THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
Running Time: 110 mins.
Where Can You See It?: Netflix
Premise: In a last-minute attempt to salvage the relationship between father and college-bound daughter and engage in some family bonding time, an admittedly “weird” family go on a cross-country road trip. But when a Silicon Valley inventor’s latest technological AI advancement goes haywire, the Mitchell family take on the mantle of heroes fighting against a robot apocalypse.
Behind-the-Scenes: Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the visionary duo behind other animated all-timers like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, and the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sony originally had theatrical distribution plans in mind but sold off the movie to Netflix last year. Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe are the credited writer-directors. Rianda also voices the younger Mitchell son.
The Good: As good an animated film as we’re likely to see in 2021. It’s heartfelt, deeply hilarious and – just like Into the Spider-Verse – inventively animated, blasting with color and atypical designs. The script is certainly of-the-moment, chock full of Internet memes and all the latest technological obsessions. The jokes and plot developments keep one-upping each other as the movie goes along. The voice cast runs deep with talented comic actors, with Beck Bennett and Fred Armisen getting a ton of laughs as dysfunctional, human-identifying robots. Like the best Pixar movies, The Mitchells will make you cry both tears of emotion and from laughing so hard. If anything, it’s weirder and more absurd than Pixar, and that’s a GREAT thing. Lord & Miller’s involvement practically screams quality at this point.
The Bad: At close to 2 hours, it probably could have trimmed a few minutes in the middle stretch.
Should You See It?: Absolutely. Will entertain and offer something for everyone in the family – dads, moms, and kids of all ages. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see this one on the big screen, as it warrants watching on the biggest screens possible. An immediate front-runner for Best Animated Feature at next year’s Oscars and an instant classic.
Star Rating: ***** out of 5 stars
Better Than: Soul, Wolfwalkers
Worse Than: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
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