Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A quirky, dysfunctional family’s road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity’s unlikeliest last hope.
Review: Have you ever seen a movie and thought to yourself, “This is just what I needed and I didn’t even know it.” That’s how I felt watching this over-the-top, quirky, beautifully-animated, crazy tale, The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
Let’s start off with the best part of The Mitchells—the animation. If you play video games or read comics you’ve probably had the experience of being so captivated by the artwork you forget to focus on the story being told. This happened to me a few times while watching this, and Sony Animation Studios proved to audiences Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse wasn’t lightning in a bottle. And the inventive animation is unsurprising as Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse co-producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also worked on this film (they also co-wrote and co-directed animated films Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie).
Just like that movie (arguably the best Spider-Man movie ever made, by the way) the animation in The Mitchells is unlike anything we’re used to seeing. I felt like I was watching someone’s actual imagination come to life, which was fitting considering the lead character here is a teenaged girl named Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson of Broad City) who is an aspiring filmmaker and whose love of art and movies is visually represented in the animation style of the story itself. With a beautiful mix of hand-drawn artwork and computer generated imagery, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of those movies you’ll have to watch multiple times to truly see everything the animators throw at you.
I’ve talked about perfect voice casting before in similarly-animated films, but when I say they knocked it out the park here, I’m not exaggerating. Previously mentioned Abbi Jackson as Katie, Danny McBride (Your Highness, Vice Principals, Pineapple Express) as the technologically-inept but loving Dad Rick, Maya Rudolph (Big Mouth, Bridesmaids, Saturday Night Live) as your typical Mom who just wants everyone to get along, Linda, and Mike Rianda as the dinosaur-loving little brother Aaron, all come together perfectly as a totally dysfunctional, yet totally loving family.
Eric Andre already feels like an animated character in real life so his counterpart, scientist and PAL creator Mark Bowman, fit perfectly, and award-winning actress Olivia Colman (The Favourite, Hot Fuzz) steals every scene she’s in as PAL, the titular “AI-turned-evil” and she plays a FREAKIN’ CELLPHONE! There were so many others I could talk about, but I’ll just stop here and say I enjoyed each and every one of them.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is not perfect. It goes off course a bit in the middle act and overall, doesn’t do anything you haven’t seen before in similarly animated stories. But that stuff is easily forgiven when you have this much positivity and spectacular animation being thrown at you. It’s like an 80’s road trip movie on acid, yet it still manages to convey a couple of solid messages, namely: technology isn’t all bad but don’t forget the importance of spending time with your loved ones; embrace the things that make you seem weird to others because these are the things that sometimes end up changing the world for the better; and no matter how odd our pets are, we still love them with all our hearts.
Shout out to Monchi, who by the way was played by actual dog celebrity, Doug the Pug. This one is a win for the entire family.
Sommer’s Score: 8.5 out of 10
So how would you rate The Mitchells vs. The Machines? For my review of Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon you can click here. Or for another animated family film about a robot apocalypse (you thought there was just one, didn’t you?) you can check out Editor Jules’s review of Pets United by clicking here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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