During the half-term break, one option for family entertainment is this fresh animated film from Illumination (known for Sing and Minions). It follows the adventures of a quirky duck family, though the storyline and humor may not be completely unique and seem somewhat outdated, as if pieced together from leftover ideas in the studio. However, there are plenty of antics and an adorable baby duck to keep the movie soaring.
In the northeastern region of the United States, a father duck named Mack (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) is cautious and overly protective of his two children: Dax (Caspar Jennings), a teenager, and the adorable duckling, Gwen (Tresi Gazal). Against his better judgement, Mack’s children convince him to migrate south for the first time, leading to a series of mishaps as the family travels to Jamaica. However, they end up crash-landing in New York City, where the animators showcase a group of realistic-looking pigeons. Their leader, with a rough New York accent, is brilliantly voiced by Awkwafina and has an unsightly foot injury.
The screenplay was co-written by Mike White, the mind behind The White Lotus. White is a vegan, which becomes a central theme as the ducks are in danger of becoming someone’s meal. The character of Chef, who runs a restaurant in Manhattan, is uninteresting and lacks personality. He resembles a larger, beefed-up version of Bono with a goatee and small tinted glasses. More enjoyable is the duck farm owned by two older hippies. The leader of the ducks is voiced by David Mitchell from Peep Show and is portrayed as a shaman.
The film is suitable for all ages and can be enjoyed by families. However, Migration seems to be a lesser version of Illumination’s other films and it remains to be seen if it will have the potential to become a franchise. It is unlikely that children will want to watch it repeatedly like they do with Sing. Despite this, my two seven-year-old friends found it hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing while repeating a line about mallards becoming duck a l’orange on our way home. So, my opinion may not be accurate.