The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines is an upcoming animated movie produced by Sony Pictures, and released by Netflix on April 30. Since the moment I heard that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were attached to produce, and since I’m always on the lookout for fresh animation, this is one that’s been on my radar for quite a while. Lord and Miller have directed or produced some of my absolute favourite animated movies and comedies from the last few years, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Batman Movie, 21 and 22 Jump Street, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. These two are no stranger to producing stunning animation, inspiring narratives, and side-splitting comedy, which is why I was more than thrilled to receive an advanced screening of The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines, which found a way to combine all three.
The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines stars Abbi Jacobson (Broad City, Disenchanted) as the voice of Katie, who is only one day away from leaving behind her dysfunctional family for film college. But on the day Katie’s family is set to drive her cross-country, the world is taken over by an army of robot helpers controlled by PAL (voiced by Olivia Colman, The Crown), thus turning the Mitchell family’s last chance at reconnecting into a hilarity-filled adventure to save the world from total robot domination. The film also stars the voices of Danny McBride (Pineapple Express), Maya Rudolph (Big Mouth), Eric Andre (Bad Trip), and director Michael Rianda.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was, without a hint of a doubt, a HUGE hit amongst critics and audiences alike (I personally think it was one of the best films of 2018), and I think a big reason behind that success was the movie’s incredible style of animation. Sure, it had humour and a thoughtful narrative too, but it looked like a page from a comic book come to life. Watching The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines, I could tell immediately the influence Into the Spider-Verse had on it, based on the animation alone. Not only because both movies share Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as producers, but because Spider-Verse might very well have set a new precedent for animated movies all together.
That isn’t to compare Spider-Verse to The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines, because The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines offers up a lot of humour and heart on it’s own, with the story primarily revolving around Katie’s relationship with her father (McBride), who is anything but technologically competent. The theme of “technology is tearing us apart!” is something we’ve seen in movies plenty of times before, but I can’t remember the last time it was done so as genuinely. The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines doesn’t showcase technology as the “villain” of the movie (even though the villain is literally a smartphone), but rather as something that’s been simply misunderstood. Technology has advanced our society more than we sometimes even recognize, yet a majority of us use it for sending each other funny TikTok’s. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but I do think it’s important to step back and appreciate how far we’ve come rather than how much farther we can go.
At the end of the day, I thought The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines was a fantastic ride, even though it dished up slightly more juvenile humour than the films Lord and Miller have previously worked on. It definitely has a younger target audience, but there’s still a lot here to be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Along with some stellar animation and a terrific voice cast, The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines is one to be checked out by the whole family this Friday, the 30th!