image for Migration

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 6 (themes, scary scenes, violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Migration
  • a review of Migration completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 December 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to themes, scary scenes, and violence.
Children aged 5–6 Parental guidance recommended due to themes, scary scenes, and violence.
Children aged 7 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Migration
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes, some scenes may scare very young children
Length: 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Mack Mallard (voice of Kumail Nanjiani) has lived his whole life in Moosehead Pond. Fearful of what lies beyond the tree line, he does his best to keep his wife Pam (voice of Elizabeth Banks) and two ducklings Dax (voice of Caspar Jennings) and Gwen (voice of Tresi Gazal) content with their simple and uneventful life. When an exotic flock of migrating birds lands in their pond on their way south, Dax and Pam are entranced by the stories they hear and very much want to join the flock as they make their way to Jamaica. Mack will not hear of it but slovenly Uncle Dan (voice of Danny DeVito) unwittingly helps him see things in a different light. Too late to join the others, the Mallard family decides to embrace adventure and head off on their own. Their inexperience leads them into New York City where they encounter a parrot called Delroy (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) who, after being freed from the terrifying chef who has kept him captive for years, agrees to guide them to Jamaica. The trip, however, is not as straightforward as it should be and a pit stop quickly turns into a rescue mission as the ragtag crew try to save countless birds from the cruel clutches of the very chef they thought they had just escaped. Will the Mallard family make it to Jamaica or will they perish in the process? And is the world really as scary as they first believed it to be?


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Fear of the unknown; Separation from a parent; Animal cruelty.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Mack tells a story about psycho killers designed to eat ducklings.
  • Two ducklings are shown squished and mangled.
  • Dax and Gwen fight over berries.
  • Dax roughly shoves Gwen under the water.
  • A buzzing fly is killed and eaten by a heron.
  • The Mallard family all nearly crash into a bridge. Uncle Dan gets stuck between two pipes.
  • The family falls off a building into traffic, nearly hitting cars and getting hit by passing vans, trucks, buses, or people.
  • Uncle Dan gets caught and tangled in a flag and falls into a park.
  • Countless pigeons surround and attack Uncle Dan who is holding a sandwich.
  • The ducks kick at the pigeons.
  • A pigeon is hit by a bus, then by a truck and then run over by a scooter.
  • A chef is described as a predator – “Someone who will feed you to a much lazier group of predators”.
  • A chef smashes a plate out of a waiter’s hand.
  • Ducks are cooked and others are about to be cooked.
  • Pam and Mack are nearly attacked with cleavers and frying pans as they try to escape a kitchen.
  • Oranges fly through the air, dishes break and Pam and Mack are kicked with human feet as they try to escape a dance floor.
  • Mack’s family jumps on his stomach after he swallows a key.
  • Mack slams into a chef after inhaling air from a balloon.
  • Mack is repeatedly slammed in the face with a shovel.
  • A chef steps on Dax and damages his wings before pinning him down with a two pronged fork.
  • A chef is about to use a butchers knife on the ducks when a bunch of birds begin to escape.
  • A chef shoves a man and woman down.
  • Pam and Mack are grabbed by the necks and shoved into a metal cage.
  • Pam bites the chef on the nose and Delroy throws tomatoes at him.
  • All the birds begin to throw food at the chef, loading Uncle Dan’s beak and using him like a gun. They then shoot a large pumpkin into his face.
  • Pam and Mack fall out of the aircraft, still in a cage. They hold on to each other, waiting for impact. Their ducklings free them while the rest of the birds break from their cage and fly out of the aircraft, slapping the chef in the face with their wings as they leave. The chef is shown, battered and bruised, while dangling upside down from a net.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Mack tells a bedtime story aimed at making his children ‘healthily fearful’ of the things that lie outside their pond. He describes monstrous predators, including herons, that come to kill ducklings and, while Pam tries to soften the story, Mack describes how the ducklings are squashed and mangled. Gwen is absolutely terrified. The distorted images of the predators are menacing and creepy and some children are likely to be distressed by the image of the father picking up a mangled duckling in his arms.
  • When an old heron insists on the Mallard family staying at her place during a storm, they are all haunted by images from stories they have been told about how herons will kill and eat ducklings. Both the old female and her partner are wizened and creepy, they appear both sinister and menacing, with razor sharp talons, vicious looking beaks and bulging eyes. The female insists that the family sleep in a frying pan, she won’t allow them to leave and there is talk about getting eaten by nocturnal animals. The entire family is terrified and they try to make an escape. Dax and Gwen are both eaten by a fish but are then saved by the heron they believed would kill them. The scene is intense, the music suspenseful and many children may be upset by the impending sense of danger and doom.
  • There is a scary-looking shadow that approaches the Mallard family as the voice of an enraged pigeon calls out of a tunnel.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The chef pursues his escaped ducks and both Pam and Mack are captured with the rest of the birds in a big net. They are yelling at Dax and Gwen to stay away as the ducklings watch, horrified, as their parents are swallowed by a large net and disappear into an aircraft. Gwen is freaking out that their parents are about to be cooked and that Dax can’t fly because his wings are injured. They are left behind in the dark, hopeless and alone.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Gwen says to Dax, in relation to a female duck, “I am so sorry you can’t have babies with her”.
  • Gwen later tells the same duck that, “Dax kept saying your name while he was sleeping”.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • You feathery wart!
  • Trashy, trashy vermin!
  • Chump
  • Heck
  • Stupid
  • Country bumpkins
  • “Bustin’ your bills”.

In a nutshell

Migration is an animated adventure, featuring a charming cast of characters and a fast paced, albeit predictable, plot. This is a family film that can be enjoyed by all but the youngest of viewers.

The main messages from this movie are to remain optimistic, even when things look hopeless; and that you should not be bound by your fears but rather face them, taking risks that allow you to experience life instead of having it simply pass you by.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Bravery
  • Loyalty
  • Helpfulness
  • Compassion
  • Trust.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Not obeying your parents when they ask you to do something.
  • Allowing your fear to determine how you live your life.
  • Believing the stories you hear instead of learning what is true for yourself.


In cinemas, the (Pixar) short film ‘Mooned’ is likely to be shown before the feature presentation. It depicts the villainous Vector, from ‘Despicable Me’, trying to get back to Earth after his attempts at stealing the moon fail. One character drinks what appears to be a martini, there is a lot of slapstick violence where Vector is repeatedly smashed, crushed, run over, or bashed. He winds up stranded, wearing nothing but his underwear, on a foreign planet. Vector is repeatedly rude to the minions and alien attempting to help him and he repeatedly uses words such as “stupid”, “dork”, and “poop”.