Migration Blu-ray Review: Funny but Flies South Quick

Benjamin Renner’s Migration is an animated adventure story from Illumination. It concerns itself with a family of mallards who have always lived at the same pond and never migrated. The father duck, Mack (Kumail Nanjiani), believes that safety can only be found within the confines of home and is the main reason his family has never left the pond. Pam (Elizabeth Banks) is Mack’s wife and is growing weary of Mack’s fears. Rounding out the family are older brother, Dax (Caspar Jennings), and younger sister, Gwen (Tresi Gazal). Joining the group is Uncle Dan (Danny DeVito), who agrees with Mack that the world is dangerous and to be avoided.

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One day, the Mallard family comes across a large group of ducks who are headed South to Jamaica. Now, one would think this is the central concern of the film: how will Mack overcome his fears and help his family have the trip of a lifetime? But, surprisingly, Mack gets over his fears in a red-hot minute, and the group is on their way. 

Since the premise is dropped so quickly, the search is on for a storyline to create a throughline. Will the movie just be a series of jams with the Mallards’ unjamming themselves over and over? Yes. But it also tries to be a story about father/son bonding. And it wants to be a story about a malicious chef with a taste for ducks of any type. In other words, Migration never settles down to tell a single story; instead, it meanders all over the map in the exact opposite manner of a migrating duck.

Carol Kane as Erin the Great Blue Heron, Keegan-Michael Key as Delroy, and Awkwafina as a pigeon named Chump bring the most life to the film. Kane is especially funny as Erin, who appears to be a psychopath with a heart of gold. Danny DeVito is absolutely wasted in his role; in fact, his character is often missing or mute for huge chunks of the movie.

Special Features:

  • Fly Hard – Cartoon Short based on Migration characters
  • Mooned – Cartoon Short based on Minion characters
  • Midnight Mission – Cartoon Short based on Despicable Me characters
  • Microphone Madness – the cast behind the microphones
  • Meet the Cast – seven short interviews of the filmmakers regarding cast members
  • Taking Flight: The Making of…
  • The Art of Flight – Animatics of key scenes from simple drawings to finished product
  • The Sound of Flight – Interview with the composer, John Powell
  • How to Draw – Mack, Delroy, Chump, and Gwen
  • Build Your Own Pop-Up Book – Step-by-step instructions to make a pop-up book
  • Calling All Birds – Crafts to make that cause quacking noises
  • Best Nests – How to make nests and/or a water feeder

The special features are robust and interesting. The collector’s edition of Migration comes with both Blu-ray and DVD discs and a digital code.

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Greg Hammond

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