Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Director: Mike Rianda
Running Time: 110 mins
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is an American film about a dysfunctional family who take a road trip to drop their daughter off at college, but find themselves caught up in the robot apocalypse on the way, as they become the only family who can save the world.
This is a really, really cute movie. Gorgeously animated, full of heart, fast-paced, action-packed and featuring genuine laughs throughout, I had a heap of fun with The Mitchells vs. The Machines, undoubtedly one of the most original animated comedies we’ve had in a while.
In fact, coming from the team who brought us Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, it’s no surprise just how vibrant and original this movie is. The Mitchells vs. The Machines is admittedly on the simpler side when it comes to the story, but it more than makes up for that with moments of wonderfully heartfelt drama that will put the biggest smile on your face.
However, the main appeal of this film is without doubt its zany, rapid-fire energy, brought to life brilliantly by its gorgeous animation style, lively voice performances and sharp screenplay.
Let’s start with the animation, which has hallmarks of Spider-Verse to it, but seems to go a little further with a blend of kaleidoscopic colours and a cool fractured-technology motif that really fits nicely with the film’s plot. It’s a very wholesome animation style that sets The Mitchells vs. The Machines apart from the more assured productions we see from the likes of Disney, making the film all the more charming and down-to-earth.
The animation is regularly interspliced with clips from viral internet videos, something that would come off as a little forced if the visual style was a little more defined, but because the film counts on that zany attitude and most of all fast pacing, it all comes together really nicely.
On top of the visuals, the film’s voice performances are an absolute delight, and yet another burst of energy that plays into the off-kilter fun of The Mitchells vs. The Machines. In the lead role, Abbi Jacobson is delightful as young Katie, while Danny McBride and Maya Rudolph are side-splittingly hilarious as her parents, and special mention has to be given to Mike Rianda, who gives the most bizarre yet fantastically funny turn as Katie’s younger brother Aaron.
The four work together brilliantly on screen, and it all fits in perfectly with the film’s core message about family, and the strength of that bond even when a family is at its most dysfunctional.
Of course, the emotional depth of the film is one of its biggest charms, but let’s not forget that The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of the funniest animated comedies we’ve had in a long, long time.
Though perhaps not on the genre-shattering levels of The Lego Movie, this film has some proper laugh-out-loud moments, more often than not coming from the most insane and ludicrous scenarios where the screenplay goes completely wild, and the movie leaves reality far, far behind.
The great thing about The Mitchells vs. The Machines is that it’s pure, ridiculous escapism with a heart, and as well as making you laugh, it’ll put a smile on your face and have you fully entertained for every one of its 110 minutes of runtime.
The only downside that I can see to the film is that it is very heavily reliant on contemporary pop culture references. That makes it an absolute joy in 2021, but it’s easy to see this film becoming rather dated in the future. Its message about family will always ring true, but the comedy could prove difficult for children of the future to enjoy.
Still, that’s then, and this is now. And for now, I had a whale of a time with The Mitchells vs. The Machines. Funny, action-packed, fast-paced, sharply written, gorgeously animated and above all wonderfully heartfelt, it’s an utter joy from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0 overall.