The Mitchells vs the Machines – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Mike Rianda
Starring the voices of: Danny McBride, Abbi Jacobson, Maya Rudolph, Eric Andre, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Conan O’Brien, Charlyne Yi. Sasheer Zamata. Mike Rianda, Olivia Colman
Available on Netflix from April 30th
Like so many other movies this has been in somewhat of a CoronaVirus ether until it was finally removed from distribution schedules and sold to Netflix. This family-friendly computer-animated offering sees aspiring filmmaker Katie (Jacobson) about to leave for college. But things are strained with her and her father Rick (McBride) so, desperate to reconnect with his daughter, he cancels her flight to college and announces that they are doing a road trip to drop her off with her mother Linda (Rudolph) and younger brother Arron (Rianda) tagging along to make it a family affair. Unfortunately, as they are en route, one of the most popular AI’s on the market PAL (Coleman) – think Alexa with more attitude – turns on her creator and orders robots to overtake humanity. Astonishingly, the Mitchell’s survive the initial culling and find themselves humanities only hope as they head to Silicon Valley to try and shut down the robots and restore balance to the world.
This is far less silly than it sounds on paper. After a year of lockdowns where we’ve become more dependant on technology than ever, it is somewhat disconcerting and a bit close to the bone. You could actually imagine this happening. But it is also heartwarming and strangely feel good. It is an extremely clever, energetic and engaging film.
The animation is fabulous, the voice actors are great and well cast (and I ordinarily am not a fan of McBride) and overall this is just great fun. It won’t be troubling Pixar or Disney at the next Oscars but as an intelligent and well-conceived piece of escapism, it does its job. A lovely fun film to sit and enjoy with everyone in the household and the kind of frivolity we all need right now.