Revving Up To A Better Story

Cars 3

 

“I am Speed!” A quote that will live on forever in the minds of the 2000 generation, movie quote boards, and the status of Disney fans.  For those not remembering the quote, or not realizing what this review is about, it is Lightning McQueen’s catchphrase in the famous Cars series.  Pixar’s work about living Cars took the world by storm long ago, but a flat tire left it stranded behind its cousins.  After a detour with the second installment, Cars 3 attempts to change tires and redeem itself on the winner circle.  And it’s my job to commentate and analyze the movie.  Let’s rev up and take off with another Robbie movie review.

 

LIKES:

Animation:  Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Pixar continues to prove they rock at making things move.  Cars 3 is beautifully detailed, stylish, slick, and fluid on all levels from the skidding tires to simply drinking oil at a local garage bar.  Unlike its sequels, the movie really focuses on the fast-paced world of racing, and brings the full effects of Disney animation to life. All the excitement is captivating and exciting, perfect for many audience members of all ages. And with all the new characters plenty of room for merchandising.

 

Soundtrack: Most Disney fans often won’t pay attention unless it is a flashy, over the top musical number famous from the renaissance of the 90s (and Frozen).  Well although not the famous show stopping sequences, Cars 3 has a nice collaboration of song covers to classic songs that is sure to bring up some nostalgia.  While not as good as the originals for me, I enjoyed most of the twists in this movie and felt they were appropriately placed in the film.  Certainly, not the most unique soundtrack, but strong nonetheless.

 

Comedy:  Good news, Cars 3 is still funny, but even more importantly it doesn’t rely on comedy as the only gimmick.  Rather than relying on Mater’s childlike innocence and stupidity, Cars 3 was able to bring some wit to the table and with it some dynamic comedy.  Mater still has some quips to throw into the film, but the rest of the gang has some well-timed jabs that touch on a variety of topics and styles, which again, will hit most members of the audience.

Story: The team must have taken a step back and analyzed the blue prints of their tale.  Cars 3 story is miles above Car2, dropping into the character development and life lessons made famous in the first film.  It is jam packed full of emotion, with gripping tales all coming together into a very compact package. With exciting races built into the story, the movie keeps a nice pace and remains fun to watch while also being educational.  No convoluted tales of quirky action or stretches here folks, it’s just classic country lifestyle.

 

DISLIKES:

Depressing: This really doesn’t reveal anything, but much of this movie is quite depressing.  While there is certainly a broad range of emotions “racing” through this film, I can say a good chunk is spent in the downer zone. While the kids will have a few moments that might upset them, adults are going to really take the blunt of the depression in this movie.  The trailers have already hinted at the message, but they didn’t prepare me for the intensity this movie has at times.  Fortunately, they relieve that melancholy with fun moments, but somehow Pixar keeps that sullen moment in your mind.

 

Old jokes: I told you they did a nice job balancing jokes, but I didn’t say perfect, did I?  Cars 3 gets a little obsessive with one joke category and starts to rely on it a little too much.  These jokes at times is the perfect icing on the cake, but often it goes with that depressing component I told you about.  I found the fun starting to leave and the sadness starting to set on… way to go Pixar, depressing comedy.  Still, your kids will laugh and might pick up a few annoying phrases to throw at you in the process.

 

Characters dropped:  Like many Disney films, the studios find a way to dump on the old to bring in the new. While certainly not the worst example of dropping characters, Cars 3 reduced many of your favorite character to background characters delivering somewhere between 1-5 lines.  So those heavy on Mater, Sally, and the rest of the gang need to lower your expectations, and prepare to fall in love with the new guys on hand.  This disproportion of characters is certainly sad to see, and while I do enjoy many of the new characters, you can’t help but long to have the old and new world blend a little more together.

The VERDICT:

Cars 3 was certainly rebuilt from the wreckage of the last movie.  The animation remains stunning, brought to full throttle with the exciting races thrown into the mix.  Pixar makes the tale funny and with a much deeper, enriching story than number 2.  Unfortunately for the audience above the age of 15, a somber mood hangs over much of this movie and it lacks a good balance of integrating old with the new.   There are some other components I could comment on, but I’m out of room so you’ll have to see for yourself.  Nevertheless, Cars 3 is definitely worth a trip to the theater folks, and probably the leading blockbuster of this weekend’s new releases. 

 

My scores:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Training Pants Off, Underpants On…For Kid Focused Comedy

underpants

 

Superheroes seem to be the theme of this weekend at the movie theater.  For those not interested in the Amazon princess’ tale another caped crusader awaits in the hallowed halls of the silver screen.  No, it isn’t Batman, but instead a more childish hero to fight ridiculous antagonists.  And tonight, my review is on the waistband warrior himself… Captain Underpants and his first feature film.  Based on the hit children’s comic book/novel series, the latest kid’s movie is here to try and bring the laughs contained in its pages.  Did it succeed?  Robbie K here to help answer that question, so let’s get started, shall we?

 

LIKES:

 

  1. Cute Factor: We all know kid movies can vary like the flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream. Captain Underpants is along the cute variety, filled with that fun, G rated goodness reminiscent of the Peanuts Movie. The trailers are accurate in stating there is a great moral lesson about friendship, one that just may touch your heart and call up your best friend.  If the sappy parts don’t make you say awwwwww, the sound of your child laughing certainly will.

 

  1. Nostalgia: If you read the books, or co read with your young one, then good news, the movie captures the spirit of the series. Watching Harold and George trying to control their gallivanting hero is sure to bring a flood of memories back at the adventures in the book.  In addition, you’ll find ridiculous villains, potty based humor, and even Flip-o-rama all integrated in the short run time of the movie. Ahh, the power of reliving your childhood is a strong thing indeed.

 

  1. Voice Acting: No academy award worthy performances in this movie, but the voice acting fits well with the ludicrous tone of this movie. Kevin Hart’s high pitched voice fits so well with the character of George, primarily the obnoxious laughter I pictured the character having. Thomas Middleditch helped compliment his co-actor in his wispy voice. Ed Helms was a toss-up for me.  I didn’t find his portrayal of Mr. Krupp the same tone as my imagination, but he certainly nailed the boisterous, whimsical tone of the superhero nimrod. And finally Nick Kroll certainly has the over exaggerated accent down pat, and made for an entertaining antagonist at times.

 

  1. The Art Style: DreamWorks animation nailed the media for this movie for me. Bright colors, dazzling lights, and a trippy spin were exactly what I expected for the Captain Underpants universe.  This film “flips” between animated panels of a child’s drawing to the 3-D cartoon CGI image and it works to capture that kid friendly energy and nostalgic blast to the past. And as there aren’t too many kid’s movies using this style yet, so the uniqueness is always appreciated.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  1. Very Kiddy: The trailers warned us about this, and even the comic books did as well, but Captain Underpants lacks the adult factor many cartoons hold. Much of this movie is simplistic potty humor, incessant laughing, and mindless bantering that may hold little humor to those above the age of 12. And to be honest, much of the movie loses its comedic spin within the first third of the movie. A little more wit could have gone a long way to save this movie from getting stale.

 

  1. No solid story: Masterpieces from Pixar and Walt Disney studios have a blend of humor, character development, and story. In Captain Underpants… that is sadly not the case.  The spirit of adventure is missing in this film, diluting the suspense aspect of the film to stuff more bathroom humor in the mix. And without a solid story to base the humor upon, it feels kind of like a failed stand-up comedy routine than a theater worthy film.

 

  1. Lacking Emotional Kick: While the movie does portray the power of friendship well, it still lacks that the emotional slam dunk that others have perfected. Captain Underpants doesn’t have much tug to the heartstrings and while you can laugh with the two of them, you can’t really connect to the characters at hand. Without that investment, it makes it that more difficult to invest in the movie. Therefore, I was bored for much of the movie, jealous that the younger audience could relate to the fart humor more than I could.

 

  1. Over exaggerated Voice Acting: Yes, we know the characters are all supposed to be overdramatic spoofs meant to tickle the funny bone.  Doesn’t mean they had to go over the top on the voices ALL THE TIME. Much of the voice work eventually drops into the annoying zone and for some characters very quickly (how many Tra-La-Las did we really need to hear?). Without the clever writing to back it up, not even this star-studded cast can save the eye rolling, or teeth grinding moments contained in this film.

 

The VERDICT

 

Captain Underpants is a different spin on the superhero genre, and one that is very welcoming to the younger generations.  With a very focused comedy towards its demographic, parents aren’t going to find much gold to this movie outside the art style and the melody of children laughing. Despite the nostalgic run it brought, there is not much to this film to make it theater worthy (unless you need a 90-minute tranquilizer for your kids). Therefore, I recommend this one be saved for Netflix or Redbox instead of the theater.

 

Animation/Action/Comedy:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

La, La, La, La, La, La: Singe A Family Friendly Animation Song

Smurfs

 

La La La La La La, sing a happy song!  It’s an intro will never forget for not only its ability to get stuck in my head, but also for the show it represents.  The Smurfs’ legacy has extended over the decades into a plethora of forms primarily in the TV shows and movies of the 80s. After a six-year hiatus from the live action movies, the blue creatures return to the silver screen to try to regain footing.  Will the new style work, or does it fall much like the character Clumsy Smurf? Robbie K here with a review on the Smurfs: The Lost Village. Let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • Animation style works
  • Feels like a Smurfs Adventure
  • Surprisingly emotions
  • Soundtrack

 

Summary: When I saw the trailers for this film, I had my doubts after seeing the definition the live action movies did.  Fortunately, the animation works and feels more Smurf like than the previous movies. Our cast of blue minis has fluid movement and style that is representative of the classic series, as the colorful world and all its creatures pop in the same happy, righteous style they capture all those years ago.  However, the animation is not the only thing that represents the classic style.  The adventure of Lost Village is representative of the classic Smurfs cartoon, filled with epic silliness and kid friendly action for all to enjoy.  Much of the audience targeted by this film, will enjoy all the quirky jokes and simplistic scenes, sure to feel their hearts fill with joy at all the happiness packed in this movie.  This movie isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though, as the film has a little more emotional punch than I expected, with a few sequences well-crafted to derail the ecstasy this movie elates.  And if all that isn’t enough to convince you the movie is fun, then the soundtrack will certainly bring this point home.  You will certainly find the musical numbers full of energy and may find yourself dancing in your seat…like me. Not the most unique, but the tracks picked for this film are quite perfect for the scene and would be one CD to pick up.

 

DISLIKES

  • Rushed at times
  • Lost Potential
  • Anticlimactic Ending
  • Gargamel not as funny

 

Summary:  Smurfs adventures have never been long, but when in cartoon series form you had plenty of episodes to tell a complete story. Not the case for this film.  Sure, they wrap up a lot of the ties, but many times the film seems rushed, leaving things underdeveloped in an attempt to cram everything into the short run timeWhile I give the editing props, I also sigh at the lost potential of this movie.  Lost Village does a nice job showing off the Forbidden Forest and giving us some unique flora and fauna to the world.  Yet, the trek could have had a few more obstacles for the heroes to challenge before getting to their goal.  Not that big a deal, okay how about the fact that some of your favorite Smurfs have been tossed to the secondary bin including Papa Smurf the legendary leader.  If that still isn’t enough, then how about the fact the new tribes of Smurf girls are very underdeveloped.  After a cool introduction and sweet styled montage, the girl Smurfs are almost as useless as Gargamel’s jokes.  No cool moves, no special magic, and almost very little importance to the plot, the girl Smurfs tribe really could have been taken further to make it worth all the casting they did for voices and the money they spent. And because of their minor involvement, and a predictable story line, the exciting climax at the end… was so climactic as it was an animated light show.  Had I not had to struggle through the forced comedy of Gargamel, that often devolved into mindless, one directional banter, that few above the age of seven will enjoy.  Really missed Hank Azaria’s delivery and writing on this one.

 

The Verdict:

 

The Smurfs Lost Village is a nice reintroduction of the gang back into the modern world with the feel, design, and energy the show always had. However, the lost potential, rushed development, and anticlimactic moments certainly took away from all the potential the movie could have brought.  Perhaps instead of a movie, the Smurfs should have been picked up by Netflix and the show restarted for the new generation of streamers.  Needless to say, this movie isn’t so much theater worthy (outside of music and animation) and would recommend waiting for this one to hit home.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

This Film Is A Boss At Being Creative and Adorable

Boss Baby

 

He’s cute! He has got a big head! And he is in theaters this weekend.  He is the Boss Baby and his movie is the focus of this review.  Hi fans, Robbie K is back again with another review, and this time on the latest animation movie to hit the silver screen.  What does this animated feature film have in store?  I’m happy to share some thoughts on the subject, so why don’t we get started shall we?

 

LIKES:

  • Good animation
  • Cute
  • Unique Twist on a story
  • Incredibly Fun
  • Funny and Clever
  • Movie References

 

Summary:  As you saw in the trailers, Boss Baby is another example of how incredible our animation technology is and this time it is wrapped up in a cute as a button package.  This film may be one of the most adorable animation pieces to hit this year, and many will fall in love with the whimsical charm of this film.

Now that we have the obvious wrapped up let us get to the real gold of this film.  It’s difficult to find a unique twist on a story, but the risk taken with Boss Baby’s story was well executed.  The tale has many layers to it involving adapting to new family members, pursuit of your dreams, and of course what is better babies or puppies.  With surprising detail and character development, the story is very entertaining and fun as baby and brother try to stop the dastardly puppies from taking over.  And the best part is… the whole adventure is fun and fast paced, with seldom a boredom moment in this fast-moving flick.

Let’s hit the comedy now.  Boss Baby again excels in this aspect providing a variable mix of comedic styles to entertain all ages.  Young (and young at heart) will enjoy the simplistic comedy that involves the characters dropping mindless (meme-worthy) one liners, various screams of fear, and dopey run-ins with a wall.  The real comedic diamonds though are the cleverer puns, one-liners, and adult references hidden in this movie. Alec Baldwin’s sarcastic delivery and edginess worked for me, adding just the right touches to maximize the laughs.  Yet, I’m a sucker for all the movie references integrated into this plot and how key they were to the adventure.  And if you are nerd like me, you may get an extra thrill keeping your eye out for the next reference.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • A bit of a stretch
  • A little preachy at times
  • More Babycorp use
  • Better Editing

 

Summary:  Despite how much I enjoyed the story, much of it is still predictable. Boss Baby has some surprising twists, but no manner of fun, can hide the blatantly obvious ending that is to come.  While predictability is difficult to avoid, Boss Baby could have tidied things up a bit to give the finale a little more flare. In addition, they could have worked hard to not be so preachy near the end about the importance of family and all that lovey-dovey mush that animation films do all the time.

Let’s talk about some developmental issues I had with the movies.  First off, the movie has moments that are a bit of a stretch. Yes, I know this movie is ridiculous and a stretch to begin with, but hear me out.  Boss Baby’s adult cast are a bit idiotic at best, somehow not hovering over the newborns to hear them speaking. If that wasn’t enough, some of the more dangerous stunts involved were also not as “noticeable”, which after some point should have been discovered. Although fun, this ridiculousness didn’t fit so much into the grand scheme of the plot.

Next up is Babycorp, the organization the boss baby works for.  This large plot point has dramatic build up and gets a large sequence to explain the wonders of this magnificent corporation.  Yet after that, the film fails to deliver more on the potential plot points that could have come with it.  Had the trailers not built up the baby vs. puppy rivalry as they did, I could have let this go, but with all the advertising I would have liked to see more of this.

Finally, the editing of the movie.  Boss Baby has a lot of great parts that foster imagination, love, and all those positive qualities we love in an animated movie. However, much of these moments were not necessary, often just extending the run time under the guise of character development.  While I don’t think they needed to eliminate these parts (after all it is only 90 minutes), they certainly could have altered these scenes to be a little more relevant to the adventure.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Despite all the lower scores, Boss Baby was an entertaining spectacle that is fun, funny, and clever at many points. This movie is certainly adorable and is the perfect family film (for all ages) to hit the screen this year. Yes, it is simplistic and silly, and doesn’t have as much magic as a Disney film, but it’s nice to have unique, story that doesn’t involve making a political ordeal out of it.  This reviewer recommends this one for the theater for group outings and those with kids, but definitely check this one out when it hits homes.

 

My scores are:

Animation/Comedy/Family:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5

In Fun, It’s Funny, It’s Exciting and He’s Batman

batman

            You can build with them, you can imagine with them, and thanks to technology you can now play games with them.  I’m talking about Legos, the loveable building blocks that have spanned across all genres in their themes.  Like everything, Hollywood is happy to use it as a medium for pictures and this weekend we get the second adventure in brick land.  Will Lego Batman hold the same gusto as its predecessor from years back?  Or will it fall and smash into a million pieces?  Robbie K is back with yet another review to help with your movie choices.

 

LIKES

  • Funny
  • Lots of Movie References
  • Plenty of Comic References
  • Action packed, yet not violent
  • Fun morals built into a decent story

 

SUMMARY: If you remember the first film, you remember that it was not only fun, but funny.  The same can be said for the sequel, as Batman and his colleagues lead the charge in another rambunctious adventure.  Will Arnett as Batman takes point, delivering hilarious dialogue that we loved in the Lego movie, which is only further amplified by Michael Cera’s nasally, high-pitched presentation.  Amidst cheesy lines, constant bragging, and fancy one-liners is a comedic goldmine that will have both kids and adults laughing in their seats.  Yet, it was the comic and movie reviews that this reviewer loved and how clever their integration into the story was.  Gremlins, Lord of the Rings, and ridiculous 1960s Batman references are just a fraction of the nostalgia present in this movie, which will certainly bring back some fond memories for older fans, while hopefully inspiring younger generations to research.

 

But if comedy doesn’t keep you entertained, perhaps the exciting, kid-friendly, action will provide the entertainment you need.  Batman and his assistants have enough Kung Fu, laser blasting, building destroying moments to keep one hooked into the adventure at hand until you get to the fun moral filled moments.  Speaking of which, Lego Batman continues the trend of tying a lesson into overall story, which didn’t feel preach… at least until the end, then it is super preachy (though funny) delivery of the overall lessonOverall the adventure remains fun, fast, exciting, and humorous, which is always refreshing to watch.  However…

 

DISLIKES

  • Action is short-lived
  • Comedy sometimes gets stuck in banter
  • Batman Villains take a bit of back seat
  • Not the first one quite

 

Summary: I get it, Lego Batman isn’t meant to be the next action, stunt movie of the year, however it still would have been nice to see a little more pizazz to their fights.  Batman and company have some cool kung-Fu moves, but the directors simplistic repetition of these moves grew stale without some extra twists. Unlike the Lego movie, Lego batman also didn’t use the master builder power quite as uniquely, even though there was so much potential to be had.  In addition, the comedy also was a slight step down for me as well. Think about the diversity in Lego Movie, where each character has their own style of making us laugh and how well it mixed together to keep things fresh and fun.  Batman’s style again was very one dimensional, and while there were a bunch of well-timed one liners, the general theme of ego is the central focus, well that and his stupidity sometimes.  For me, it kind of grew stale (again) to be subjected to endless banter and drawn out dialogue.  This staleness may have been broken had they integrated the villains into the movie a little more. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Batman I also think of, you know, the bad guys that make up his universe too.  Unfortunately, Gotham’s psychopaths and crime lords take a back seat, (to again an enjoyable twist), and it would have been nice to integrate some of them into the mix a little better.  You can see that many of the dislikes come from comparison to the Lego Movie, and while this film is good, for this reviewer it just did not match up to its predecessor.

 

The Verdict:

 

Despite the dislikes though, Lego Batman is an adventure well worth the wait.  The movie will deliver the laughs, fun, and comedy promised by the trailers, and will entertain all ages (especially if you get the references).  Lego Batman is one of those movies designed to be fun, but hasn’t lost the uniqueness or imagination that many films lack.  As mentioned earlier, most of the dislikes come from a comparison to the Lego Movie, but if you can separate the two, then one will certainly enjoy the adventure to be had with this film.  Is it worth seeing in the theater?  Absolutely, and may be one of the few movies where 3-D adds to the experience (note I did not see it in 3-D).  Lego batman is a perfect fit for a geek’s night out, family outing, or if you are like me going solo for a laugh. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Action/Adventure:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Makes you Want To Laugh And Sing

sing

Tis the season for movies, and this week there are plenty of films for all to see.  My first review this week is the latest animation film geared toward the younger audience group.  Assuming you’ve seen the title of my review, you know I’m talking about Sing, Illumination Studios’ latest production.  As an answer to Disney’s Zootopia, Sing is trying to take the anthropomorphic animal story and a little twist to bait you in.  But was that twist enough, or is it another generic animation. Please read on to hear my opinions on the latest blockbuster.

LIKES:

  • Very Fun
  • Decent song and dance numbers
  • Character development
  • Touching moments

The thing you always hope for in a kid’s movie is a fun adventure for the audience (both adults and kids). Sing does its job of providing laughs and energy, having a variety of jokes that will tickle your funny bone from time to time.  Little kids will find the slapstick antics of characters farting, tripping on stage, or crashing into some sort of scenery. Adults on the other hand will embrace the funny voices, well timed delivery, and popular culture references. Whatever your style of humor, Sing will surely entertain most audience members.

For a movie titled Sing, you hope for a little singing and dancing, right?  Good news, there is some of that in this movie. Sing’s song and dance numbers keep with the cute theme of the movie, filled with explosive colors and energy.  The singing is…okay in the film, but the music director picked a wide variety of tracks (from a multitude of genres) in hopes of roping all ages into the film.  Their twists on some of the classics is certainly enjoyable, though doesn’t quite come together like the originals.  Dance numbers are again cute, but are primarily comedic relief than a true wow factor you might have expected.

My main like of Sing though, is the emotional moments the directors packed into the film.  The cast of aspiring singers each have their own problems (shocking right) and our heroes must face them semi-head on throughout the 90-minute run time.  While the outcomes are certainly predictable, the dialogue, music, and animation are more than enough to maximize the emotions of the moment. I found my heart strings being tugged at a few of the story arcs, but enjoyed the attempt at teaching the audience some important lessons.  Nevertheless, there is some simplistic character development to help around out the adventure.

DISLIKES:

  • Different theme than presented
  • Many numbers were shortsighted
  • Dropped potential characters
  • Story, while touching, was kind of bland

 

When I saw the trailers for Sing, I was expecting American Idol meets Zootopia.  To an extent, we do get that, but it’s only in the auditions part of the movie.  You’ve seen most of the audition numbers in the trailer, and the studio didn’t expand much past this.  As a result, the music numbers I would hope blow me away were reduced to simplistic quips that while comical and cute, weren’t that impressive. Surprisingly they are missing some genres like country, rap, and others that some audience members might have been hoping for.  I guess the soundtrack will have to make up for the short bytes.  In addition, the contest aspect really wasn’t pursued, as the story takes a different approach to make it a completely different movie than you were expecting.

This approach, as well as the short numbers, also reduced the screen time of some of the other animals you might have been hoping for.  So, all those animals you see auditioning, don’t get too attached, because chances are they aren’t going to stick around long enough for the adventure. In addition, some of the supporting characters have limited roles, their story lines hastily wrapped up and lost in the musical numbers.  And the result of all this is again an entertaining story, but one that is kind of bland and lacking suspense.  The incomplete use of characters and the lack of the contest aspect took away the suspense of rooting for your favorite animal, diluting this film’s potential to really drive the emotions home.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            If you haven’t guessed from my review, this film is fun, fun, fun.  It has energetic song and dance numbers, some cute wholesome comedy, and yes some predictable emotional moments that we all like to see this time of year.  However, the decisions to not pursue the contest, limit the engagement of the other characters, and the lack of hard-hitting numbers took away from the movie for me.  Therefore, this reviewer recommends, and predicts, this film will be best enjoyed by families with little ones (who will most likely flood the theaters to see it).  However, this reviewer recommends holding out to see this one at home instead of in the movie theater. 

 

Scores:

Animation/Comedy/Drama: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Birds of A Feather, Deliver Cute Together

storks

            “Where do babies come from?” For decades kids ask this question to parents and in a state of desperation creative answers, (aka lies) are cooked up.  One popular story wielded by parents is the concept of the stork delivering babies to doorsteps. This weekend, the creative geniuses over in La La land have managed to craft an animated film all about the miracle of these white winged wonders.  Yes, today I’m reviewing Storks starring Andy Samberg and Katie Crown.

 

LIKES:

  • Originality
  • Cute
  • Emotional

 

We all know there is really no original story anymore, but animated films usually put a creative twist on things. Storks breaks the mold of princesses and dogs by switching to birds with the fabled job of bringing life…literally…to people’s doors. I enjoyed the poke at our online consumerism by making the storks trade babies for technology, which isn’t the iconic adventure setting. Along the way, the orphaned Tulip (Crown) accidentally creates a baby through a giant magic wielding device that leads to a simplistic adventure to return her home.  It’s a fun twist on the tale of creatures uniting to accomplish a goal (Ice Age anyone), topped with a few unique kicks to sweeten the deal, including Lego versions of wolves.

Stupid as all this may sound, Storks main attraction is the cuteness bundled in the 100 minute run time.  I don’t just mean the baby, although the magenta haired munchkin will certainly melt many aspiring/current parents’ hearts. Much of my audience awed at some of the sweet moments our first time “foster” parents experience, many of which will bring nostalgic memories of your child’s firsts rushing back.  But if the main story isn’t up your alley, the side tale of a family struggling to spend quality time might be the ticket for you, especially with that song track they play.

Perhaps the biggest bang of Storks though, is the emotion the team have placed throughout the journey.  A simple opening starts to soften the heart as the intentions of Tulip are shared, which no surprise is the preachy, noble, and justice filled goals all protagonists have.  It’s just an opening I promise.  As they travel through the world, various themes of parenting and letting go fill the screen that again will start to knock the walls down further.  Yet the ending is where the true punch is. Without ruining anything, Storks ending has a powerful, well animated, montage, complete with orchestrated sappy music, to open the flood gate of tears of most parents in the audience.  Not me of course, I’m pretty much a robot, but there were loads of sniffles at the heartfelt moment portrayed. Sigh, such a nice wrap up of the movie, despite the predictability.

DISLIKES

  • Predictable
  • Misdirected Comedy
  • Annoying at times

No surprise, Storks has a predictable plot that most animated movies have and I’m being a stickler.  I know this isn’t a shock so it’s why I’m saying it is a minor weakness.  Despite the unique twist on the story, Storks originality does not extend much past that and falls into the time tested pattern once again.  Oh sure, I was wrong on one prediction, but the trailers have given much of the little surprise away.  Such a shame with the promise they made, but hey we at least got laughs out of it right? Right?

Wrong! You might go into Storks thinking or hoping for kiddy laughs with a few clever puns thrown in the mix. This was not the case. Surprisingly, this movie’s jokes are geared towards a more adult audience in terms of delivery, content, and comprehension. I don’t mean sex jokes (this isn’t Sausage Party), but much of Storks gears towards parenting humor and themes of abandonment that might be a little over your little ones’ heads.  Yes, there is some slapstick comedy, bodily harm, and a pigeon with a goofy voice named Pigeon Toady (Danny Trejo) that will make them laugh.  Aside from that, most of the comedy is a shot at entertaining parents, which I’m sorry to say failed for the most part in the laugh department. 

In fact, much of the comedy was actually annoying to me.  First off they rely on constant banter for much of their dialogue.  It was kind of entertaining at first, but they ran too far with it and by the fifth round of arguing… it had gotten old and rather stupid. The wolves that seemed to be so funny in the trailers were indeed entertaining…in the beginning.  However, their comedic ploy also got annoying, particularly in the way they spoke in a very direct, robotic like manner. And as for Pigeon Toady, there were times I laughed hard, but this character gets old quickly, especially his gigolo like attitude that seemed like a diluted SNL character. I could go on, but I think three strikes is enough to make my point.

 

The Verdict:

            If you found Storks’ trailers cute, then the movie will only amplify that factor as you watch it. This simplistic film is fun for kids, but ironically seems to be geared towards parents for the true emotional kick. Unfortunately, the comedic aspect failed to take flight and stumbled into the stormy skies of annoyance and stupidity. Can’t say it’s the best animated feature to grace the silver screen, it is a decent distraction for a rainy day. My recommendation is to wait for a Redbox rent, except for parents wanting to recapture baby magic.

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0