Film review: Migration

Lost in migration. Journeying from a tranquil New England pond to sizzling Jamaica, a family of ducks get lost and find themselves heading north and stumbling upon Hell’s Kitchen, New York.

Directed and co-written by movie rookie Benjamin Renner, who described this film as “Little Miss Sunshine,” but with ducks, Migration is produced by Illumination’s Paris Studios and distributed by Universal Pictures in which we are once again in the capable hands of the masters of animation who have given us treats such as “Despicable Me”, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and “Super Mario Bros”, in amongst their high grossing 14 brilliantly animated titles to date. Five years in the making and pushed back from a summer 2023 release date because of Covid delays to now; we find ourselves bathing in the glorious colour and warmth of the Mallard family’s spontaneous and wonderful winter vacation to the Caribbean sun.

A great script requires great casting to pull this adventure off and we have this in spades with a compact yet stellar lineup who have thrown themselves deeply into this new offering and the whole package works extremely well. Starring Kumail Nanjiani as Mack Mallard, the loving yet paranoid father of his brood, safe in the calm New England pond, happy with his family, and duck wife Pam Mallard played by Elizabeth Banks, (The Lego Movie) who needs a new adventure and this is where the story begins. The son and daughter characters who are played by newcomer Caspar Jennings (son of Garth Jennings director of Sing) playing Dax Mallard – an adventurous young at heart teen – whose voice works extremely well, but the real comedy is provided by young Gwen Mallard – who cannot poop in the sky – played by teenage breakthrough vocal artist Tresi Gazal.


Tresi’s original role was as a ‘scratch vocalist’, who was used for timing gaps when the main actors weren’t available, but her voice interaction and timing was so good, director Renner promoted her to main cast. The whole wonderful family interaction provides the backbone to the story which absolutely flies off the screen. Almost completing our lineup, we have the always on form Awkwafina playing the matriarch of the Central Park pigeon gang called ‘Chump’, whose partially beaten-up body and mind has made her stronger in a ‘bird eat bird’ world. Keegan-Michael Key who plays a caged scarlet red and sky-blue parrot in a lonely hell’s kitchen office, desperate for his flight back home to his family in Jamaica. Last but not least, we have Danny DeVito as the grumpy Uncle Dan and Isabela Merced as the shy Dax’s love interest Kim.

When fast action, high quality animation is placed in the right hands we are treated to some amazing spectacles. From fun fly throughs of infinite pastel colour clouds above New England, through to the dazzling fast moving streets of night-time New York, where depth and movement is positively spectacular.

For an animation film to work well for both the youngsters and adults, the jokes were once again written to be fun of course but never crude according to Renner. He avoided ‘lazy jokes’ and kept the fun out of the gutter. With a budget of $72m and so far making $268m worldwide, “Migration” will surely be green lit for a sequel with the same adorable cast in the hopefully not too distant future.

“Tail feather torsion check. Let’s fly!”







Author: Piers, Maidstone Store

Leave a Reply