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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Cast:
Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston
Writing Credits:
Nicholas Stoller

Synopsis:
Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby.

Box Office:
Budget
$70 million.
Opening Weekend
$21,311,407 on 3,922 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$69,968,062.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Mexican Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Latin Spanish
French
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Latin Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 12/20/2016

Bonus:
>• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Nicholas Stoller, Director Doug Sweetland, Editor John Venzon and Storyboard Artist/Head of Story Matt Flynn
• “Guide to Your New Baby” Short
• “The Master” Animated Short
• Music Video
• Six Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Storks [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 18, 2016)

For a new look at the legend about where babies come from, we head to 2016’s animated comedy Storks. In this world, a retail business called Cornerstore once used storks to bring babies, but eventually avian CEO Hunter (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) changed the focus to package delivery.

In this scenario, a stork named Junior (Andy Samberg) serves as Cornerstore’s number one employee, and he stands in line to take over as Hunter’s hand-picked successor. However, he goofs and accidentally turns on the “Baby Making Machine”, a process that produces an infant girl. Along with Tulip (Katie Crown) – the only human inhabitant of “Stork Mountain” - Junior attempts to deliver the baby and rectify the situation.

Some people believe virtually all animated films exist solely for kiddie audiences, but that always has been untrue. Plenty of animated movies work as well – if not better – for adults.

Based on the story and what I saw from trailers, though, I assumed Storks would shoot firmly for the pre-pubescent crowd. The movie struck me as something that seemed so cutesy I imagined it wouldn’t have any adult appeal.

Then I saw that Nicholas Stoller wrote and co-directed the film. Stoller made his name with firmly “R”-rated efforts like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Neighbors, not films one would associate with potentially precious/cuddly fare like Storks.

Stoller also broadened into the family market with 2011’s Muppets, an effort with so much charm that I instantly felt much more optimism that Storks would overcome my initial fears. Alas, Stoller’s comedic touch largely abandons him with Storks, an uninspired effort that never gets off the ground.

In essence, Storks aspires to the Looney Tunes tradition, which sounds great on paper but not in reality – not across nearly 90 minutes, at least. While wacky antics satisfy for seven minutes at a time, when crammed into a package more than 12 times longer, the formula gets tiresome.

Not that Storks doesn’t attempt an emotional impact, so it’s not just 87 minutes of gags and antics. It does feel that way, though, which makes the stabs at character depth and drama appear half-hearted.

A listen to the movie’s commentary reveals that the filmmakers wanted to give Storks more than just wackiness, but I’m not sure how much I swallow this. Again, though the movie contributes superficial attempts at emotion, these moments present no impact and feel tacked-on.

That may be more because the various characters lack much to attach them to us. Junior, Tulip and the others come across as bland personalities who never create much in terms of charm, so we fail to bond with them and invest in their journey.

Storks also includes a side story in which a young boy named Nate Gardner (Anton Starkman) decides he wants a sibling, so he requests one from the storks. This leads Nate to re-establish a connection with his career-obsessed parents (Ty Burrell and Jennifer Aniston).

Remember when I mentioned how the emotional moments in Storks seem tacked-on? The thread with the Gardners exemplifies this, as it exists for no real reason other than to prompt a little heartstring-tugging – and a landing spot for the baby handled by Junior and Tulip. The movie could easily lose the entire Gardner theme and be no worse for it.

Though that would then make a relatively brief movie even shorter and reveal the lack of substance elsewhere in a more obvious manner. Storks never manages any sense of flow, and too much of it exists just to fill time. For instance, a long detour with a wolf pack tries to be funny and fails, so it simply sucks up space.

Maybe if Storks made me laugh I wouldn’t care, but actual amusement occurs infrequently. Even the great Michael-Keegan Key and Jordan Peele don’t contribute much to the effort, and Stephen Kramer Glickman’s performance as Pigeon Toady goes down as one of the most annoying ever committed to film. Yeah, I get that the character intends to be obnoxious, but he crosses a line from “funny irritating” to “nails on a chalkboard”.

Every once in a while, Storks manages a minor slice of fun, such as during a reasonably clever silent battle with penguins. However, those moments pop up far too infrequently, and that dearth of mirth leaves this as an uninspired film.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Storks appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While attractive, this wasn’t one of the best-looking animated Blu-rays I’ve seen.

Sharpness could be a minor distraction. Though most of the movie displayed solid clarity, a few shots seemed a smidgen soft. These were mild instances, but parts of the image lacked the tightness I expect from Blu-ray. At least no issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, the image lacked any print flaws; it remained clean at all times.

Colors became a strong element. The movie went with a somewhat pastel palette, and it displayed consistently vivid hues. Blacks were dense and tight, and shadows were usually fine, though a few low-light shots seemed a bit dark. Overall, this was a good enough presentation for a “B+”, but that meant the presentation disappointed compared to the usual “A”-level computer animated effort.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, it opened up the film in a satisfying manner. Though the mix didn’t give us wall-to-wall theatrics, it managed to use the spectrum well.

As expected, the film’s occasional action sequences boasted nice breadth and activity, and the aerial elements created a fine sense of involvement, as these components zoomed around the room. While the soundscape didn’t stun us on a constant basis, it provided more than enough to succeed.

Audio quality seemed consistently solid. Speech appeared natural and distinctive; no edginess or other issues marred the dialogue. Music sounded warm and full, while effects showed good clarity and accuracy. When necessary, bass response came across as deep and tight. All of this lifted the track to “B+” status.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director Nicholas Stoller, director Doug Sweetland, editor John Venzon and storyboard artist/head of story Matt Flynn. All four sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the project's origins and development, story/character areas, editing and deleted/altered sequences, aspects of the animation process, cast and performances, music, visual design and connected domains.

Parts of the track work very well, especially when it looks at Stoller’s immersion into the world of animation. He previously dealt solely with live-action, and he offers a good perspective in terms of the differences between the two domains. Other useful production notes emerge as well.

However, the commentary comes with more than a few dead spots – a surprising number given how chatty the guys tend to be. They also veer toward praise a little more often than I’d like. Still, even with these drawbacks, the commentary offers a mostly informative piece.

A clip called Guide to Your New Baby runs two minutes, eight seconds. This features movie characters in a comedic “tutorial”. It focuses too much on the irritating Pigeon Toady character for my liking, but Storks fans might enjoy it.

An animated short entitled The Master comes from the universe of “Lego Ninjago”. It lasts five minutes, 18 seconds and provides a spoof of martial arts movies. While not great, it comes with some amusement.

Next comes a music video for “Kiss the Sky” by Jason Derulo. The video simply plops Derulo’s song on top of various movie scenes. It’s a dull video, but the tune’s not bad.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of 10 minutes, five seconds. All presented as storyreels, the most significant sequence offers an alternate opening. Others add a bit more character material as well as comedy and action. I kind of like the unused introduction, and the others also seem decent – especially when we get a shocking revelation about Hunter.

We can watch these with or without commentary from the same guys who chatted over the feature film. They give us background about the sequences as well as why the scenes failed to make the movie. They offer useful notes.

A collection of Outtakes goes for two minutes, 14 seconds. These present phony bloopers from the movie’s characters. That gimmick worked back in 1998 with A Bug’s Life but seems stale in 2016.

The disc opens with ads for The Lego Batman Movie and Scooby-Doo: Shaggy’s Showdown. No trailer for Storks appears here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Storks. It includes the Lego short and the music video but it lacks the other extras.

Despite some good talent involved, Storks misfires. It seems more like an outline for a movie than a full-fledged story, and neither its comedy nor its adventure do much to entertain. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and audio along with a moderate roster of bonus features. Storks lacks the inventiveness and cleverness it needs.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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