Title: The Mitchells vs. The Machines
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Runtime: 1 hr 53 mins
What It Is: Katie (Jacobson) is an aspiring filmmaker on her way to film school. She’ll fly out and leave behind her family. Her father Rick (McBride) instead thinks it’s a good idea to drive her all the way to California. He sees this as a way to disconnect his family while reconnecting with them. The only problem is that an AI overlord has decided it’s done with humanity. The Mitchells are the only survivors, but can they get along long enough to save the entirety of the human race.
What We Think: This production company and the team behind this deserve a gigantic pat on the back. Not only is the script a wonderful experience but the animation is crisp, fun, and full of life. Voice acting from the top down is top-notch and the entire thing feels fresh. In a world full of Pixar and Disney (which are the same thing business-wise) having a “look” to them this steps outside that norm with its visuals. When the only other counter to those big two are Dreamworks (who don’t understand how to not run their IPs into the ground) and Universal (who just…no, have you seen Boss Baby or the sequel). In that world what Sony is doing is SUCH a breath of fresh air in a stale animation market. I’d rather have Phil Lord and Chris Miller making these types of films as producers. Their track record is immense. Each beat of the film is so lovingly crafted from a visual and narrative perspective.
Our Grade: A+, I love this film. I was sucked into the emotion of the craft from the word go. It’s just such an odd and interesting concept. Not groundbreaking by any means from a story perspective. Many might be off-put by the all-over-the-place nature of the film but that, for me, is what separates this from the plethora of 3D animations. It knowingly throws ideas against the wall not hopeful it’ll work but confident it will be fun enough to elevate the picture. Rianda and Rowe have gusto behind the lens when it comes to risking the house of cards. It’s all the risks here that end up being the best parts. See this film. Bring your family. It’s such a good time. It’s worth yours and everyone else’s. One of 2021’s best films is a stunningly pretty mess of neon and emotion. Simple, beautiful, and messy in the best way.