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Benjamin Renner
Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Danny DeVito
Writing Credits:
Mike White

A family of ducks tries to convince their overprotective father to go on the vacation of a lifetime.

Box Office:
$72 million.
Opening Weekend
$12,453,275 on 3761 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English DVS
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

83 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 2/27/2024

• 3 Mini-Movies
• “Microphone Madness” Featurette
• “Meet the Cast” Featurette
• “Taking Flight” Featurette
• “The Art of Flight” Featurette
• “The Sound of Flight” Featurette
• “Build Your Own Pop-Up Book” Featurette
• “How to Draw” Tutorial
• “Calling All Birds” Featurette
• “Best Nests” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Migration [4K UHD] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 6, 2024)

Illumination made their name with the Despicable Me franchise, but they’ve enjoyed ample success with other properties. Indeed, 2023’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie became the year’s second biggest box office hit.

While not nearly as successful, Illumination’s second 2023 release also did pretty well. Migration started slowly but eventually nabbed $268 million worldwide on a $72 million budget, so it turned a moderate profit.

Mack Mallard (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani) lives with wife Pam (Elizabeth Banks) and kids Dax (Caspar Jennings) and Gwen (Tresi Gazal) in New England. They never migrate, but when they meet ducks headed to Jamaica, the other Mallards pressure Mack to go.

Intensely cautious, Mack resists these pleas, but he eventually agrees. Along with Mack’s Uncle Dan (Danny DeVito), the Mallard clan heads south and encounters a variety of comedic challenges along the way.

Pixar gets most of the attention as the pre-eminent creator of CG-animated films, and for good reason: they originated the form with 1995’s Toy Story. Even with the studio’s recent run of box office struggles, they continue to pioneer and advance computer animation technology and art.

On the other hand, Illumination never really seems to push any boundaries. They produce reliable animated flicks without the same apparent eye for innovation at Pixar.

Which doesn’t help the genre particularly, but it does boost the bottom line. Pixar movies regularly cost $175 million to $200 million, whereas Illumination flicks average around $80 million, with nothing pricier than the $100 million of Mario.

I don’t fault the budgets of those Pixar movies, mainly because you can see the money on screen. However, it becomes much more difficult for Pixar flicks to turn profits, whereas Illumination movies can do mediocre business and still at least break even.

Take Migration vs. 2023’s Pixar flick, Elemental. While the latter earned nearly twice as much as the former, it also cost nearly three times as much to make.

This means Elemental broke even at best, whereas Migration turned a profit. I appreciate that Pixar takes more risks, but this also leaves the studio less room for error.

Does all this discussion of money look like I’m filibustering to avoid an actual discussion of Migration as a movie? Bingo, for Migration provides such a mediocre affair that I find it tough to conjure much to say about it.

Not that this means I view Migration as a bad film. It provides a perfectly watchable 83 minutes of comedy and action.

Unfortunately, it never threatens to become anything more than that. Eventually studios will trot out films written by AI, and I suspect those screenplays will look a lot like the one composed for Migration.

Screenwriter Mike White started off with a mix of off-beat projects, but now he seems focused mainly on big paycheck movies. Granted, he still writes some “indie” efforts like 2017’s Brad’s Status and Beatriz at Dinner, but his movie toward generic family fare still surprises me.

This seems especially true because Migration comes with so few attempts to do anything daring. The movie delivers a wholly by-the-numbers affair that really does feel like a committee created it.

Migration delivers the expected mild drama and the expected challenges and the expected victories and the expected conflicts and the expected stabs at comedy. At no point does anything about the movie attempt to break out of its factory-assembled confines.

Again, don’t interpret this to mean I find Migration to deliver a poor experience, as it manages modest entertainment. A good cast definitely helps.

In addition to those already mentioned, the movie features Keegan-Michael Key, Carol Kane, and Awkwafina, among others. They all provide perfectly competent performances.

They can’t elevate the pedestrian material, though. Migration delivers a painless 83 minutes but nothing better than that.

Footnote: a series of “still photos” shown during the end credits offers a minor epilogue.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Migration appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. No issues materialized via this Dolby Vision presentation.

Sharpness satisfied. As expected from an animated flick, the image showed nice clarity.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. No source flaws came with the transfer, as the movie lacked any form of defects.

Colors went with a somewhat subdued pastel feel much of the time to match the autumnal settings. Matters followed more of a bold path in the stark NYC scenes.

Within those parameters, the hues looked positive, so the various tones came across as clear and well-developed. HDR added impact and oomph to the hues.

Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while low-light shots offered good delineation. HDR gave whites and contrast extra punch. Across the board, this became a satisfying image.

As for the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack, it opened up the film in a satisfying manner. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix didn’t give us wall-to-wall theatrics, but it managed to use the spectrum well.

As expected, the film’s action sequences boasted nice breadth and activity, and the street and city elements created a fine sense of involvement. While the soundscape didn’t stun us on a frequent basis, it provided more than enough to succeed.

Audio quality seemed consistently solid. Speech appeared natural and distinctive, and no edginess or other issues marred the dialogue.

Music sounded warm and full, while effects showed good clarity and accuracy. When necessary, bass response came across as deep and tight. All of this lifted the track to “B+” status.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical audio.

Finished 2K, the Dolby Vision image benefited mainly from HDR, as it gave blacks and colors greater range than the Blu-ray. Both showed pretty similar delineation, but the kick we got from HDR made the 4K a moderately more satisfying visual experience.

As we move to extras, the disc comes with three mini-movies. We get Fly Hard (4:00), Mooned (8:40) and Midnight Mission (4:52).

Hard offers a new adventure with the Migration characters that focuses on Chump. It provides a fairly rollicking little adventure that doesn’t wear out its welcome.

Mooned ran prior to theatrical screenings of Migration and brings back Vector - the primary villain from the first Despicable Me - to face off against the Minions. Close in tone to Looney Tunes, it brings some amusement.

Finally, Midnight features the Minions as they attempt to figure out how to eliminate nighttime darkness for scared young Agnes. That sentimental premise aside, the short mainly focuses on Minion slapstick and it becomes reasonably entertaining.

A mix of featurettes ensue, and Microphone Madness runs three minutes, 11 seconds. It shows clips of the actors at work and provides some value in that domain, even if it focuses more on bloopers than anything else.

Split into seven segments, Meet the Cast occupies a total of 15 minutes, 37 seconds. Across these clips, we hear from director Benjamin Renner, editor Christian Gazal, character animator Audrey Fobis, composer John Powell, and Illumination founder Chris Meledandri.

As expected, “Meet” looks at cast, characters and performances. A few minor insights emerge but we mostly find praise for the actors.

Taking Flight goes for five minutes, 29 seconds. It involves Meledandri, Renner, Gazal, Fobis, co-director Guylo Homsy, compositing supervisor Celine Allegre, computer graphics supervisor Francois Boudaille, production designer Colin Stimpson, supervising animator Fabrice Senia, lighting supervisor Thierry Noblet, animation director Gwenole Oulc’hen, and layout cinematography supervisor Damien Bapst.

“Flight” covers art and animation. It remains a bit on the fluffy side but it comes with a decent layer of information.

Next comes The Art of Flight. It lasts one minute, 58 seconds and features a non-narrated look at various stages of animation to become a brisk but moderately engaging reel.

The Sound of Flight occupies two minutes, 57 seconds. Here we get info from Powell.

We look at the film’s score, though surprisingly, we get nothing about audio design despite the title. Anyway, Powell offers a few useful notes.

A tutorial called How to Draw breaks into four segments. These cover the characters Mack (2:47), Delroy (3:08), Chump (2:38) and Gwen (1:58).

Across these, Renner provides quick details on how to sketch those roles. In addition to the technical specifics, he gives some insights about how personalities influence design. These elements make Renner’s reels more interesting than anticipated.

Another lesson comes with Build Your Own Pop-Up Book (11:07). As implied, this teaches kids how to create their own tome at home. It seems cute and might become a fun activity for the family.

Split into three segments, Calling All Birds fills a total of five minutes, 34 seconds. An additional activity for kids, it educates viewers how to emulate “the Mack Quack” (2:38), “the Heron Honk” (1:30) and “the Chump Chirp” (1:26). Expect another cute feature for kids.

The disc ends with Best Nests, one more tutorial. It covers “Nests” (3:49) and “Water Feeder” (1:55) as it teaches kids how to make bird locations. Like its predecessors, it feels interesting for that audience.

A second disc provides a Blu-ray copy of Migration. It includes the same extras as the 4K.

If you seek mediocre animated fare, Migration fits the bill. While the film provides a perfectly watchable affair, it never gives us anything especially creative or memorable. The 4K UHD brings solid visuals and audio but supplements seem superficial most of the time. We get a fairly solid release for a fairly forgettable film.

To rate this film visit the prior review of MIGRATION

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main