‘Migration’ movie review : Taking flight on jolly wings

This endearing holiday comedy provides harmless pleasure with a blend of straightforward humor, exuberant action, outstanding animation, and required life lessons.

An eight-minute short film called Mooned precedes the 2010 feature Despicable Me. In it, Jason Segel’s character Vector, the nemesis of Steve Carell’s character Gru, is shown attempting to escape the moon, only to be abandoned by Gru at the conclusion of the film. Mooned, which was created and directed by Pierre Coffin and Jonathan del Val, also includes Yellow and Blue Minions (Coffin) who attempt to assist Vector in leaving the moon. Sadly, Vector does not catch on to that. Mooned is a bright, lively, and hilarious enough preamble for the main event.

We encounter a family of mallard ducks who reside in a New England woodland. Anxious father Mack (Kumail Nanjiani) is a proponent of living a quiet life and keeping your head down. This is not the opinion of his wife Pam (Elizabeth Banks), son Dax (Caspar Jennings), or daughter Gwen (Tresi Gazal). On their journey to Jamaica, a family of ducks stops by the pond, and Dax falls in love with Kim (Isabela Merced). Pam, Dax, and Gwen think it would be wonderful to go on an expedition and explore the world outside the pond, while Mack gently chastises the family.

Mack unknowingly persuades his grumpy Uncle Dan (Danny DeVito) to go to Jamaica. A storm blows them off course, and after sheltering with the scary but ultimately kindly Erin (Carol Kane), a blue heron, and her mate, the family come to the New York City, where they meet the tough leader of pigeons, Chump (Awkwafina) and a homesick macaw Delroy (Keegan-Michael Key) who could tell them the way to Jamaica.

The Mallard Family finally gets to see the blue mountains of Jamaica after many adventures, including cutting knives with a bejeweled chef who Chump wisely characterizes as “a predator, but instead of eating you, he serves you to a bunch of lazier predators” and meeting a duck leader who enjoys yoga, GooGoo (David Mitchell).

Excellent voice talent is used throughout; De Vito is fantastic as Dan, and Awkwafina is instantly recognizable as the lovable, raspy, take-no-prisoners chump. The action also has just the perfect amount of spark. Without the artificiality of computer animation, the animation is colorful and captivating. Everything about Migration is perfect, including the length and overall style.

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