The Mitchells vs the Machines
The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021) movie review
The Mitchells vs the Machines is an animated comedy written and directed by a creative team straight out of Gravity Falls (2021-2016), as well as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of Lego Movies (2014, 2019), Jump Street (2012, 2014) and Spider-Verse (2018) fame. The film, which was released on Netflix not even two weeks ago, follows a dysfunctional family who decide to take a family road trip after a falling out between Rick, the father of the family, and his daughter Katie, who is about to leave for college. Oh. and the robot apocalypse breaks out! Even accounting for the surprisingly mild promotion for this film’s existence, both critics and audiences have given the film predominately positive reviews since its release, even hailing it as the best animated film of the decade so far! (Cause that’s alot of options to choose from ya know?)
I mean, what’s not to like about this movie? I suppose if you don’t care for this hyper-edited and often flashy animation style, you may not care about this. But that means you probably didn’t care about Spider-Verse, which means I probably don’t care about you… No I’m kidding, I care! And like I said, this is not your traditionally assembled animated feature. But I think with few exceptions, The Mitchells vs the Machines is at the WORST a good few laughs! (At it’s best? Yeah it’s probably going to land as one of the best films of the year…)
First off, the animation is wonderful! I love the character designs, use of varying lighting with a somehow consistent color palate, Mark Mothersbaugh’s exciting score, and MOST of the fourth-wall breaking, crash-cutting, Spider-Verse editing. That said, some of the editing feels- odd. Granted it’s probably for kids. Wow, the editing is for kids… I was going to get on it for being inconsistent and standing out a bit too much, but aside from your typical quick cuts, how many films are cut together with making kids laugh? (I’m sure a few, but it’s still awesome!)
Once you get past some solid filmmaking, you are left with the balance of fun and family, both of which- really does a great job! I’ll admit, this film maybe has a little too much fun in the end… Don’t get me wrong, I died laughing! But if I take away my fun glasses and put on my Mr. Critic spectacle, I can’t help but point out how the resolution broke what I would call literal boundaries. And I wouldn’t have changed it myself. No you know what, this movie is too awesome to nitpick! It’s really funny and quick well paced for almost two hours. Heck and it gets SO much done in that time!
At the core of the story is this family that has grown unable to really understand each other. This is most apparent in the relationship between Katie and her father, who act as the emotional center. And gosh does this film hit home the feels! It’s not Pixar feels, but wow I was engaged when this film decided to get serious! And it never felt over the top either. You know how some films really want to drive home feeling so that kids will get it? Well maybe just make a story that is more relatable to them. Who can’t empathize with a father and daughter unable to communicate due to a lack of similar interests? It sounds simple, but it’s tough. Not that I’m either of those things, but it’s the parent-child relationship, you know? You know.
I don’t feel like I need to elaborate more on this to be honest. The Mitchells vs the Machines is really great! How do I know? Well I was sick throughout the entire film. It took us like 3.5 hours to get through. Usually when I have an experience like that, it leaves me not thinking too positively about the accompanying media that I used to keep myself distracted (See my review of The Alamo, 2004, which is a thing that I need to write one day…) Anyway I definitely have to wait a while before watching this one again for that reason, but I still think it’s a great movie! It perfectly balances fun and entertaining with moving storytelling told in a visually interesting way. The characters are well developed, the talent voicing them does a great job, and even my nitpicks that I forgot to give about the villains are undone by this film’s hilariously self-aware premise. It’s a really fun time that I highly recommend! 8/10. Also still bitter about taking these two amazing filmmakers of Solo (2018). Freaking Disney…
Anyway, The Mitchells vs the Machines! Have you watched it yet? What did you think? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know in the comments what we should talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince