MIGRATION 4K UHD Review

3.5 Stars A fun adventure from the studio that created Minions and Despicable Me.
Migration 2023 review

Migration(2023) is the latest fun offering from Illumination Studios, the producers behind Minions and the Despicable Me films.

Migration (2023)
Released: 22 Dec 2023
Rated: PG
Runtime: 83 min
Director: Benjamin Renner, Guylo Homsy
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Tresi Gazal, Elizabeth Banks
Writer(s): Mike White, Benjamin Renner
Plot: A family of ducks try to convince their overprotective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime.
IMDB rating: 6.7
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, Spanish 7.1 DD+:Spanish 7.1 DD+, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 23 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Amaray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: All
Release Date: 02/27/2024
MSRP: $39.98

The Production: 3.5/5

Migration Screenshot

A family of ducks is at the center of Migration, the latest feature offering from Illumination Studios(Despicable Me).  Kumail Nanjiani and Elizabeth Banks play the voices of Mack and Pam, a duck couple with their own offspring, Gwen(Tresi Gazal) and Dax(Caspar Jennings).  This duck family also has a crazy uncle Dan, voiced by Danny DeVito.  The voice cast also includes Carol Kane, Keegan-Michael Key, and Awkwafina.

Migration Screenshot

Mack and Pam are happy and content in their home in Moosehead Pond until their children meet a flock heading for the winter to Jamaica.  Mack is averse to taking any risks for himself and his family, but the spirit of adventure takes sway over the other members of the family until Mack is coaxed into a journey to Jamaica.

Migration Screenshot

The trip to Jamaica is peppered with interesting and dangerous episodes.  At one point, the family is taken in by a couple of herons for dinner, and the ducks are afraid that they will be the dinner.  The flock also find themselves in the big city, where they meet Delroy(Keegan-Michael Key), a Jamaican macaw which they liberate from his imprisonment so that he can guide them to the Caribbean.  In doing so, they make an enemy of a murderous chef who pursues them on their quest.

Migration Screenshot

Although I enjoy animated films from Illumination Studios, I came into Migration with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised.  The character design appears somewhat generic at first glance, however, the animators and writers succeed in making the characters come alive with wonderful personality and movement.  The plot of Migration is a series of comic episodes that join together the chapters of their journey south.  There is even some character growth, especially for Mack as he learns that the rewards of trying new experiences are worth the risks for himself and his family.

Migration Screenshot

Migration is a fun film for all ages that gives the adults enough to enjoy with the kids.  At a running time of 83 minutes, it never overstays its welcome but may leave you wanting more.

Migration Screenshot

 

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Migration Screenshot

Migration appears on 4K disc in its original 2.39:1 screen aspect ratio via the HEVC codec.  The color scheme enhanced with HDR really pops, as may be evident in the screen grabs accompanying this review.  The three-dimensional animation shows an abundance of fine detail in 2160p.  The 4K disc provides a sublime presentation of the film.

Migration Screenshot

Audio: 4/5

Migration Screenshot

The English Dolby Atmos track plays by default on 4K, with Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 Dolby Digital also available as options.  The Dolby Atmos audio makes nice use of the full soundstage with ambient sounds throughout with directional audio employed well at certain times.  Dialogue is always crisp and audible over sound effects and the music score by John Powell(Happy Feet, Ferdinand).

Special Features: 4.5/5

Migration Screenshot

Special features include all of the following on the 4K disc:

Fly Hard(4:01): Chump(Awkwafina) is featured in this mini-movie in which she flies through a blizzard in New York City.

Mooned(8:40):  How does a minion stranded on the moon with Vector get back to Earth?  This mini-movies shows how.

Midnight Mission(4:52):  Featuring Agnes and the Minions from Despicable Me.

Microphone Madness(3:11):  Behind the scenes with the voice actors as they ad-lib and flub their lines.

Meet The Cast:  Featurettes for Kumail Nanjiani: Mack(2:06), Elizabeth Banks: Pam(1:47), Keegan-Michael Key: Delroy(2:27), Awkwafina: Chump(2:13), Danny DeVito: Uncle Dan(2:09), Carol Kane: Erin(2:09), and Caspar Jennings: Dax & Tresi Gazal: Gwen(2:49).

Taking Flight: The Making of Migration(5:29):  Producer Chris Meledandri talks about the 4 year process in bringing the characters of Migration to the silver screen.

The Art of Flight(1:58):  This highlights the evolution from storyboards to animation for the characters’ flight style in Migration.

The Sound of Flight(2:57):  Composer John Powell talks about creation of his dynamic music score for Migration.

How To Draw:  The kids (and some adults) may enjoy these featurettes on how to draw the characters of Migration.  This is in chapters for Mack(4:06), Delroy(2:37), Chump(3:07), and Gwen(2:01).

Build Your Own Pop-Up Book(11:07):  This is a creative activity for the kids to follow along to create their own pop-up books

Calling All Birds:  This consists of two featurettes showing the kids how to design noisemakers for The Mack Quack(2:38), The Heron Honk(1:29), and The Chump Chirp(1:25).

Best Nests:  These featurettes show how to design Nests(3:48) and a Water Feeder(1:55).

Also included is a blu-ray disc of the film and a paper insert with validation code for digital download of the film via the MoviesAnywhere app.

Migration Screenshot

Overall: 4/5

I should know better than to doubt the film studio that created the Minions films.  Migration surpassed my low expectations with engaging characters, various misadventures, and a spirit of fun permeating the film.  The video and audio presentation is exceptional.  There is also a wealth of special features, with the Mini-Movies being mandatory viewing.  Migration did not overstay its welcome, and its 83 minute running time left me wanting to see more of these characters.  Your mileage may vary, but if the Despicable Me films appeal to you, then Migration might just tickle your fancy as it did for me.

Timothy has worked background in theatrical features and television, just for the fun of it, in films directed by Peter Segal and Christopher Nolan. His favorite film star is Bugs Bunny, and Timothy has discovered that most of the problems in life can be solved successfully (strangely enough) by asking “What would Bugs Bunny do?” Timothy has been involved with the Home Theater Forum since 2007 and has reported from Comic Con, interviewed Bruce Campbell and Danny Trejo, and reviewed classic animation and new theatrical releases on disc.

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David Norman

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Guess someone's got to be the proverbial parrot -- but no 3D disc anywhere so far.

Apparently there is a 2D/3D Vudu item if you want and don't won't to take the chance somebody/somewhere might release it someday
 

Josh Steinberg

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This was a miss/fail for our family. We had pretty high expectations from the goofy trailers that made it seem like a fun “road trip” kind of movie, but we found those trailers to be a little bit deceptive, obscuring the film’s darker undertones. What could have been a nice, pleasant film about the duck family’s migration detoured into an action movie, which I don’t think was necessary.

It was sort of the same knock that I had against The Secret Life of Pets, and I think @Mike Frezon had the same reaction to Pets that I did. That movie presented itself as a story of what your pets do all day when you’re not at home (great family-friendly premise!) but also turned out to be an action movie about pets secretly being spies getting into more mature spy craft with more violence than was necessary. All they had to do was make a movie about pets at home without humans and the concept sells itself. Why they turned it into a generic action movie full of violence was beyond me.

Same problem with Migration - at one point, you’ve got a human bad guy on something akin to a military aircraft firing weapons at ducks and planning to exterminate a colony of them. I mean… was that really a necessary direction to take? I thought the basic premise of a duck family taking their little ones on their first migration and feeling a little “fish out of water” on the journey was more than enough to sustain the film. My kids loved those parts. They did not enjoy when humans entered the picture acting brutish and nasty.

This might be better for the ten-and-over crowd but it’s being marketed as being for the youngest family members and I feel it was just a little much for Pre-K ages. And it really didn’t need to be.

A movie we looked forward to as a family for months but were ultimately disappointed by.
 

Malcolm R

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I think that's what happens when they try and make a movie for "all ages". If it's too tame, older kids and adults won't bother. Also likely a reason we see very few G-rated films released. Even animated films are mostly PG these days.
 

Mike Frezon

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This was a miss/fail for our family. We had pretty high expectations from the goofy trailers that made it seem like a fun “road trip” kind of movie, but we found those trailers to be a little bit deceptive, obscuring the film’s darker undertones. What could have been a nice, pleasant film about the duck family’s migration detoured into an action movie, which I don’t think was necessary.

It was sort of the same knock that I had against The Secret Life of Pets, and I think @Mike Frezon had the same reaction to Pets that I did. That movie presented itself as a story of what your pets do all day when you’re not at home (great family-friendly premise!) but also turned out to be an action movie about pets secretly being spies getting into more mature spy craft with more violence than was necessary. All they had to do was make a movie about pets at home without humans and the concept sells itself. Why they turned it into a generic action movie full of violence was beyond me.

Same problem with Migration - at one point, you’ve got a human bad guy on something akin to a military aircraft firing weapons at ducks and planning to exterminate a colony of them. I mean… was that really a necessary direction to take? I thought the basic premise of a duck family taking their little ones on their first migration and feeling a little “fish out of water” on the journey was more than enough to sustain the film. My kids loved those parts. They did not enjoy when humans entered the picture acting brutish and nasty.

This might be better for the ten-and-over crowd but it’s being marketed as being for the youngest family members and I feel it was just a little much for Pre-K ages. And it really didn’t need to be.

A movie we looked forward to as a family for months but were ultimately disappointed by.
@Josh Steinberg : We really should have a movie weekend together sometime! :D

I'm with you 100% on Migration. Peg and I took our two granddaughters (ages 7-9) to see it in the theater a month or so ago. When it was fun it was fun. When it was stupid and mean, it was no longer fun. The girls were okay with it and we had some nice post-movie conversations about the characters and most-favorite & least-favorite parts. But while I went in with low expectations, I was not disappointed.

Personally, I've already forgotten the film. It reminds me of most of the recent efforts from Disney Animation. Boring, formulaic, and lacking charm. A picture like this should concentrate on the small issues facing your prototypical duck family (after all, aren't they interesting enough?!) instead of insisting upon a violent threat to their very existence. For example, I absolutely LOVE the smallness of the universe in the TV show Bluey. A loving nuclear family that interacts with each other in everyday scenarios and learns lessons (both adults and kids). Not altogether dissimilar from a '50s show like Leave It to Beaver. The writing is smart. It's not boring. Characters grow. Kids are kids. And it is entertaining.

I know there are many who disagree with me. And, like Malcolm says, I understand studios want to play to as wide an audience of kids as possible. But its really just lazy to create chases and attacks and peril in non-inventive ways...and that seems to be the common fallback in current day kids films.
 
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