Review – Migration

Illumination has a proven track record having created some of the greatest animated characters of recent years with each new instalment pushing their animation style further. Migration continues this trend and showcases the talent this team has for the animated arts. Humans play a tiny part in this story, but that hasn’t stopped the team at Illumination from using the character models to portray some very particular traits from the voice cast

The Mallards have always been a quiet family of ducks. Living a simple life blissfully unaware of the world outside of their New England pond life. Days are filled with foraging around the pond and fixing up the den while nights are filled with Father Mack telling his favourite stories of herons, eagles and all manner of animals that want duck on the menu. Mack is a bit of a worrier, as the father his job is to keep his family safe, a job he takes a little too seriously. Mum Pam is a dreamer, Drax the eldest, is fully in his teenage years and pushing boundaries, while little sister Gwen is just adorable. 

The Mallards’ peaceful ways are changed one fateful afternoon when a group of migrating ducks land on the pond for a break. Dax, full of bravado, introduces himself to the visitors and much to the dismay of his father throws open the idea of them joining in on the trip. The ever cautious Mack puts a stop to those ideas and tries to get back to the way things were, even if his family isn’t in agreement this time. After some time deliberating on just what it is he wants out of life for him and his family Mack decides to wake everyone with the news they are going to migrate south for the winter, all the way to Jamaica. Even grumpy old Uncle Dan is on board! 

The journey south is where all the fun begins. The Mallards having never left the safety of their pond are in for the trip of a lifetime opening their hearts and minds to all the beauty their world has to offer. Along the way they will face many obstacles growing as not only individuals but even closer as a family.  

The voice cast is an eclectic ensemble featuring a varied range of personalities each suited perfectly for their role. Kumail Nanjiana (Mack) and Elizabeth Banks (Pam) bounce off each other well making sure their kids are safe while Danny DeVito (Uncle Dan) all but steals each scene from them. Awkwafina, whom I’ll admit has grown on me in recent roles, plays a gritty New York pigeon in a role perfectly suited to her sense of humour while Keegan-Michael Key once again turns a bit part into a starring role with his performance. Those of us a little older may even notice a ghost of Christmas present making an appearance as a heron that I shouldn’t have been laughing at as much as I did.

With most animated movies there is more of a theme behind the main premise and Migration is no different. Migration is all about the journey and who it is that you are taking that journey with. We get to watch Mack evolve from an overprotective father to someone leading the way for his family and showing just how much he loves them by his actions and the joy he gets from watching them experience new things in life. It is about finding that balance between trying new things, meeting new friends while still doing everything in your power to protect the ones you love. There are many moments between the siblings that remind us that sibling rivalry is a thing and most certainly a healthy thing when nurtured correctly, not to mention the fact that while little sisters may be adorable, it doesn’t matter what species they are still a pest….

Migration is shaping up to be the perfect Christmas blockbuster to take your kids to see on the big screen, at a comfortable 91 minutes, it is a great length for the younger audience and doesn’t have anything on screen to scare the little ones. Plenty of laughs were had during my screening from the full spectrum of ages with parents getting a couple of jokes the kids completely missed. 

Migration releases in cinemas locally on Boxing Day.    

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