The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Sony Pictures Animation and Netflix
Director: Mike Rianda
Written by: Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe
Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Eric Andre, Olivia Coleman, Fred Armison, Beck Bennett
You know what they say; when you hit rock bottom you can only go up from there. This is a term which I feel absolutely defines the current state of Sony Animation, from what was once a studio that was butt end of all jokes for creating “The Emoji Movie” which many people see as the death of all animation, the making critic owl and commercial success for their academy award winning 2018 hit “Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse”. Lord and Miller return to studio for a chance and absolutely deliver something that is just as unique and special.When Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a creative outsider, is accepted into the film school of her dreams, her plans to meet “her people” at college are completely upended when her nature-loving dad Rick (Danny McBride) plans for an ultimate family road trip. This means instead of flying there as she planned, Rick, her wildly positive mom Linda (Maya Rudolph), her quirky little brother Aaron (Mike Rianda), and the family’s pet pug Monchi, will drive Katie to her school together. However, Rick’s plan of getting all of them to truly bond as a family for one last time is suddenly interrupted by a tech uprising: all around the world, the electronic devices that Katie, Linda, Aaron and most all other people love – from mobile phones to home appliances to an innovative new line of personal robots – decide it is time to take over.
It’s becoming a trait that Sony Animation are experimenting with different type of styles of animation to help compliment their movies and I’m all here for it as this is quite possibly the most unique looking western animated movie I’ve seen since Into the Spider-Verse. The movie not only uses a unique style to the movie but at parts masterfully blends traditional 2D style (which is believable and matches the titular character, Katie’s style).
What’s also becoming a recurring trait for the the titular animation studio is the love and care that goes into their projects. The writing of the movie expertly blends one of the funniest and witty writing I’ve seen a while for a movie with some great moments between characters which really lies in the strength of the movie. There is not a single character who isn’t compelling or undeveloped. Everyone has a moment to shine. In particular I really like how they handled Katie being an LGBTQIA+ character which is rare and refreshing in contrast to Disney movies who have a tendency to queerbait a minor character. Similarly I also really enjoyed Eric and Deborahbot 5000 who bri g so,e much needed and always very funny comedy to whatever the situation may be.
What impressed me the most about the movie was its message. When ever we see technology in the media or in other movies, there’s a huge emphasis on how it divides people and how because of that, it’s a bad thing. However, while it does showcase a conflict of interest between someone who is a technophobe and someone who is addicted to technology, it never paints a picture of how one of them is wrong for liking the opposite, in fact at the end of the movie, both characters embrace their rivals conflict and enjoy it. It’s a refreshing way to showcase technology, it divides people but it doesn’t intend to.
In all, the Mitchells vs the machines is a fantastic watch. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie in ages, and that is the ultimate compliment I can give it.