Are your eyeballs feeling left out during lockdown? Are they in need of some vivid colours, ever changing imagery and animated trinkets added to an already overly colourful movie? Then The Mitchells Vs The Machines is just what you need.
Written and directed by Michael Rianda (“Work (Short)”, “Everybody Dies In 90 Seconds (Short)”) and Jeff Rowe (“Gravity Falls (TV)”, “Disenchantment (TV)”) and produced by the people behind The Lego Movie, The Mitchells Vs The Machines is an assault on your eyeballs.
It’s a frenetic movie, brought to you by Sony’s recent collab. with Netflix, that is animated though with touches of real life photos and videos thrown in. The animation itself has a certain, hand drawn feel to it, which is nice, it reminded me a little of A Scanner Darkly, though it’s obviously not that, but it is very distinctive.
This is most likely done because over the top of this is a plethora of further ‘cutesy’ animations the likes of which you’d usually see on TikTok, Instagram, Weibo etc, etc, basically any app. Rainbows stream in, animated hearts appear and a ton more. For someone not subjected to this day-after-day, i.e. me, it feels OTT, but I’m sure your kids will love it.
The story tackles a number of current issues; our love affair for ‘the latest things’, big tech and their domination, and families. It sees Mark Bowan, Eric Andre (“Disenchantment (TC)”, “The Lion King (2019)”), as a tech entrepreneur who has created an AI virtual assistant, voiced by Olivia Coleman (“The Favourite”, “The Lobster”), called Pal.
When it comes time to upgrade Pal to actual robots that can walk, talk, cook and clean, Bowan drops Pal like a hot potato, which upsets her greatly. She takes control of Bowman’s machines and decides to fire the entire human race into space and start her own planet with robots, no messy relationship business.
Standing in the way of Pal and world domination are the Mitchell family. A normal, or dysfunctional depending on how you want to look at things, family whose eldest daughter Katie, Abbi Jacobsen (“Disenchantment (TV)”, “Bob’s Burgers (TV)”), has grown up and is getting ready to go to film school in California.
This is putting a strain on her relationship with her father Rick, Danny McBride (“The Disaster Artist”, “Alien: Covenant”), despite them once being so close. As Katie goes headlong into technology, her technophobe dad is feeling left behind.
Rick cancels Katie’s plane tickets and decides they will all drive cross-country to take her to school, a family, bonding road-trip. Together with mum Linda, Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids”, “The Good Place (TV)”), and little brother Aaron, Michael Rianda, they load the old family car and head-off.
It’s on this road trip that Pal begins her world domination plan and The Mitchell’s must come together as a family to defeat her and save the world.
The Mitchells Vs The Machines is a fun, family movie, helped by the family dog, a pug who can’t see straight, and some broken robots the family collect on the way.
Yes, the additional animated ‘gifs’ over the top of things are distracting and feel OTT at first. I won’t say you get used to them necessarily, but they do begin to fade into the background towards the end. But it’s a fun film with a nice message and a lovely animation style to the main body.