Migration – movie review

A fun-filled, animated adventure, Migration focuses on a family of four wild ducks, also known as mallards. This is a delightful, humorous film, with much to commend it. The story is from Mike White (who wrote the screenplay) and Benjamin Renner (who directed the film, alongside Guylo Homsy).

The father of this ducky brood is Mack (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani). He takes a safety-first approach and doesn’t want his two ducklings to stray from the pond in New England where they live. To ram home the message, he tries to scare son Dax (Caspar Jennings) and daughter Gwen (Tresi Gazal) into submission. His wife, Pam (Elizabeth Banks), is none too happy about that, for – like their son – she’d like to explore the world. They nearly get the chance when Dax befriends a bird in a migratory flock heading for Jamaica that visits the lake to rest. But again, Mack steps in to spoil the party.

Finally though that changes after Uncle Dan (Danny DeVito) drops in and inadvertently reinforces what a dull life he has led. So, off the family set – with Uncle Dan in tow – only to be met by a series of challenges. The fly headlong into a wild storm and are met by hungry, ageing herons, before confronting the pitfalls of New York City. They fall foul of pigeons and incur the wrath of a persistent and volatile chef … and I’ve just brushed the surface. More than once their lives are threatened.  Nevertheless, their journey to the Caribbean continues and Mack learns a valuable life lesson about letting go.

I loved the personalities imbued into the characters. My undoubted favourite was Gwen, with Tresi Gazal delivering a series of cute one-liners that land each time. The interplay between brother and sister is what you would typically expect between siblings that don’t always see eye to eye. I appreciated the feisty but soft underbelly of Chump the pigeon (Awkafina) and red macaw Delroy’s (Keegan-Michael Key) desperate quest for freedom.

The banter between mum and dad is no less enjoyable, reflecting differing parenting styles. The encounters along the flight path act like chapters in a book. All are filled with drama and hijinks. Production values are high throughout.

Migration is visually appealing and is energetic and engaging from start to finish. It is a genuinely good-natured family film that can be enjoyed by youngsters, their parents and grandparents.

Alex First

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