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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "Migration"

Science is based a lot on the “why” of things, like the upstream swimming of salmon for hundreds of miles to lay eggs or the distance birds go to migrate.  I understand going south for the winter to keep warm, but why not just stay there instead of heading back north?  There is a new animated adventure out there that takes a look at a family of birds and their adventures at this very time, so let’s take a look at Migration.


Co-directed by Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine) and Guylo Homsy (Eddie’s Life Coach), this film has the voice talents of Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Caspar Jennings, Tresi Gazal, Danny DeVito, Keegan-Michael Key and Awkwafina and centers on Mack Mallard (Nanijani), who lives in a pond in New England.  He is afraid of what is past the pond where he lives, so he has never migrated, living with his wife Pam (Banks) and their two children in Dax (Jennings) and Gwen (Gazal).  One day, a flock of migrating ducks stop in their pond and invite the family to migrate with them to Jamacia.  Although Mack originally declines the offer, Pam and the rest of the family convince him that they should go together on this vacation.  Since they did not leave with the larger flock, they don’t quite know the way to go, and wind up on a “scenic route” that turns into the adventure of a lifetime.


The animation is not the best I have ever seen, but it is good for what it is.  I didn’t feel like it was anything that took me out of the movie at all.  I like that Migration gets animation back to right around ninety minutes and does so with a story that the younger kids will be entertained by just as much as the rest of the family.  The writing is smart and funny, and of course there is a villain for them to deal with, keeping things entertaining.


The cast here works well with Nanjiani leading the way, perfectly cast as a duck who worries so much he fears his own shadow sometimes.  Looking back on previous performances of his like in Silicon Valley, it makes sense for him to play Mack. Pros like Banks and DeVito do not disappoint, but I also liked Key as Delroy, a parrot who is originally from Jamacia who Mack helps set free to help guide them on their journey south.  I also enjoyed the work of Awkwafina, who plays Chump, the leader of a group of pigeons in New York City, who really puts herself into the role, and it works.  Although Migration will not make my list of top animated films of the year, I did not hate it either: it is fun for what it is, so I will gladly recommend it to be seen on a Saturday afternoon in a theater with no enhancements like Dolby needed.

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