The last time a stork appeared in an animated film was the 1959 Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Apes of Wrath;" I'm pretty sure of this. In it a drunken stork loses the ape baby he is supposed to deliver, conks Bugs over the head and delivers Bugs instead. It was funny then; it's funny now.


It didn't get much funnier than that as it referenced New York's famous Stork Club along with the notion that babies were delivered by storks rather than being found in cabbage patches. It also featured the legendary voices of Mel Blanc and the ageless June Foray - whose last gig was voicing a character in a 2011 Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. For those of you into animation history, "Apes of Wrath was a Friz Freleng cartoon.


Since then, the concept of baby delivery by storks is passe - it was replaced by the cabbage patch concept which included a very profitable toy collection. After that, I think the American Medical Association took over declaring that doctors delivered babies and you'd better have insurance! In fact, I think that would have been a better storyline for Warner Brothers latest animated feature, "Storks". (The irony is that Bugs Bunny was also a Warner Bros product!)

This time, Nicholas Stoller ("Neighbors 2, Sorority Rising", "Neighbors", "Get Him to the Greek") and Doug Sweetland, an animator for "Cars", and "The Incredibles", teamed up to develop a cockamamie story penned by Stoller. And I really mean cockamamie!


The film opens with the storks no longer delivering babies, but instead focusing on delivering packages. The reasoning is more profitabilty and also explains why the concept of stork baby delivering is no longer referenced. So far, so good.


The company, re-branded, is run by Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) as a tight money making entity. Junior (Andy Samberg) has the bosses eye and is moving up the ladder but runs into a problem when Tulip (Katie Crown) starts up the baby machine. Tulip is the one mix up delivery by the company so is the only human working at the plant. That's a rip-off from the movie "Elf" with Will Ferrell.


The result of the start up is a baby that needs to be delivered to parents voiced by Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell. The plot then descends into a road trip filled with goofy wolves and a loner stork named Jasper (Danny Trejo).


With the exception of the wolves, there is very little even humorous about the film - especially for adults. If you need a bird movie, "Angry Birds" is a better choice.


"Storks" helps to make 2016 one the most disappointing years from animation. Young children will probably like it because they don't know any better, but adults will most likely gag on the dialogue and blase story.   -- GEOFF BURTON