Despite being a duck, Mack Mallard (voice of Kumail Nanjiani) is a father hen. He sees no point in him, his wife Pam (Elizabeth Banks) and their two children, Dax (Caspar Jennings) and Gwen (Tresi Gazal), moving away from the cozy pond where they live.
A migratory bird stopover at their home rekindles Pam and the children’s sense of adventure. Mack declines an invitation to follow them to Jamaica, but a conversation with his lazy Uncle Dan (Danny DeVito) changes his mind. So the five fly to the Caribbean without knowing how to get there.
The screenplay by Mike White and Benjamin Renner – the latter is also co-director – beautifully addresses openness to the world, risk-taking and trust in strangers. Although slightly emphasized, these themes are treated with humor and kindness. Migration is not moralistic, rather it presents an optimistic vision of life in society. A proposition that is becoming increasingly rare, even in family works. Remember that Frenchman Benjamin Renner co-directed the very beautiful Ernest and Célestine, in the running for the Oscar for best animated feature film in 2014.
Physical gags (slapsticks) abound and are well rendered by the fluid and colorful animations of the Illumination studio (the films Despicable Me and Minions, The Super Mario Bros. Movie). The environments are also magnificent: the gloomy cabin of a couple of old herons, a vast and frenetic New York, a most welcoming breeding farm. The action moves regularly and the first-person, mid-flight shots are spectacular.
Migration should please the whole family and confirm to those who spend their winters in the South that they are making the right choice.