“Migration”: Adventurous Journey

I always get excited about animated films. Something about the kid in me always comes out. I’ve loved animated films and shows since I was young. I watched the previews of Migration and was excited. It looked funny with a talented cast of voice actors. After I watched it, I found it a fun and adventurous journey, great for families and children. The talented cast are funny in their roles. 

“Migration” is an animated adventure comedy film directed by Benjamin Renner, co-directed by Guylo Homsy, produced by Chris Meledandri, and written by Mike White, based on a story conceived by White and Renner. In the film, a group of mallard ducks are frustrated with father Mack (Kumail Nanjiani), who wants to keep them all safe but also in one place. Mom Pam (Elizabeth Banks) is eager to shake things up and show teenage son Dax (Caspar Jennings) and duckling daughter Gwen (Tresi Gasal) the whole wide world. After a migrating duck family visits their pond, Pam persuades Mack to embark on a family trip to Jamaica via New York City. Their plans quickly go awry, forcing the ducks to learn about themselves and each other with the help of friends like Mack’s uncle Dan (Danny Devito), Chump (Awkwafina), the leader of a pigeon gang, Delroy (Keegan-Michael Key), a Jamaican parrot, and crane Erin (Carol Kane). 

In this film, the animated style is fun and adventurous. The introduction of father Mack’s fears and concerns over keeping his family safe are quickly established as is Pam’s frustration over always staying safe. She’s also concerned that he’s giving those fears to Gwen and making her unable to take risks. The story has a wonderful message about allowing children to take risks and allowing them the freedom to be themselves. Children will especially love the message of independence and freedom. I also love that Mack learns that fear doesn’t have to hold you back from being brave and doing things that scare you but that are necessary. The whole family learns to be brave but also support each other. 

The comedic elements are well done. Kamail Nanjiani is funny as fearful Mack but even funnier when he embraces taking risks. Danny Devito as Dan is funny, especially interacting with little Gwen and her ability to persuade him to join them. Dax’s character is a wonderful blend of confidence, risk taking and awkwardness when meeting a girl duck. The funniest moments are when the ducks meet Erin, the crane and misunderstand her intentions. The mistaken impression makes the scene pretty funny. Another funny element is when the ducks meet Chump, played by Awkwafina. She shines in the role and adds some hilarious scenes when trying to fly through New York. 

The voice actors do an excellent job in their roles. Kamail Nanjiani is credible as a fearful father duck. Elizabeth Banks is positive and warm as Pam. Both Caspar Jennings as Dax and Tresi Gazal as Gwen steal the scenes that they’re in, both delightful and funny. Awkwafina is a highlight as Chump but I do wish we got more time with her character. She is hilarious. Carol Kane is a delight as Erin, the crane, both talented and funny. Danny Devito plays risk averse uncle Dan well and adds touches of comedy from the start to the end. Keegan-Michael Key is engaging and fun as Delroy. While the performances were fantastic, I would have loved to have seen more from Awkwafina or Keegan-Michael Key. Neither had the longest scenes in the film and I think more would have enhanced the film.

The movie is very predictable. While it does have funny scenes, especially with a chef chasing the ducks, the chef is also two dimensional with no real personality. Because the story is so predictable, it isn’t as engaging as it could be. The funnier scenes help and I love the adventure of the story but it isn’t quite enough. I did find myself tuning out at times. I think if there had been more comedy or a less predictable story it would have helped. Still the message is one I think children will really like. 

If you like animated comedy films and you have a child, this family friendly film will be a good fit for you and those children. The message of independence and freedom will be encouraging for kids. The film is all about being open to new things and ideas and the story is very lighthearted. The movie is a fun adventurous journey of daring and bravery even when you’re afraid. While the chef is a stereotype, other ideas break the idea of assuming others have bad intentions. I especially loved the performances of Carol Kane and Awkwafina but all the actors do a great job of portraying their characters. While it was too predictable for me, I still enjoyed the film overall. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 feathers. 

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