When the animation company ILLUMINATION puts out a movie, you expect a well told story with beautifully rendered animation. With “Migration,” those expectations are not only met, but they are also exceeded.
We meet the Mallard family as they leisurely relax in a beautiful, New England Pond. Father Mack (Nanjiani) and mom Pam (Banks) spend their days watching their youngsters – Dax (Caspar Jennings) and Gwen (Trasi Gazal) – swim contently across the water. When they are visited by a flock of ducks heading to Jamaica for the winter, they are encouraged to head south with the flock. Mack is over-protective and prefers the safety and familiarity of the pond. Yet Pam would like a little adventure in their lives and, with the help of the kids, convinces Mack to take flight. Accompanied by Uncle Dan (DeVito), they head off to the adventure of a lifetime.
Ever since “Despicable Me,” ILLUMINATION has released a string of outstanding films that are funny, family friendly and, most of all, beautiful to watch. I’m not sure what their secret is, but whatever it is, I hope they don’t change it. Even mighty PIXAR has had a few duds in their past, making ILLUMINATION, in my opinion, THE leader in film animation. “Migration” takes the Mallard family on a journey that takes them from big cities to rural countryside, with each location beautifully presented. Often, it’s like looking at a photograph, so detailed is the animation.
The cast features both familiar names (besides Nanjiani, Banks and DeVito, the vocal talent includes Carol Kane, Keegan Michael Key and Awkwafina) and fresh, bright voices who bring the characters to life. The script, by Benjamin Renner and Mike White – yes, “School of Rock” and “White Lotus” Mike White – is full of both fun and emotional moments. Like other ILLUMINATION films, these are characters you want to spend time with and, most importantly, want to succeed.
As an added bonus, there is a great short film called “Mooned” prior to the film. It will answer the haunting question of “Despicable Me” – Whatever happened to Vector?