One of the best films of the year
THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES (2021)
The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a delightful animated film that rivals the likes of Pixar’s latest and creates a family road trip through an 80s sci-fi plot.
The film was directed by Michael Rianda and co-directed by Jeff Rowe, both of whom were involved with the short lived Gravity Falls. The animation is beautiful, reminiscent of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with a touch of the fore-mentioned Disney series. Produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, it’s clear that the vision the filmmakers had was unique and impactful, otherwise these two top notch directors wouldn’t have stepped up to produce. A wonderful mixture of heartfelt family drama and 80s sci-fi makes The Mitchells vs. the Machines a noteworthy feature directorial debut for the pair.
Following a faulty father/daughter relationship as they go on a last minute family road trip to college, things go entirely off the rails for the Mitchells as a robot takeover hijacks their plans. From there the Mitchells must come together as a family to stop the robot uprising before the entire human race is shot into outer space. What begins as a story about a father attempting to reconnect with his daughter is quickly taken over by a sci-fi plot straight out of the 1980s - what could have been a casualty of two genres mixing in the wrong hands is a welcome blend here in the capable hands of Rianda and Rowe, who also serve as screenwriters. The story moves at a steady pace and is constructed of many different layers leading to the Mitchells progressing to their final destination. It’s a tremendous journey to watch play out, and as we spend more time with the family, it’s difficult not to root for the Mitchells to come out on top of the machines.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The voice cast featured in The Mitchells vs. the Machines is literal perfection. Commonly with animated films, there’s one or two distracting voices that just don’t match the characters on screen, but with The Mitchells vs. the Machines every single character works. Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, and Olivia Colman lead this terrific cast of characters that you quickly grow to adore. The dialogue is quick witted, heartfelt, incredibly relatable and leaves you hoping for another adventure with the Mitchell family.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Remember Furbys? Get ready for their horrific comeback. The film’s animation feels lifted directly out of a children’s picture book, with the action set pieces being both heart racing and loads of fun. While the dialogue holds its own, the visuals overflow with some brilliant humor. The choice to use a mixture of 3D and 2D animation made The Mitchells vs. the Machines a film that stands out; its execution is beautiful and well coordinated to produce a final product that’s certainly a charmer.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Composer Mark Mothersbaugh has crafted a remarkable score that elevates the already well written film. Mothersbaugh leaves me perplexed in all my emotions as the flashbacks and video-recordings of the fall of the father/daughter relationship truly hit me directly in the feels. It gives us one of the most significant scores of 2021 (so far), and it’ll be difficult to match.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines is easily one of the best films of the year, carrying with it a stellar cast as well as an enormous amount of heart and fun to be had by the entire family.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines will release on April 30th on Netflix (U.S.).