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One Movie Punch

Jul 29, 2018

Today’s movie is “Duck Duck Goose” (2018), the Netflix Original animated film directed by Christopher Jenkins and written in collaboration with Rob Muir, Scott Atkinson, and Tegan West. The film follows Peng (Jim Gaffigan), an arrogant goose that breaks his wing just before migration, rendering him unable to fly. On his walk to the winter grounds, he takes along two ducklings named Chi (Zendaya) and Chao (Lance Lim). The trio encounter numerous adventures and dangers as they grow to respect one another. 

Spoilers ahead.

Hollywood continues to rapidly expand their audience in China as their economy continues to grow, beginning to compete with the Hong Kong film scene and the scenes in adjacent countries. Expanding into the Chinese market requires a higher than normal level of government oversight and certain expectations to share in the profits, so naturally films are being produced by partnerships between Hollywood and China, resulting in more than one film intended as a collaboration, such as last year’s “The Great Wall” and today’s film.

“Duck Duck Goose” made its way to the Chinese theaters in March 2018, but a decision as made to pull it from the US theaters and move it to Netflix. If I wasn’t attempting to see every Netflix Original film that comes out this year, then I probably wouldn’t have seen this film, as it is clearly intended for a younger audience. We have no shortage of animated animal fantasy films, and while the premise has all the characteristics of an Aesop fable, it is unfortunately interspersed with an above average amount of potty humor. It also has a quite sinister twist towards the end, when the ducklings learn what life is like in Pleasant Valley.

The film does have a lot of positives, though. The animation is quite good, almost wasted on a story built around the name of a children’s game. The voice acting is also great, with a lot of other notable voices like Greg Proops, Natasha Leggero, Carl Reiner, Stephen Fry, and Colin Ferguson. With a better story, or maybe a different title, and maybe a third of the potty humor, you would have a film that could stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the less profitable animations in the current market. I sincerely hope this doesn’t result in any funding issues for the participating production companies. Netflix sure as hell won’t be hurt by it.

“Duck Duck Goose” (2018) is a child-oriented feature with great animation and voice work, but struggles with a story too contrived to fit the title and too permeated with potty humor. It may not have done well with a theatrical release, but it will find an audience among the Netflix subscribers. Fans of animated films who are looking to fill some time for 90 minutes should definitely check out this film, but be ready for more than a few groans.

Rotten Tomatoes: NR

Metacritic: NR

One Movie Punch: 6.6/10

“Duck Duck Goose” (2018) is rated PG and is currently streaming on Netflix.