This is a nice movie, and I recommend it.
The story is intricate. It starts with a little boy named Nate who craves his parents’ attention. But the parents are busy working all the time.
In the family attic, Nate happens upon an old pamphlet advertising stork deliveries of babies. Nate mails a request for a baby brother/playmate.
Nate’s letter arrives at an Amazon-like company where storks, now seven years out of the baby business, deliver packages instead. (There is of course a bad CEO stork in a suit; where would movies be today with out bad guys in suits?) Through a more complicated plot device than needs to be spelled out here, a baby arrives and needs to be taken to Nate’s house.
There is more folderol involving a sweet-natured, slightly goofy stork named Junior; an-18-year-old girl (okay, woman), Tulip, who was raised by storks; some meaning-of-life agonizing about the nature of storks, and the development of Nate’s relationship with his parents.
Then there are the challenges of delivering the baby. Along the way, Junior and Tulip encounter a pack of wolves who perform impressive, funny tricks. There are penguins too, and the penguins are funny. (Film penguins are always funny.)
Plus the baby — a girl, as it turns out — is sweet and charming. Storks, wolves and penguins fall in love with the baby at first sight.
As I said, it’s complex. But it’s not cynical. There were two-year-olds in the theater where I saw the movie, and they laughed out loud many times. They were charmed by the animals’ affection for the baby. They loved the funny Wile E. Coyote-style silly bits. They enjoyed seeing Nate and his parents work together to prepare for the arrival of the baby. They even understood the part about how frustrating it is for adults to get babies to go to sleep at night.
I’m a little harder to amuse than small children, but I laughed during the movie too.
So here’s what I say: If you’re going see just one avian movie with a kid, this is a much better choice than the angry birds piece that came out earlier this year. “Storks” was designed as a fun family story; “The Angry Birds Movie” was designed to sell video games and more angry birds movies. Big difference.
The stork-delivering-babies theme, while well done, is quite dated. Years before the Younger Person joined our family, the Significant Other and I talked with an older couple who had a 10-year-old son. The son’s teacher was pregnant, and the parents discussed with the boy how the teacher had a baby in her stomach.
“The baby is not in her stomach!” he yelled back in correction. “It’s in her uterus!”