Duck Duck Goose is a computer animated comedy film starring Jim Gaffigan, Zendaya, Lance Lim, Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Diedrich Bader and Carl Reiner. Set in the country side of China in present day, the film was written by Rob Muir, Scott Atkinson, Tegan West and Chris Jenkins (who also served as director). It was released to theaters in China on March 9, 2018, earning a total of $15.3 million. It was initially to be released in the United States on April 20, 2018, but was quietly pulled from theaters for undisclosed reasons and released on Netflix on July 20, 2018.
The film follows a grey goose named Peng (Jim Gaffigan) who’s trying to make his way to the Haven after he broke his wing. He is accompanied by 2 lost ducklings, Chi and Chao (Zendaya and Lance Lim respectively) and they must learn to get along as they trek the Chinese countryside. All the while, they are hunted by an evil, double color eyed cat named Banzou (Greg Proops) who seeks to kill and eat them all like the natural predator he is.
The animation for this film is provided by Original Force Animation and Jiangsu Yuandongli Computer Animation Co.,Ltd (with additional funding provided by Wanda Media Co., Ltd), and in practice, it’s pretty solid. While nothing spectacular, the animation benefits the film perfectly with the characters moving naturally as anthropomorphic animals, the textures of the bird’s feathers and Banzou’s fur being well detailed and refined, and the design of the characters being quite good as they resemble their real life counterparts, but still maintain that animated look.
The characters are also handled fairly, as they go through their respective arcs and are brought to life by the voice actors. Peng starts off as a selfish show off, but as the film progresses and he spends more time with Chi and Chao, he learns just how important it is to care about others besides himself. Speaking of the latter 2, Chi and Chao are the young douckling who want to get back with their flock with Chi acting as the older sister to Chao in Taking care of him. Where Chi is more responsible and brave, Chao is more naive and curious to a fault. Then there’s Banzou, the villainous feline hunting the birds and the film’s biggest highlight. With his double personality changing from calm and sophisticated to sadistic and maniacal in literally the blink of and eye, he easily steals the show in every scene he’s in.
All that said, the weakest part of the film is the story. While there are moments that are genuinely funny (including one that made me question how they got away with in a film aimed at a family audience), this film is still rather predictable. From the moment Peng brings Chi and Chao along his journey, the rest of the flick plays out almost exactly as one would expect. In addition to that, hardly any of the othe supporting characters leave an impact, and as such are merely glorified background characters.
Duck Duck Goose is the type of film family’s can enjoy, even if it has little new to offer in terms of plot. With solid animation, decent character development, some funny jokes and a scene stealing villain, this movie is a fun little 91 minutes that’s worth a watch for a good laugh or 2.