Sony Animation’s latest entry The Mitchells Vs The Machines (previously titled Connected) skipped cinemas thanks to the pandemic and went straight to Netflix, while this is usually a sign of a mediocre quality film with low expectations, Netflix has snapped itself a winner with co-directers Jeff Rowe and Michael Rianda taking the helm with the help of Phil Lord and Chris Miller impress with eye popping ainmation, explosive action and manages to strike the perfect tone so that all ages can enjoy and get something out of the story.
The film revolves around Katie (Abbi Jacobson) a teenager who is finshing high school and off to study her love of filmmaking. Katie is not your normal nerd girl, she is full of personality and her passion for filmmaking explodes off the screen. While she struggles with her father Rick (Danny McBride) who have complete opposing views on the world and how they see it, they constantly try to understand each other. When we meet the two they have completely given up trying with each other as Katie is looking forward to escaping the family home. Katie’s younger brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) is obsessed with dinosaurs and has a strong connection to Katie. Linda (Maya Rudolph) is the cornerstone of the family, her warmth and strength hold the family together and keep Katie and her Dad from butting heads. There is a lot of time given to each family member and their relationship to each other before anything crazy happens to help keep you invested in their journey and the perils they face. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the family dog Monchi (voiced by Doug the Pug) is a solid source of constant entertainment.
The film comes to a head when a giant tech company releases PAL, a digital assistanct now given arms, legs and lasers? When the old PAL app (voiced by Olivia Coleman) gets replaced with the robots, PAL goes rogue and enslaves all humans with the goal of blasting them into outer space to free the world and fill it with robots. The Mitchell family manage to avaid capture and must travel to PAL headquarters with the assistance of two woke sentient robots who awaken from PAL’s programming.
Visually this film is far and beyond anything Sony Animation have produced before (I’m including Spider-verse!) it has the same 3D/2D comic art style happening, this time however the colour palette has been expanded and the film is not afraid to pause the scene and show Katie’s personality with doodles, rainbows, YouTube clips and art. The animation of the machines themselves is nothing out of this world (you’re welcome!) however I felt that in comparison to the rest of the films quality was only by comparison.
There are plenty of laughs in this movie and they are not all for children. This movie solidy fits into the line of entertaining family movies from Lord & Miller like Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie and Spiderman – Into The Spider-verse. The parallels to Apple, Amazon and modern technology is less harrowing than Skynet and other killer machines come to life films before it, there is plenty to dissect and catch background jokes, winks and nods to other films of this genre.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a gigantic grab for Netflix, while I was initially disappointed I couldn’t experience it at the cinema, the abundance of belly laughs made me secretly glad I could watch this on my couch with only my dog there to judge me. The central message of the film of family and how much time we spend in front of screens rather than with each other is never preachy or over the top. It manages to find a perfect blend to pose these questions while still being incredibly entertaining at the same time. The massive acheivement in animation is a credit to the team at Sony and will leave you wanting more.
The Mitchells vs the Machines is now playing exclusively on Netflix.
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