Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Forever Purge, The
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Deadly Games
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
No Time to Die
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Power of the Dog, The
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
  Mitchells vs. the Machines, The humanity's last dysfunctional hope
Year: 2021
Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Stars: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Eric André, Olivia Coleman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Charlyne Yi, Blake Griffin, Conan O'Brien, Melissa Sturm
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Meet the Mitchell family! Teenage daughter Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is the aspiring filmmaker behind a string of surreal viral videos dad Rick (Danny McBride) just doesn't get. He worries the once-close-knit family are drifting apart, distracted by their digital devices. To that end outdoorsman Rick, social media-addicted mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and dinosaur-obsessed son Aaron (Michael Rianda), together with their weird-looking dog Monchi, to whisk a highly reluctant Katie on a would-be fun-filled family road trip along her way to start college. Unfortunately not only does the journey prove incredibly awkward but the Mitchells run right into Rick's worst nightmare... a robot apocalypse orchestrated by a rogue A.I. out to enslave humanity.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines fashions a surprisingly ambitious narrative with dual subtexts: serving up both a smart satire of conflicting generational attitudes about techno-dependence and a heart-warming affirmation of family togetherness. Produced by those masters of meta-humour Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, it has thematic and stylistic elements in common with past masterworks The Lego Movie (2014) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse (2018). However, here the primary creative forces driving the production are writer-directors Michael Rianda (also the voice of Aaron) and Jeff Rowe with script input from Alex Hirsch: creator of the peerless Gravity Falls. Indeed while the animation frequently dazzles with ingenious use of mixed formats (digital and cel animation, puppets, even live-action viral videos) the film’s real strength stems from a script that crafts some very moving, deeply human relationships.

The central relationship hinges on the gulf of misunderstanding that threatens to split father and daughter apart. Katie is an artist with a vivid imagination that sadly serves only to alienate her from other people including her dad. Meanwhile Rick is something of a Luddite, a would-be rugged survivalist-type who loathes modern tech but nobly gave up his own dreams to raise a family. Now he can't help but wonder whether it was all worth it. The core conflicts in the story are much more evocative of a quirky indie drama than your typical animated family fare. However the creators cleverly parallel this theme with the sci-fi plot that stems from billionaire tech genius Mark (Eric André) who callously discards his creation PAL (voiced to perfection by Olivia Coleman) regardless of their lifelong bond, thus crafting humanity's nemesis. Much as Katie unintentionally mistreats Rick and vice-versa. As PAL points out humans have an unnerving habit of treating other humans as disposable objects just like their technology.

What follows occasionally evokes the sweet and sour family-road-trip-gone-awry dynamics of the original National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) melded to a sci-fi plot that throws in a pair of amiably inept robots, a picture-perfect Instagram family voiced in a clever in-joke by social media-darlings Chrissie Teigen and John Legend, and the Mitchells battling an army of malevolent Furbies. While less focused than Lego Movie or Spider-Verse and sluggish in parts, The Mitchells vs. the Machines consistently pulls off a succession of really smart, insightful moments. As with other Lord and Miller productions its hyper-ebullient wackiness can grow wearying to viewers not on its wavelength. Yet it is offset by a nuanced, sensitive approach to storytelling laced with genuine depth and pathos. Its message that cross-generational digital and analogue values are equally worthy and that we should tolerate the bad aspects of family life in order to cherish the positives are ideals worth celebrating.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 384 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: