Storks (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

StorksOoooh…Storks!  This is one of those films where I do the review because I reeeeeeeeeally love my children.  But, right now, I’m still curious on seeing a lot of different varieties on the 4K UHD format.  The only animated movie I’ve done before that is that fifth Ice Age film.  Storks is from a different studio that’s putting a little more to it with their presentations (Warner Bros).  And then I saw that it was directed by Nicholas Stoller, so that gained me a little hope.  One of two films he directed this year (The other, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising).  Storks opened against The Magnificent Seven (Which I just reviewed the other day).  It placed second in its opening weekend, but went on to gross more money than it worldwide (Magnificent Seven won the domestic battle, though).  Now its once again going head to head with it on the home video market as they both come out the same day in all formats.  You can find it on the shelves December 20th.

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Storks deliver babies…or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for global internet retail giant Cornerstore.com. Junior, the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when the Baby Factory is accidentally activated on his watch, producing an adorable – and wholly unauthorized – baby girl. Desperate to deliver this bundle of trouble before the boss gets wise, Junior and his friend Tulip, the only human on Stork Mountain, race to make their first-ever baby drop, in a wild and revealing journey that could make more than one family whole and restore the storks’ true mission in the world.

Well, my hopes for this to not be so bad didn’t fully come to fruition.  Storks isn’t a completely awful experience, but for me, it didn’t go so much above the call of being a kid-friendly film that I would find some secrets in and make it an all audiences affair.  With the director in place and some of the folks involved, I was probably unfairly hoping for that.  As it is, this one is mostly for the kids with a little nugget here and there for the adults or older chaperone viewing it.  Somewhere around this, there is a version of Storks that wanted to be both and could have been, but it is what it is.

To be honest, I think this is just find and really enjoyable for the kids.  In addition to some lively animal and human characters, the film does throw in some solid action beats here and there.  I was most engaged during a chase through some caverns with wolves threatening the well-being of our heroes.  It culminated in some more action down a roaring stream.  To go along with it are some musical moments and just usage of some songs.  Personally, I was happy to hear the Talking Heads “And She Was” in there.  So, this movie does get a couple plus points for me on the musical end of things.

As always with these movies, the vocal cast is game.  Andy Samberg and Kelsey Grammar pretty fun together sharing scenes.  Also rounding out some voices are the likes of Jennfier Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele.  But, the real star and fun of this movie comes from Katie Crown.  She’s a big deal in the voice acting world and it shows as she is the stand out here.  Here character is fun, in control and she really knows how to balance, the crazy, the silly with the serious dramatic moments in the film to make a full fledged and fully realized character no matter how cartoonish she is.

Storks is pretty much just all right.  The kids are gonna dig it, but you’ll be wanting a bit more.  Its features some of your comedic favorites voicing the characters and that’s where your enjoyment is mostly going to come from.  Overall, this is one to just get lost in the pack of all the animated kids movies that will come out in a given year.  A quick kill sort of thing.  But, for what it is, its fine, and something new for the kids to latch on to for a little bit until the next one comes along.

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Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Storks is a CG animated film, so it lends itself to looking pretty terrific on 4K UHD Blu-ray as it does Blu-ray.  This is a step up above that version.  The animation in this film, while cartoony, is still quite detailed, with the stork characters actually showing some dirtiness in thier feathers and different colorizations all around.  Surfaces and such look used, worn, scuffed, scraped, dirty and more.  Its all here with good crisp clarity.  The image is sharp enough and runs quite smooth and natural.  You can even make out some red veins on characters’ eyes when they are tired.

Depth:  A noticeable area of improvement on the Blu-ray counterpart is the bigger feel of the dimensions to go along with movmeent.  The depth here in the shots, especially one traveling across a rope bridge at one point feel deep and 3D on its own.  There is a good split of the background and characters than really shows in camera movements.  Characters are a lot more smoother, free and confident in their movements here.

Black Levels: Blacks are dark, rich and really help to form and cultivate the pciture.  Darkened scenes still allow for a lot of groovy detail.  Shadows and shading are deep.  Blacks also do a good job of providing some color for the characters and objects with different tints and variations on the color.  Hair follicles, textures, scuffs and patterns all come through neatly on the animation, which is quite detailed. No crushing was witnessed during the viewing of the film for this review.

Color Reproduction: Colors come on strong and are a nice little increase over the Blu-ray version of the film.  Reds, blues and primary colors really pop a little bit better.  In the wolf cavern sequences, teals and greens craft a nice glow emanating from the screen.  Greens are rich with t-shirt, necklace and phone case covers and when seen as grass and leaves.  Yellows come on really natural and full looking, showing off many different tints and shades of the color that all are very strong.  Of course the baby and Tulip’s hair both pop in this image.  There is also a little vision a character has would a ton of vibrant colors popping off the screen and looking dynamite.  The finale of the film really presents an arena for the glow and shine of HDR to really pop, especially showcasing purples to a lovely degree.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio Service Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Dutch 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Mexican) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Catalan 5.1 Dolby Digital, Danish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Finnish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Flemish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Norwegian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Swedish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Spanish (Castilian), Dutch, Spanish (Latin), Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics:  Storks manages to have a pretty solid 7.1 track that does the trick and elevates the viewing experience.  Most of the best stuff seems to happen up front.  Those three speakers really lead the charge.  Things get loud enough and bring an involving rumble to the viewing.  There is a really good mix of music blended in with the effects and vocal track for a good balanced experience.  Foley for the film is full enough sounding with plenty of detail to it.  Overall, this works and gets the job done.

Height: There are some good moments regarding flights and chases through caverns that give you a little overhead extra sound to enhance the experience.  When not doing much unique, the ceiling speakers do provide some decent ambiance from time to time.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer really helps this film out in many of the songs and musical bits in the film that need the extra bass.  Some swooping sounds, water roaring, imagined explosions, bumping, big doors opening, engines and chopper blades all grab the thump at a decent level here.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This mix is a little more front heavy with its action.  Yes, you’ll get something flying by the screen and whatnot that’ll correspond in movement with the rear and side speakers, but most this is kept front.  There are some good ambiant and unique action moments from the side and rear speakers, when they must be put to use they are.  But a lot of the time they sit helping with music or random ambiance.  Front speakers do have a lot of swift fun with good movement and volume placement.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clear, clean and plenty audible at all times while keeping the volume accurate to character placement and vocal intensity.

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Storks comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.  Aside from the commentary, all bonus materials appear on the Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By Douglas Sweetland, Nicholas Stoller, John Venzon and Matt Flynn

Blu-ray Disc

Storks: Guide To Your New Baby (HD, 2:08) – Pigeon Toady tries to change a diaper while Tulip and Junior roll their eyes and attempt to correct things.

The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short (HD, 5:18) – A humorous LEGO short in the style of The LEGO Movie, not just straight up CGI.  Why this is included on Storks, I don’t know, but its okay.

Storks “Kiss the Sky” Music Video (HD, 3:46) 

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD, 10:05) 

Outtakes (HD, 2:14)

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Storks was September’s flavor of the month in terms of kids animated films at the theater.  Its okay, but definitely skews more young than old.  This 4K UHD Blu-ray features a really good visual presentation to go along with some solid audio.  The extras are merely okay, and thankfully don’t go too overboard.  When the price goes down, this is definitely something to give the kiddos to enjoy.


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