What to Watch

What to Watch This Week: Migration, Aquaman, and More

This week's other recommendations include an epic Zack Snyder space opera, a musical adaptation of a classic novel, and a professional wrestling biopic from A24.

by | December 21, 2023 | Comments


Look up in the sky! It’s a bird — well, a duck, to be more specific — and four other great picks for you to check out right now. Along with an animated comedy from Illumination about ducks looking for a new adventure, we’ve got the return and end of the DCEU, an epic space opera not named Star Wars, an adaptation of a famous book and musical, and a wrestling biopic.

First up, from the same people that brought you the Despicable Me franchise is Migration, which opens wide in theaters and is the sponsor of this week’s video. The first reason to check out this animated comedy is really a whole bunch of reasons all rolled up into one, as in the killer voice cast that includes Kumail Nanjiani, Awkwafina, Elizabeth Banks, Keegan-Michael Key, and Danny DeVito.

Another reason to pack up the family for this one — or all of your buddies; there’s no judgment here — is that while many of your favorite animated movies have featured all kinds of animals through the years, none of them are all about ducks. Or, in this case, a family of mallards trying to convince their overprotective dad to migrate from New England to Jamaica.

Thirdly, Migration was written by Mike White, whose name might sound familiar as the creator and writer of the hit HBO series The White Lotus. And while an animated family movie might not have that much in common with an adult dark comedy, White has also written for more family-friendly projects like The Emoji Movie and a couple of Jack Black classics in School of Rock and Nacho Libre.

Where to Watch: In theaters

Also washing into theaters is the long-awaited sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and that right there is the first reason to see this one: It’s finally here after the first one — which is Fresh on the Tomatometer with a solid Audience score — arrived all the way back in 2018.

A second reason to swim with this one is that it marks the end of an era: the DC Extended Universe as we know it. With new bosses taking over in 2022, the likes of Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck are no more, and a new continuity plan is being put into place. And while we probably won’t see Affleck or Cavill in this film either, it is the final DCEU installment.

The third reason to find Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is that star Jason Momoa got more involved behind the scenes this time around, helping come up with the initial story that director James Wan and writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick then ran with. So you know he’s invested in this movie and really wanted to make sure it was up to his standards.

Where to Watch: In theaters

Making it’s premiere on Netflix this week is Rebel Moon, aka Rebel Moon: Part 1 – A Child of Fire. This film kicks off what is supposed to be an epic new sci-fi space opera franchise — look out Star Wars — from Zack Snyder, who directs and also created the story for this. That’s the first reason to venture up to this moon.

The second is that the intriguing premise for this one will help set the stage for the whole franchise, as it centers on a peaceful settlement on a distant moon that is threatened by an oppressive galactic government, forcing one village with a mysterious past to rise up, form a ragtag army of rebels, and liberate her home.

The third reason to put on your moon boots for this is the ensemble cast. Led by Sofia Boutella, it also includes names like Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, Ray Fisher, Jena Malone, and Anthony Hopkins. Well, technically you only hear Anthony Hopkins’ voice, but what an epic voice it is.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Yet another option in theaters is the musical drama The Color Purple. The first reason to watch this one is, yes, it is based on the famous novel and Broadway musical that followed, both of which have been highly acclaimed and staples of pop culture for decades.

The second reason to watch this one is its various connections to the first film adaptation that came out in 1985, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. This time around he and Quincy Jones serve as producers alongside the stage musical’s producers, which include Oprah Winfrey, who of course starred in that ‘85 film. That’s some incredible pedigree behind the scenes.

Thirdly, the film’s cast is led by star Taraji P. Henson, who is being joined by names like Corey Hawkins and Halle Bailey plus some actors from the stage musical, including American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino in her film debut.

Where to Watch: In theaters on Monday, December 25

And finally in theaters this week is A24’s The Iron Claw. This biographical sports flick is based on the life of pro wrestler Kevin Von Erich and the wrestling dynasty that was the Von Erich family, who were huge — literally and figuratively — in the 1980s. That’s one reason to jump in the ring with this one.

Another is that it features Zac Efron in the role of Kevin, and he completely transformed himself for the role. He’s also joined by people like The Bear star Jeremy Alan White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, and Lily James, among others.

The third reason to get yourself stuck in The Iron Claw is the talent behind the camera. It was written, produced and directed by Sean Durkin, and while you may not know the name after he got his start in short films and music videos, his two other feature films, Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Nest, are both Certified Fresh. A24 sure knows how to pick its projects.

Where to Watch: In theaters

Hopefully our recommendations helped you fill up your entertainment calendar this weekend. Be sure to let us know in the comments what you watched, whether it was on this list or not!

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.