An Incredible Animated Adventure
Raising kids is the hardest job in the world. Harder still, is seeing them grow up and not need you as much anymore. That sense of pride and admiration as a parent is tinged with poignancy. Likewise, as a kid you find yourself craving independence and hanging out with your friends more. After all, they just “get you” and that’s something your family will never understand.
Teenage life is hard for both teens and adults alike, and it’s something that can put a strain on even the most tight-knit family unit. In the case of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, that’s something this film understands down to a tee. Yes, this is an action-packed animated flick but it’s also an exploration of family and a journey of acceptance.
This all starts when a world-ending announcement is made at home. No, it’s not the robot apocalypse (yet) but a more personal revelation. Katie Mitchell has been accepted into film school. She’s heading off to college and has big dreams of making it in Hollywood.
Her nature-loving Dad Rick however, is not so enthused. He’s worried that Katie is chasing the impossible dream and doesn’t want her to get hurt. This unfortunately causes a rift to grow between this Father/daughter pair. Caught in the middle of this are oddball, dinosaur-loving son Mark and concerned wife Linda.
In order to try and heal these wounds, Rick gathers the family together for one last road trip before Katie goes to college. What could go wrong?
Well, a rogue AI called Pal causes murderous robots to begin rampaging across the world, enslaving the entire human race…but for one family – the Mitchells.
What ensues from here is a road trip like no other, as the Mitchell family set out to try and thwart the robot threat. Along the way they encounter numerous different challenges, eventually culminating in a bombastic, visually stunning fight to close the movie out with.
These visuals are truly gorgeous too, and perhaps that’s unsurprising given it’s coming from the same studio that produced The Lego Movie and Into The Spider-Verse. Here though the film is given an extra layer of creativity, complete with stickers, memes, quirky effects and more.
The result is a uniquely stylized movie, one where the visuals complement the story beautifully. There are some gorgeous, picturesque shots here, and they’re matched by appealing character design work too.
However, it’s not just the visuals that stand out; the soundtrack is equally appealing. From the thematically relevant Rihanna cover of O-Zone’s ‘Dragostea Din Tei’ to the closing track of ‘On My Way’ by Alex Lahey, there are some really great songs layered throughout the movie.
There’s also a really talented voice cast onboard for this but it’s Olivia Colman who really steals the show. Her maniacal rendition of PAL is nothing short of wonderful, and she brings the perfect level of campiness to this quirky AI phone.
It’s ultimately the themes and characters that really help elevate this into a great movie. Not only do each of the characters have a consistent arc, the Father/daughter relationship at the center of all this is so raw and realistic that it’ll appeal to kids and adults alike.
Adults will see a part of themselves in Rick; a man desperate to rekindle those old family memories but seeing technology as a hindrance rather than an aid. By comparison, kids will likely empathize with Katie’s desire for independence. Her overbearing, technophobe Dad is embarrassing and she’s too old for these goofy car games.
This conflict is told so well throughout the movie and although the relationship does hit all the usual tropes you’d expect, it’s nothing short of magical all the same.
Thankfully it’s not all emotional healing and action-packed fights. This film is also very funny. The comedic timing here is nothing short of masterful and there are some wicked jokes right the way through the picture. Freeze frames, pop culture references and even musical montages are in full display, and every single one is absolutely glorious.
And glorious is probably the best way to describe this movie. The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a wonderful adventure and easily one of the best movies of the year. This is a must-watch for adults and kids alike!
The Mitchells VS the Machines will be available on Netflix from April 30th.
Verdict - 9/10