MOVIE NEWS – French director Benjamin Renner was very surprised when he was asked to direct the animated film Migration. Production studio Illuminations is known for 3D animated family movies (Minions, Super Mario Bros.: The Movie), and Renner hand-draws his films, not to mention his artistic comics. The Americans, on the other hand, needed the hand-drawn sensibility of a sovereign creator and the refined European style he represented for the new production. It was a huge step forward for Renner to be able to direct the army of animators of the most successful American animation studio, however, he had a serious stipulation from the beginning.
“I already said at the time of the introduction that there would be no dirty jokes,” the Oscar-nominated creator (Ernest and Celestine) explained to Entertainment Weekly. – All animated films can be sold this way: the characters are playing Puck, and the children are rolling with laughter in the auditorium. That always comes in handy, but I never do that. I like jokes that are fun for the whole family, not just those under a certain age, and that are about something.”
In Migration, a sympathetic family of ducks takes off to see the world a bit and roast their bellies in Jamaica at the end of their journey. But by the time they get there, they will experience how much trouble comes when someone steps out of their comfort zone. According to Renner, the message of the Oscar-winning dramatic comedy The Family’s Little Treasure can also be discovered in the depths of the story, in which a dysfunctional family embarks on an adventurous journey to find itself with great difficulty along the way.
It also managed to avoid being a traditional sleazy kid movie on Duck Legs because one of its screenwriters is Mike White, who made a name for himself with such vitriolic social satires as the series The White Lotus. “In this film, there are more serious themes than usual, even poetry, if I may say so,” says White. – We wove into the story how difficult it is to be a parent, and what a person who was beaten by fate with a child really wants – I’m kidding! – while the film’s visuals and quite a few jokes are still sizzling enough for minors to enjoy without a cloud and not be confused by the more serious things to say.”
The presentation of Migration was originally scheduled for this summer, but then it was postponed to the December holiday season, which the creators do not mind at all. “Although our film doesn’t feature boring Christmas trees, reindeer-pulled sleighs with Santa Claus on a goat or a snowman, it’s still a real holiday movie,” White continues. – We get to know our ducks so that they are filled with the comforting feeling of home, sweet home, and then they take the world by the neck and realize: we are only really at home, where we can be with our loved ones. It would be hard to imagine a more Christmas message than this.”
(Migration – domestic premiere: December 7, 2023)