Modern technology is great until it isn’t. With just our cellphones, we have worldly access to whatever we want. You need a restaurant recommendation? Update on the latest sports scores? See what your favorite celebrity is up to? Quickly learn how to make casserole? Self-diagnose yourself with an illness? Talk to your cousin who lives across the country? You can do all of that just on your phone and much, much more.
But where there is good there is bad and modern technology brings a lot of bad. From getting name called and threatened by trolls for simply disagreeing with their opinion to body shaming oneself and others based on models and celebrities posting pictures of themselves to our basic reliance of technology and need to be up to date on every single little thing that is happening in the world, some would argue that technology has gone too far.
In The Mitchells vs the Machines, technology is at its most aggro and its absolute worst, as a new Alexa-like system plans to eliminate all humans from the planet and start a new life on Earth filled with highly intelligent robots and zero humans. The fate of the world lands in the hands of the Mitchells, a nice but dysfunctional family.
The Mitchell’s are a blue-collar family. Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is a tech-savvy, aspiring filmmaker hoping to get into film school. Her father, Rick (Danny McBride), is the exact opposite. He’s a rub-some-dirt-on-it, nature-obsessed “manly man” and just doesn’t understand any modern technology or anything that Katie is trying to do with her film work. Katie’s mother, Linda (voiced by Maya Rudolph) is trying to keep the peace between the two of them and supports them in their endeavors even if she has no clue what either of them are talking about. And then there’s Aaron (voiced by Michael Rianda), Katie’s dinosaur-obsessed little brother and Katie’s biggest supporter. When Katie gets accepted into a film school in California, in a last-minute attempt to bond with his daughter, Rick decides to take the whole family on a cross-country road trip to get Katie to college. But their road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of a robot apocalypse started by a computer program called PAL (voiced by Olivia Colman). Thwarting the attempts of a handful of robots to capture the Mitchells, the Mitchells have now found themselves as humanities last hope to stop PAL and save Earth.
The technology storyline is a familiar but effective. We’ve seen movies that tackle this subject matter before and writers/directors Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe do a solid job of making it feel fresh, funny, original, and not preachy. But what makes the film really shine is the family story. Though a family, the Mitchell’s could not be more different from each other. But The Mitchells vs the Machines is a movie about accepting our family’s differences and accepting them for who they are. The father-daughter relationship between Rick and Katie is very sweet and relatable for anyone who’s had tiffs with their parents, especially at the late-teenage age.
The Mitchells vs the Machines is from the same animation studio and team behind the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, one of the great animated movies of the last ten years. Though a daunting task to look as good and be as good as Spiderverse, The Mitchells vs the Machines is a stunningly animated film. What amazed me most was how the animators made everything look so real and authentic and detailed and blended it with bright colors, pop art, and other worldly, eye-popping action. The creative look of the Mitchells are fun caricatures of modern looks and the robots are very sleek. These great animation creations are voiced by an excellent cast. Each character gets a moment to shine and delivers a full range of emotion through their voices. I particularly enjoyed McBride’s performance. It’s the voice performance of the year right now and one of the best performances of McBride’s career.
The Mitchells vs the Machines is a fun, impressively animated comedy filled with relevant themes, great humor, and tons of excitement. It’s one of those comedies that the whole family will enjoy and be able to take something away from it.
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