Ducks take a gander

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Duck Duck Goose

  • Children’s animation; Cert PG, contains violence, and coarse language; 1hr 31mins
  • Starring: Jim Gaffiga, Zendaya, Lance Lim, Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Diedrich Bader, Reggie Watts, Carl Reiner, Stephen Fry, Craig Ferguson, Jennifer Grey and Rick Overton
  • Director: Christopher Jenkins

IT’S not very often that a film for children is more in-tune with adults than the kids, but this is one such film.

With an excess of fart gags and poo jokes, Duck, Duck, Goose is an animated feature that knows their real audience is the parent. Though it inspires a few eyerolls – this movie is reasonably adult-friendly.

Ping the bachelor goose, voiced by Jim Gaffigan (Staten Island Summer), is an over-confident and irresponsible skite. Though he thinks he knows it all, he has much to learn.

Deciding to sleep-in on migration day, (he is so fast, he can catch up), Ping is waylaid by two ducklings separated from their flock and farmer on their way to Happy Valley for the winter.

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Trying to shirk any potential adult responsibilities, Ping’s escape from the pair is thwarted when he breaks his right wing.

Realising he must make the long and perilous migration on foot, Ping cynically decides to bring the ducklings along as bait for any dangerous bird-eating predators they may come across.

The film takes advantage of its setting in China to show some of the county’s beautiful karst landscapes.

The film’s creators wisely chose not to portray the characters with oriental features nor accents and as such managed to escape any potential for accusations of whitewashing or racism.

Though Ping becomes increasingly fond of his charges, as he is unable to express his feelings and he continually has personality clashes with older sister, voiced by Zendaya (Spiderman: The Homecoming), who in the end proves to be the more mature of the bunch.

A big fight brings about the separation of the group as the ducklings discover that Ping did not have their best interests at heart after all.

After meeting a flying squirrel, who also happens to be a naturopathic healer, Ping’s wing is repaired and he flies off to complete his migration.

At the same time, the two ducklings are reunited with their flock and discover they are not headed for Happy Valley at all – but a much scarier place.

Has Ping changed his selfish ways or not?

7/10

mark.rieder@whakatanebeacon.co.nz

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