Yellowbird – Film Review

Like many animations, this is one where they use animals to comically depict human nature. Eager to see the world, Yellowbird and his ladybug best friend manage to convince a flock of migrating birds to let him be a part of their team. This bird, who has not once left his nest, must now help a flock of birds migrate to Africa by leading the way.

From the beginning, the movie establishes itself as likeable with adorable characters. The moment the cute little thing hatches, you feel compassion for him because he does not have anyone to call family. His loneliness is made short when a ladybug insists on making him her best friend and teaching him the ways of life.
The visuals could be more appealing, though. The animation is set in nature, where the birds are surrounded by trees and vast skies; however, the scenery is a little dull and I think the artistic direction could have taken more advantage of the potential backdrop.
But the voice-over artists are perfectly cast with some familiar personalities in comedy, such as Yvette Nicole Brown from the popular TV show, Community, as the voice of the ladybug and well-known actor and comedian, Seth Green, as the voice of Yellowbird. You also have Elliot Gould, whose theatrical voice seems to have been made for the small role of the charismatic inn keeper. Gould’s character is one I would have liked to see more of, however; the inn keeper is quite the hilariously cunning character.
From the start, the story shows trust, faith and loyalty when all of the migratory birds, save one, decide to trust and follow a stranger bird all the way across the world. The film also teaches the importance of honesty and believing in your own ability.
This is nothing new but I like it because this is one of those animations with animals in it that has more to do with personal growth and less to do with the typical ‘us vs them’ narrative between wildlife and humans that these animal movies love to portray.
In this movie, no other species seems important and what’s important is merely the mission to save their flock and travel to Africa. I think that is the reason why I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. Bottom line is: there is no guilt-tripping about deforestation or global warming and you are not forced to pick sides. It is purely an animation packed with humour, and some learning on the side.
I do think the story could have been more exciting, however. Even though it is written with some good punch lines, delivered with some right-on-the-mark comedic timing, the adventure aspect of the story is not as thrilling as it could have been. I can’t decide whether the creative team could have done more with it, or whether the ‘danger’ aspect of the film could have been turned down a notch so that the comedy could have a better chance to shine. Either way, one of those elements could have been strengthened or developed more to make the story more inspiring.
But I do think anyone would enjoy watching the movie, I already have some favourite parts that I would love to see again.