The new animated film from Illumination – the studio behind the Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets series – borrows its anxiety levels from Pixar productions and plot points from the first Madagascar movie and Chicken Run. In Migration, a family of mallards bravely decides to leave its pond and head to Jamaica.

This avian equivalent of a road trip doesn’t go as expected. The wild ducks land up in the Big Apple. The realisation that the flight path is off by several hundred kilometres is among the most imaginative moments in Benjamin Renner’s film, which is strictly feather-light fun.

Mack (Kumail Nanjiani) would be the hand-wringing type if he had hands to wring. Pam (Elizabeth Banks) keep a firm eye on her husband, her son Dax (Caspar Jennings) and daughter Gewn (Tresi Gazal). Max’s uncle Dan (Danny DeVito) is an add-on for reasons that are never clear.

In New York City, the quintet meets the resourceful pigeon Chump (Awkwafina) and the caged Scarlet macaw Delroy (Keegan-Michael Key). Apart from making a solid case for a vegetarian diet, the movie stretches out an already thin plot, finally taking flight in its extended climax.

The misadventures are strictly of the human variety, with no attempt made to use actual migration patterns of birds in any meaningful way. The 82-minute film is colourful, cheerful and cheesy, with suitably bird-brained dialogue and dizzying movements to suit the 3D enhancement. The anarchic humour of the Despicable Me films, or even Penguins of Madagascar, is missing, and is sorely missed.

Migration (2023).