March 1, 2024

MIGRATION: Animated Mac & Cheese

2023 / 82 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😽

Maybe some of you parents can relate to this…

When my daughter, Natalie, was little, she was a notoriously picky eater, which sometimes made going out to restaurants a little annoying. She tended to poo-poo any place offering cuisine that didn’t come in a box with a toy. Most eateries tried to have parents’ backs with kids’ menus, which always featured mac & cheese…and which Natalie always ordered. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with mac & cheese, but I resented the hell out of shelling-out six bucks for a plate of it just because the place had a tactile menu. Since I was footing the bill, would it have killed Natalie to be just a little adventurous and order something that couldn’t be whipped up in a microwave? On the other hand, watching her stare at an untouched plate of shrimp scampi for an hour would have been an even bigger waste of time and money…

…which is something to keep in mind with Migration. Like a lot of the other animated movies from Illumination Studios, it’s a kid-friendly selection on the menu which may not be all that flavorful or original, but at least it’ll fill up the little ones. 

"I said that out loud, didn't I?"
The story has a family of mallards that have spent their entire lives in one pond, then finally decide to migrate south like all the others. Taking something of a cue from The Croods, dad is initially fearful and overprotective, while mom is, naturally, the more level-headed of the two. The teenage son is adventuresome and rebellious, while the baby daughter is illustrated & voiced to be irresistibly cute (and provide a poop joke, of course). Tagging along is old Uncle Dan, who exists to drop amusing comments here and there while having little impact on the plot. In other words, we’ve met them all before, this time as ducks.

The episodic narrative takes them on a variety of misadventures on the way to their destination, some amusing, some not, but all of them pretty familiar, right down to the obligatory use of a popular pop song in the middle of the action. There’s also the typical cast of celebrity voices, including Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Keegan-Michael Key and Carol Kane. Danny DeVito makes Uncle Dan the film’s funniest character (superfluous as he is), while Awkwafina, as tough-talking pigeon Chump, manages to remain obnoxious even when we can’t see her. 

The film does boast excellent animation and appealing character design, though. Additionally, the overall tone is light and congenial, briskly moving from one predicament to the next. Like that plate of restaurant mac & cheese, there’s nothing particularly distinctive about Migration, but as movie comfort food, undiscriminating kids should have a good time.


FEATURETTES - Taking Flight (making of); Meet the Cast (interviews with most of the cast); Microphone Madness (behind-the-scenes footage of recording); The Art of Flight (animation process); The Sound of Flight (music score)

3 ANIMATED SHORTS - “Fly Hard”; “Mooned”; “Midnight Mission.” The last two feature the Minions, just in case you haven’t already had enough of them.

ACTIVITY FEATURES - How to Draw (how to draw the Migration characters); Build Your Own Pop-Up Book; Calling All Birds (how to make bird noises); Best Nests (making nests and water feeders with stuff laying around the house).


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