The action-packed, animated adventure “Storks,” from directors Nick Stoller and Doug Sweetland, takes audiences on a road trip like no other, as a super-focused stork with big ambitions, and a sunny 18-year-old orphaned girl with some wild ideas, rush to make one very special delivery. Braving danger and unforeseen setbacks, not to mention completely opposite points of view on almost everything, this unlikely pair of couriers makes the transformative journey of their lives, in an original story that celebrates friendship and family, amidst laughter and poignant moments of discovery.
The spark for the story came from Stoller’s own life. The father of two girls, he explains, “We were lucky with our first daughter, and it was a big surprise when having the second one wasn’t so easy and required a bit of science. That experience made me appreciate having children even more, and I believe it also made me more present as a parent. So that was the inspiration, but it wasn’t until later that the idea popped into my head about storks and the myth about how they once delivered babies and how that might impact a little boy who wants a little brother. It seemed like a fun world to explore and a concept with a lot of opportunities for comedy.”
Specifically, what if the baby factory at Stork Mountain has long been shuttered and its winged workforce pressed into being the world’s preeminent package delivery company by their profit-hungry CEO? Their mission now is uniting customers with their retail purchases. And then what if, through a series of serendipitous mishaps, the old factory became re-activated and suddenly produced what it was designed for…a baby? Fresh off the conveyor belt with that new-baby smell, irresistibly adorable, and ready to be embraced by her family.
“Nothing would be worse,” Sweetland declares. “A baby is anathema to their business model. All a baby would do is slow things down, and this operation is all about maximum efficiency and moving millions of packages around the world. So when this baby appears, it’s a problem Junior has to contain. He’s being groomed by the current CEO, Hunter, to become the boss, and if word gets out that this happened, his career would be over.”
This is one package that has to be delivered priority, and completely on the down-low.
Unfortunately, in his frantic efforts to halt the machinery that created this tiny catastrophe, Junior injures a wing. This forces him, against his better judgment, to accept assistance from Stork Mountain’s lone human resident, Tulip, an open-hearted and optimistic girl with a talent for inventing and a powerful desire to help, that is directly proportional to the amount of trouble she creates every time she touches something. Plus, he kind of holds her responsible for this whole predicament in the first place. Still, Tulip prevails and, together with their contraband cargo, the two take off in a flying contraption that she has engineered by hand from cast-off materials in the basement – and fully looks like it.
Their destination is the home of young Nate Gardner and his loving, if workaholic, parents: Sarah, played by Jennifer Aniston, and Henry, played by Ty Burrell. Nate wants a little brother – with ninja skills, naturally. So, being the smart, self-motivated type, he finds an old brochure from the days when storks still delivered babies, and submits a formal request. “In our movie, getting a baby is a lot like writing a letter to Santa Claus, except that you send it to Stork Mountain,” says Sweetland.
As luck would have it, Nate’s order reaches the facility at the exact moment when Tulip – eager, impulsive, helpful Tulip – is able to get her hands on it.
Producer Brad Lewis concludes. “One of the themes of the movie is family. And what’s nice about that is family comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s who your friends are, the people you love and surround yourself with. Any relationship or set of relationships can be your family, and this just offers a prism through which that can be seen.”
Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, Sept. 22, “Storks” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.