A family road trip with a dysfunctional family turns into a daring adventure to save humanity.
Sony animations have been releasing some really great hits as of late. Their last Spiderman project, “Into The Spider-Verse,” was one of the most faithful adaptations to the Spiderman franchise that I’ve seen recently, if not one of the best Spiderman movies of all time. When their most recent project “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” was announced and the trailer dropped, I was worried that it was going to be filled with tropes and flat jokes, leaving us with another “Emoji Movie.”
However, after watching, I was pleasantly surprised by its well crafted and beautiful coming of age story.
Using the backdrop of an end of the world situation, the film navigates father-daughter relationships. Here, the family finds themselves attempting to save the world while also trying to save their relationships.
The story begins and the audience is introduced to Katie Mitchell, voiced by Abbi Jacobsen. Katie is a film student who was recently admitted into her dream film school in California. And while completely ready to start her new life, she’s even more ready to leave the life that she currently has. Her relationship with her family, especially her dad Rick voiced by Danny Mcbride, is at a standstill. With every interaction, their relationship gets worse and worse.
Meanwhile, the tech monopoly company PAL is hosting a keynote to present its latest invention, which is essentially a robot that will do anything you tell it to do. Things turn sour when CEO Mark Bowman — voiced by Eric Andre — tosses his sentient smart PAL phone into the trash. The phone then hacks into the company and takes over, turning all of the robots evil.
The first thing that the audience will likely notice is the film’s amazing art style. Similar to the stylistic choices seen in “Into the Spider-Verse,” the animation is in your face and really brings the characters to life. They’re dazzling and highly exaggerated to the point where you can tell that the animators had a lot of fun with this project.
Even though the comparison to “Into the Spider-Verse” is apparent, the film still manages to have its own style by incorporating explosive animation that coincides with the narrative of the dysfunctional family.
When films try to tackle problems dealing with technology and referencing real life websites, it’s typically painfully done and completely unrealistic. While my expectations were low, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the film actually feels like it is made by someone that uses the internet. Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe, who formerly wrote the TV Show “Gravity Falls,” did a great job crafting a story that didn’t center around the central idea simply boiling down to “technology equals bad.”
However, the film is definitely humorous and I found myself enjoying most of the jokes. Some of the jokes, however, are a bit hit or miss, leaving a bit of a sour feeling each time as I felt the scene become ruined by a poorly timed joke that overstays its welcome.
The poorly timed jokes are a shame because the majority of the movie is so smartly written, including the instances that shock the viewer with clever plot devices and emotional moments that really pack a punch when they need to.
If you’re looking for an extremely over the top well animated film, then I would definitely recommend that you check out “The Mitchells vs. The Machines.” However, if you don’t enjoy a film that has a little bit of cheesiness in there, then this film might not be for you. Although I would argue that there is something for everyone here.
Availability: Available to Stream on Netflix
Title: The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Star Rating: Four out of five stars
- Incredible animation
- Fun plot
- Smartly written
- Jokes are hit or miss
- Emotional moments are cheesy