivity.
I’ll go into how as it is a viewing experience in the next section, as I can focus on how the writing it on it’s own. When you look at it, it has tons of generic elements, as well as elements directly from certain films.
We got someone who wants to be the boss, only for someone to jeopardize it. We have a mis matched pair going on an adventure where they have to learn to tolerate each other. The backdrop involves modernizing a classic story, like in Arthur Christmas, the and mismatched characters must deal with a baby, like in Ice Age.
Oh, and the main character lies to the other and it’s revealed near the end of act 2. Yeah, this is looking incredibly generic and trite right now. But yet…somehow…i still like the movie. And the writing doesn’t really both me that much .
I have no idea what it is because they don’t anything that new with it, and or anything like that. I can’t explain why some sloppy parts are better than in anything else I’ve bitched about.
Aside from the comedy, there are some reasons. One is the concept. It’s interesting to see how the current Stork world works, and this is a fun setting.
Although since this is about making babies, adults will have some…questions, to say the least. Like…how is there a machine that can just create babie? They can just create life with no problems!
…But this is a cartoon, so you’re not supposed to think about it too hard. And they do fit in an extra theme, which is family.
Tulip wasn’t able to get to her family, Junior has to accept the idea of one, and a subplot has a kid wanting a baby brother and wanting to bond with his parents. Who are workaholics. See what I mean?
That theme gives the film some heart, and some bits are quite d’aww worthy. Although that does bring me to the biggest flaw in the writing, which like everything else, I’m not sure why I excuse.
The film is pretty faced and focused on Comedy which does mean some parts can be rushed, and they don’t dwell on some more serious bits as much as some may want. They do allow the sweet moments to happen, and the jokes don’t ruin anything like in some things I’ve reviewed.
Some bits are rushed for the sake of some lampshade humor, while some are just kind of rushed. The other storks decide to go back to Babies in the end (Spoilers for a movie you can predict every beat of) because….the plot says so.
I can easily see this being a bad thing for some, and it is kind of an issue. Yet again, it doesn’t bother me a ton. Mostly because the fast pace leads to comedy which I’ll get into in the next section.
That and the stuff they want to focus on is given the time it needs, and the ending is complete. Unlike some films, the most important parts they give the most time to, are completed, like Junior and Tulip’s bond and her quest to find her family.
That bit is interesting, as most films just go “eh, the people you grew up with are really your family” and she wouldn’t bother seeing her real parents. But spoilers, she does go to her parents in a happy ending.
I think this works since she is still buddy with Junior and works at Cornerstone along with being her family. It’s a nice balance.
Overall, the writing is kind of weak but somehow I don’t mind it. It’s predictable with tons of generic elements, but as a whole it just kind of works. The heart pulls through, and the films feels genuine instead of cynical.
Plus, even at it’s most flawed, it’s never too awful. At worst, it’s just a bit messy and weak, nothing offensive. And it’s best, the writing has an interesting theme and makes up for it’s flaws with charm.
Oh, I should say how the subplot with the kid works. I think it works since they don’t dwell too much on the main cliché and it gives us some nice moments, as well as serving as a good break from the crazier main story.
Oh, and during the baby delivering montage, we see a couple gay couples. Cool.
So yeah, I find myself going easy on the writing despite the problems that exist. Maybe it’s only due to the comedy, maybe it’s how well intentioned it is, but something just works where others fail.
Either way, the writing is the weakest aspect, but something about makes me tolerate it.
Now here’s the big thing that makes the film work for me. This film focuses on Comedy, which is subjective. For me, it really works. The film is really entertaining to watch and frequently funny. I mean, I actually laughed out loud quite a bit, more than I expected
It’s no comedic masterpiece of anything, but the comedy has a charm to it. It’s very quick with a lot variety, including cutaways that actually work. When I say, quick I mean quick. The fast pace problem I mentioned at least leads to good jokes.
The main source of humor is the banter between Junior and Tulip, which works out because how fast the comedy with them is. Although I will say that because Comedy is subjective, it won’t work everyone.
For some, it may be trying too hard, as some drawn out bits could become annoying for some. And the quickness can be annoying general for some people, I can just tell. But it just worked for me.
Usually I am annoyed by some of the stuff they do here, but a lot of made me laugh. I was entertained from start to finish, and never got bored even with all the problems. The whole was just very enjoyable to me.
I’m a big fan of very quick cartoon-y humor when done right, and this movie has a lot of this. Although the enjoyment can go down when a joke fails or some writing bits confuse me. There’s a BLAM in this that I won’t spoil, but it comes from a pigeon and is just…weird.
But despite minor things, I got plenty of enjoyment from the Comedy here.
Like the writing, the characters have generic ideas, but somehow work for me, although here I think I know why. Starting with Junior, voiced by Andy Samberg, he’s the main character that serves as the neurotic straight man of the team. Get ready to read this a lot, but he’s typical but likable.
He works mostly comedy wise since he has funny reactions to Tulip and it’s fun to watch them play off each other. His development doesn’t lead to a lot, besides him just liking Tulip more but in context, it works okay and is at least complete. This is all helped by Andy Samberg’s performance. He can work as straight man with a crazy edge, and it’s own well here.
As for Tulip, voiced by Katie Crown, she’s can be seen as the best main character as her main goal is realatable and her silly nature makes her very funny. She’s not as annoying as a character like this can be, as she’s not a huge screw up and they focus on the good aspects of her, mostly.
Again, the acting helps. The voice acting is another strong point, as they help make the characters more likable than the writing might. These two make for a fun team, even if their dynamic is typical.
As for the Human side of things, we have Nate and his parents, voiced by Turell and Jennifer Anniston. They oddly work better story wise than character wise, as they aren’t that interesting but they serve the story well for reasons I mentioned.
Plus, the kid is likable enough especially when he bonds with his parents, making for some cute bits.
Then we have the villain, Hunter, voiced by Kelesy Grammer. He gives good humor, mostly due to the solid performance from Kelesy Grammer, but he’s a villain in a big animated feature, so he’s just….the villain. Once he becomes the villain, he’s a bit dull, being evil for the sake of it.
He’s serviceable I guess, but that’s it. More memorable, but weirder, is the secondary villain, Pigeon Toady, voiced by Stephen Kramer Glickman aka Guastavo from Big Time Rush. Better than the last time we saw him on this blog, but he’s odd.
See, he talks like a surfer dude guy, saying brah a lot. I can see where that could have been funny, but it’s just kind of annoying. Thankfully, they ditch him once he tells Hunter what is gong on. This makes him point but at least he’s not in it too much.
Then we have my favorite characters, these wolves voiced by Key and Peele. Sure, they only serve as an obstacle, but they stand out because they are hilarious, from the way they talk to each other, to how they go nuts for the baby, to how they all transform into things.
Yes. We wish had more obstacle characters besides them and these penguins but man do they still stand out as the highlight of the cast. There’s another character voiced by Danny Trejo, but I can’t quite go into him without spoilng stuff. I’ll just say he works.
Overall, the characters have typical ideas behind them, but the comedy and voice work helps make then mostly likable.
I should dislike this film because it has a lot of generic-ness in the writing, and can be too fast for it’s own good. But yet…Storks worked! The writing has interesting themes with good heart, the character animation is very strong, some of the characters are likable, but mos of all, it is FUNNY.
Above all else, the movie is just a lot of fun. The comedy and fast pace help make it enjoyable despite the problems it has. You can just tell, they had fun making this and just wanted to give us a fun time with nice bits of heart here and there.
Can I explain what makes certain parts work better than in other films? Not really. But when something entertains, you learn not to question certain things. This proves Warner can just a fun time, regardless of how the writing is.
I’d recommend to fans of cartoon-y humor and those looking for a good, that aren’t too picky. So if you managed to like Secret Life of Pets or Hotel Transylvania despite some average writing, you will likely enjoy this.
If you find yourself easily annoyed by certain fast humor, or can be easily distracted by weak writing, than you can avoid thiis. Can be a fun rental for you but that’s it. For everyone else though, this is a amusing family film.
It’s got problems to be sure, but damn it, I had fun inspite of myself. Amd sometimes, you just wanna laugh.
Writing: B- (Am I being too nice here? Maybe but I don’t care)
Enjoyment: B (a high B, mind you)
Well, I got my good animated comedy after all, dreams do come true! But seriously, why are critics kinder to Secret Life of Pets than this? The ones I follow (Chris Stuckman, Schmoes Know, Mr Coat etc) rightfully like this more but the ones on RT were able to look past Pets’ flaws to enjoy it, so why not the same with this?
Whatever. We have to wait til November for more animation, as Dreamworks trolls us
(Speaking of animation, i can’t wait for Sing….SO I CAN STOP SEEING THAT TRAILER AT EVERY MOVIE I SEE!)
. As for the next general, hopefully next week we’ll look at Tim Burton’s X-men, I mean,…yeah, that’s what it. Looks good though.