The Mitchells are on a family road trip to take Katie, the eldest kid, to college. Things take a turn for the worse after the robot apocalypse begins.
As a longtime fan of the animated features of Sony Animation, I can’t deny it’s a bit surprising that people have finally caught on to just how beautiful their films are. Sure, part of it is due to people loving Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, but for years people would trash this studio despite their overall quality in films usually being alright. Seeing so much hype in the animation community for this movie is pleasing, and I’m glad people are finally catching up to how much Sony Animation really innovates the CG medium.
After a six month delay due to the pandemic and a name change, it’s finally here, The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, the latest animated feature from Sony Animation, brought to us by producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directed by former Gravity Falls writers, Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe. While the wait has been long, the result is more than worth it, as this is is easily the best film released so far in the year. A funny, emotional comedy about family sure, but also a biting satire of the world we live in now, a beautiful work of art and a loving ode to film dorks, I wish I could see this one in a theater.
The film centers Katie, a teen entering a film school voiced by Abbi Jacobson, arguing with her old school, “life in the woods” father, Rick voiced by Danny McBride. It’s your traditional daughter dreams of one thing, father is scared of letting go story, but the rest of the movie is anything but traditional. As the title suggests, the machines go rogue at some point and the Mitchell family ends up being the only thing standing in their way, the weird, oddball family, somehow becomes humanity’s last hope and it’s an incredible journey. It’s the kind of weirdness one would expect from the people who made this, but it’s also got the hilarious sense of humor also found in their various works. Maya Rudolph and director Mike Rianda, round out the family as mother Linda, and brother Aaron respectively, while along for the ride is their cute dog Monchi, fighting against the rogue A.I. PAL, voiced by the hilarious Olivia Colman.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the movie is the animation, which is definitely as beautiful as one might expect from the team that made Into the Spiderverse. While it has the 3D made to look like 2D animation that Sony’s had down since Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, it does mix actual 2D animation for effects throughout the movie. Even when the film isn’t employing 2D animation, the movie still looks stunning due to the use of colors that make it look so different from other animated features, with natural colors mixing with neon lights, making it look like an animated Tron at times. From a technical standpoint, the animators have knocked it out of the park and I’d love to see more from them as soon as I can, this was a stunning and beautiful movie.
The hook of the movie is the robot apocalypse occurring as we’re glued to our technology more than ever, which in a way is why I love this so much. We’ve seen robots rise against humanity in various stories, most famously Terminator, but they’re often set in the future, as a warning for us if we go too far, but if you’ve seen modern tech you’d know we’re already there, if not past some of the things those sci-fi tales were scared of. Knowing that, the film doesn’t need to exaggerate much on the potential of technology and more importantly it’s argument on technology feels more proper than those other stories. It’s certainly acknowledged that some things we’ve done and allowed are going too far in privacy and control, but it understands that technology has helped us in so many ways that doesn’t necessarily excuse that, but makes it’s existence worth it. Even Rick, Katie’s father, who in the film is very tech phobic, never really has a strong argument against technology, so much as he just wants to connect with his daughter, because the film isn’t about technology being bad, it’s about finding ways to connect with those we love, while the robot apocalypse is the extreme metaphor to get that connection going.
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is one incredible movie, funny and stunning to look at, it’s gonna be hard to top this one. It might honestly be the best “rise of the machines” movie ever made, a title that has had a lot to offer, yet nothing quite like this. I’m definitely gonna rewatch this a few more times, but I hope one of those times gets to be in a theater cause this needs to be seen in a bigger screen, it’s amazing, just watch it as soon as you can.
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Written By Octaviano Macias