Migration (2023)

PG 83 min - Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family - 6 December 2023
Your rating:

After a migrating duck family alights on their pond with thrilling tales of far-flung places, the Mallard family embarks on a family road trip, from New England, to New York City, to tropical Jamaica.

Director:  Benjamin Renner


After a migrating duck family alights on their pond with thrilling tales of far-flung places, the Mallard family embarks on a family road trip, from New England, to New York City, to tropical Jamaica.

Tagline: Odd ducks welcome.


Official Website:  https://www.migration.movie
Language:  English
Release Date:  6 December 2023

Box Office

Budget:  $72,000,000
Revenue:  $153,914,297

Company Credits

Production Companies:  Universal Pictures, Illumination

Technical Specs

Runtime:  1 h 23 min

Illumination Continues the Trend with Another Animated Family Film That Is Generic Yet Fun.

Although Migration isn’t Illumination Entertainment’s best work, it is entertaining in a way that their earlier movies weren’t.

What’s Good: The jokes are made funnier and more amusing by the excellent voice acting.
What’s Bad: The movie’s concept and message seem to be ones we have seen a million times before.


2023 was a great year for animation thanks to The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which became one of the biggest hits at the box office, Nimona, a good animated film from Netflix, and the return of Chicken Run, a fun Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles adaptation. Illumination Entertainment appears to be on a roll with their whole library, and Migration, their newest animated picture, intends to end the year on a high note, much like their Mario movie did at the beginning of the summer.

Image from the movie "Migration"
© 2023 Universal Pictures − All right reserved.


To the annoyance of his wife Pam, nervous Mack Mallard keeps his children Dax and Gwen from exploring the outer world in a New England forest.

Mack shows no interest in the herd of migrating ducks that the Mallard family encounters one day while traveling south to Jamaica. Mack needs to open his eyes to the outside world, Pam urges him. Mack converses with his elderly Uncle Dan that evening; he, too, is reluctant to leave the pond. Mack is forced to reconsider his position after meeting Uncle Dan, and he chooses to allow his family to move, with Uncle Dan accompanying them at Gwen’s request. Nevertheless, they ultimately travel north rather than south.

They seek cover in a swamp beneath a boardwalk during a downpour, where they come upon Erin, an insane old heron, who invites them to stay the night in her cabin with her and her husband Harry. The herons demonstrate their good intents by rescuing Dax and Gwen from a catfish, despite their intimidating appearance.

The Mallards arrive in New York City the next day, where Uncle Dan gets lost and gets the ducks into problems with a gang of pigeons headed by the grizzled Chump. But Pam’s boldness wins them over to Chump’s way of thinking. Chump takes them to her pal Delroy, a Jamaican macaw who is owned by a human cook and lives in a cage.

Image from the movie "Migration"
© 2023 Universal Pictures − All right reserved.

Mack and Pam get into the restaurant where the chef works in order to get a key to Delroy’s cage because they want to release him. They escape the humans, find the key, and set Delroy free. Delroy kindly gives them directions to Jamaica.

Gwen pauses to use the restroom, but Mack soon discovers the entrance to a pekin-filled heaven. The gang starts having fun, but Dax quickly discovers that the entire location is actually a duck farm, and the previous chef is one of its customers. After being stepped on by the chef, Dax loses his wing feathers and becomes flightless, yet he still assists the Pekins and their family in leaving the farm.

When the birds pause to rest at a resort, Mack scolds Dax for being careless, which infuriates Dax.

Dax and Gwen are able to flee as the chef soon locates the birds via helicopter and captures them in a net. Inside, the cook has the intention of killing Mack and Pam first. This makes Pam depressed, but Mack cheers her up. The chef catches them as they attempt to use a button they learnt at the restaurant to release the birds. Delroy eventually gives up at this time, and he, Uncle Dan, and the pekins start throwing fruits and vegetables at the chef.

A squash knocks the chef out, and when he hits a button, the chopper drops Pam and Mack, who are still trapped in their cage. Their young rescue and set them free; Dax has repaired his wings with feathers from the other birds. Father and son make their silent peace.

Image from the movie "Migration"
© 2023 Universal Pictures − All right reserved.

The birds, now under Dax’s leadership, finally reach Jamaica, where Delroy meets up with his own pals and the Mallards rejoin with the duck family who had previously visited their pond. When Mack shows the family a group of penguins attempting to reach the South Pole the next spring, they are just ready to leave for home.

Examining The Screenplay:

Migration feels and looks exactly like what you would expect an Illumination Entertainment film to feel like. This is not a bad thing at all; rather, it indicates that the studio has finally solidified its aesthetic to the point where it is now easy for them to set themselves apart from companies like Dreamworks and Disney. You only need to look at how beautifully The Super Mario Bros. Movie animated those worlds to see what a talented group this is. Their animation is of the highest caliber.

Cementing a style in this way, though, can also lead to expectations, and with expectations comes a certain familiarity. The movie Migration gives the impression that someone at Illumination saw the excellent 2016 film “Storks” and thought they could do it better. Sadly, despite the obvious effort, the story and characters in Migration feel more akin to those of a DreamWorks production, which means that while the movie is technically sound, it may not be particularly memorable.

There’s a lot of humor in Migration, including some really funny gags. In the meanwhile, the film follows a well-known storyline in which a character must make a decision in order to hold onto what they have or face losing everything. Many animated films have a plot similar to this one, however unlike The Incredibles or The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Migration lacks a unique element that would set it apart from the others.

Image from the movie "Migration"
© 2023 Universal Pictures − All right reserved.

In contrast to Migration, which has the same old look and feel, other movies fall into a certain genre, such as The Incredibles’ superhero theme, or perhaps they feature an animation technique that feels novel and unique. Little children will like it and have a fantastic time, but unfortunately, I don’t think the movie has what it takes to stand the test of time; it is good but not remarkable. Story execution is fundamental, and the movie excels in that area.

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