Life & Culture

Film review: The Mitchells vs. The Machine

Five stars for this impressive animation


THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES - (L-R) Abbi Jacobson as “Katie Mitchell", Maya Rudolph as “Linda Mitchell", Danny McBride as “Rick Mitchell”, Doug the Pug as “Monchi”, Mike Rianda as “Aaron Mitchell”, Fred Armisen as "Deborahbot 5000" and Beck Bennett as "Eric". Cr: ©2021 SPAI. All Rights Reserved.

First scheduled for release by Sony Pictures in 2020 under the title Connected, this impressive animation about the perils of technology became another victim of the Covid crisis. The film was eventually sold to Netflix who renamed it The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller — the people behind The Lego Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — the film is voiced by Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride and Abbi Jacobson, to name but a few.

The story revolves around a dysfunctional family who find themselves the sole survivors of a robot apocalypse.

Aspiring filmmaker Katie Mitchell (Jacobson) often clashes with her technophobe father Rick (McBride) who believes the family has become too reliant on technology and have lost the ability to communicate. When Katie is accepted into film school in California, Rick hopes to repair the rift between them by organising an impromptu road trip across the country.

The Mitchells’ adventure is suddenly upended when PAL (hilariously voiced by Olivia Colman), a highly intelligent AI, turns her back on her creator (Eric André) and vows to destroy humanity. PAL orders her newly designed robots to capture all humans and launch them into space. After escaping capture, the Mitchells become humanity’s last hope and must work together to defeat PAL.

There are some touching themes revolving around family ties and fatherly love running through this brilliantly devised animation. With some smart, hilariously accurate gags about tech, memes and assorted social media trends, the film manages to be both fresh and hugely relatable.

This is a clever, funny and genuinely touching film which is an homage to cinema. But its real power lies in the way it stresses the importance of taking the time to enjoy those fleeting moments between leaving childhood and embracing adulthood.

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