The Mitchells vs. The Machines is available to stream now on Netflix.
From the humans who brought you the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie comes The Mitchells vs. The Machines, an animated action-comedy about an ordinary family who find themselves in the middle of their biggest family challenge yet…saving the world from the robot apocalypse. No big deal, right? It all starts when creative outsider Katie Mitchell is accepted into the film school of her dreams and is eager to leave home and find “her people,” when her nature-loving dad insists on having the whole family drive her to school and bond during one last totally-not-awkward-or-forced road trip. But just when the trip can’t get any worse, the family suddenly finds itself in the middle of the robot uprising! Everything from smart phones, to roombas, to evil Furbys are employed to capture every human on the planet. Now it’s up to the Mitchells, including upbeat mom Linda, quirky little brother Aaron, their squishy pug, Monchi, and two friendly, but simple-minded robots to save humanity. Directed by Michael Rianda (Gravity Falls), produced by Oscar winners Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and Kurt Albrecht, and featuring the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Beck Bennett, Fred Armisen, Eric Andre, and Oscar winner Olivia Colman, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is about embracing the things that make us unique, learning what it means to be human in a world increasingly filled with technology, and holding tight to the people most important to you when the unexpected hits.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (originally called Connected, but the rename is much better!) is a 2021 movie written by Mike Rianda & Jeff Rowe and produced by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller. Now if those last two names ring a bell they should! These are the minds behind some of the funniest and genre breaking comedies of recent years from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie and the mind blowing spectacle that was Into The Spider-Verse. This film seems like the culmination of all of these previous movies. It’s got the comedic, animated (almost boneless) style of Cloudy, it’s got the heart of The LEGO Movie and it’s got all the style and action of the Spider-Verse movie.
Once again it takes a typical CGI animated movie and they then animate over to add the extra animation and style to it and this film is oozing with its own look and feel!
The movie stars The Mitchells, a loving if not entirely dysfunctional family. Our main hero is Katie who’s brilliantly creative mind is the colourful splash across the film from the very start until the very end of the credits. Katie is different from other teens and has been since she was a little girl. Something I think many reading this could relate to in varying degrees. Her output is through film and funny youtube videos and as technology evolved she was able to find ‘her people’ online. Other filmmakers who love her work and understand her outlook on life.
Our secondary hero of the story is her father Rick. He is also a relatable character but really in the vision many of us see in our older parents. Tech moved so fast that many of them were left behind and struggle to understand what we view as basic routines on our devices. He is a man born to the wild and despite clearly being an absolutely loving parent, he has sadly grown apart from his daughter over the years.
The night before Katie is due to fly off to college at a film school across the country, Rick accidentally destroys her laptop and causes the rift between him and his daughter to grow. In an attempt to fix this he cancels her flight and forces the family to go on a long road trip to bond with Katie one last time. Her mum and younger brother were also keen to go as they too secretly want the two of them to bond while also spending one last time with Katie.
SO! This sets up the basic plot of the film, The Mitchells on a cross country trip across America, like many many films before! But….the robot apocalypse decides to kick off and fortunately for the Mitchells (and unfortunately for the rest of the world) they are the only humans left who can stop the robot uprising.
Now despite Katie and Rick clearly taking front and centre of this story, the movie gives just as many scenes to the rest of the Mitchells. Mum Linda always knows what to say and what to do to keep her family going. She is not one to shy away from the action! Linda is actually the deadliest of the family and basically becomes a legendary warrior!
We also have the youngest member of the family Aaron who, like his sister, is a bit of a weirdo. But while he loves Dinosaurs, his sister clearly comes first. It’s refreshing to see a brother sister relationship in a positive light and not the cliché ‘they hate each other but not really’ sort of thing we usually see in animated movies. I would go as far to say their sibling bonding is a real heart warmer in a film full of heat warming moments.
Now to give credit to my favourite character in the entire movie…Monchi the Dog. This deadpan, fat faced pug brought more laughs than any other character in the film and this film had me laughing hard throughout. Monchi the dog/pig/loaf of bread joins the list of many loveable but borderline brain dead animals in animation that just always crack me up and he deserves all the praise for that.
The enemy of the movie, while utterly predictable, was never really meant to be the villain in the shadows type and really just a means to move the family dynamic plot along. This disgruntled ‘Siri’ like AI named Pal decides that humans are not worth keeping and rounds them all up to throw them into space. The Mitchells accidently convert two of them to their cause and these two once again bring the laughs with their bizarre lines and attempts to pretend to be human.
I bring them up simply because this film and its well written script along with the delivery by the talented line up of actors had me laughing throughout. I found it very difficult to find something to be critical of as it did exactly what I had wanted it to do which is to make me laugh and bring in the family emotions.
Watching the Mitchells go head to head with Fiendish Fridges, Terrifying Toasters, Malicious Microwaves and Ravenous Roombas ensures the film is teething with dynamic action scenes and as the trailers have shown bring many of us older folks face to face with those horrifying Furby’s from our childhood. I never got the appeal of them, they are creepy little sentient machines capable of murder and no one can convince me otherwise so it is a relief to see the makes behind this movie also see what I see!
Now behind the intense action scenes, end of the world scenario and all the chaotic and eye melting layers of style this film has to offer it really boils down to family and the closeness the Mitchells have to each other because of how weird they are. For parents they can learn to support their children through their dreams no matter how risky it is for them to potentially fail. How it is not for them to understand their plan 100% but to be ready to support when they need it. For kids they can learn that while it’s good to branch out and forge your own path, you should never leave your family behind and more importantly, be yourself! Like be weird, embrace the weird! Embrace YOUR weird because, you never know when you might have to save the world.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is another major win for the world of animation and while it is sad to see it head straight to Netflix and not to the big screen it fully deserves all the viewings and praise it will inevitably get. This is fun for the whole family and offers something for all ages and should not be missed!
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