Migration (Christian Movie Review)
About the Film
Earlier this year, Disney CEO Bob Iger asserted that to win back audiences, the primary objective for movies needs to be providing entertainment rather than pushing messages. Migration is not a Disney film (it is from Illumination), but it is a template for that conviction. The movie never soars too high or plunges very deep emotionally, but it is a charming and wholesome story offering simple entertainment the whole family can enjoy.
Migration’s story is simple. A family of four ducks (along with a delightfully crazy uncle) decide to leave the safe sanctuary of their familiar lake to experience the wider world as they attempt to migrate to Jamacia. The journey quickly goes awry, leading to a series of amusing episodic adventures. Some older audiences may find the story too simplistic, but its straightforward approach makes it an easily accessible and digestible film. The movie is consistently entertaining, even if the isolated adventures never add up to much more than the sum of its parts.
Outside of a short opening sequence, the film also bucks the recent trend of creatively fusing together different aesthetic styles or animation approaches. There’s nothing unique or inventive about the visuals, but Migration is a pleasant-looking film. Everything is vibrant and brightly colored. The film also gives its story room to breathe and makes the most of its warm visuals, such as a beautiful scene in which the ducks playfully soar through the clouds and throw clouds like snowballs.
The movie compensates for its lack of emotional and thematic depth with plenty of humor. In fact, Migration is hilarious. Perhaps it merely tickles the feathers of my own personal sense of humor, but it had me laughing out loud more than I have in many movies this year. There are some slapstick and physical gags to please younger viewers as well as some instances of clever Bluey-esque humor that will be relatable for parents.
In several ways, Migration is a quintessential family film. Content-wise, it is one of the cleanest animated movies of the year. Thankfully, it lacks the unwanted language or sexual elements that have plagued some other family films, making it a safe and wholesome entertainment choice for families. In another sense, it is also a film that centers on family and the strength that comes from a loving and united family.
Migration may not have the captivating “magic” of some beloved animated films or the tear-jerking emotional resonance of early Pixar movies, but it is an uplifting story the whole family can enjoy. It’s a simple film, but it’s a fun adventure; and like the family of ducks, sometimes it’s worthwhile to set aside the anxieties and trials of life from time to time to go breezing through the clouds, laughing and enjoying life together.
Engage The Film
Strength of the Family
Migration is all about family and how each member plays an important role within the family unit. The story is less plot-driven and more about spending time with a family as they attempt to navigate the various joys and challenges of life together.
Throughout the various adventures, each of the family members is given an opportunity to be the hero, while also gaining a deeper appreciation for the strengths and perspectives of the others. The anxious, worrywart father finds strength in his wife’s carefree attitude, while she learns to appreciate her husband’s caution. The children learn to trust their parents’ wisdom, but the parents must also trust their children’s potential.
Leaving Your Comfort Zone
After the movie, my 8-year-old son shared that the lesson was “to be adventurous.” My son is not always the quickest to step out of his comfort zone or try new things, especially when there’s a chance of failure, so this was a welcome lesson for the film to explore. In many ways, the concerns and fears that kept the family contained in their lake sanctuary are validated. The world is a dangerous place. Yet, by facing those challenges alongside others, the experiences are worthwhile. The movie encourages children to be brave and step out of their comfort zones, while suggesting that parents must loosen their tight clutch and allow their children the opportunity to experience the ups and downs of life.