THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES (2021) – My rating: 7.5/10


The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a computer-animated science-fiction comedy produced by Sony Pictures Animation. The film was directed by Mike Rianda (in his feature directorial debut), co-directed by Jeff Rowe, and written by Rianda and Rowe, with Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Kurt Albrecht serving as producers. The film follows the dysfunctional Mitchell family that winds up having to save Earth from a global robot uprising while on a road trip. Since animated isn’t really my thing, I would not have seen The Mitchells vs. the Machines if it were not for its Oscar nomination.  I thought the film was decent and fun.

Katie Mitchell (voice: Abbi Jacobson) is a quirky aspiring filmmaker in Kentwood, Michigan, who often clashes with her nature-obsessed and technophobic father Rick (voice: Danny McBride), and has recently been accepted into film school in California. The evening before Katie leaves, Rick accidentally breaks her laptop after a fight over one of Katie’s previous short films, leading the family to fear their relationship will be strained forever. To try to prevent this, Rick decides to cancel Katie’s flight and instead drive Katie, her mother Linda (voice: Maya Rudolph), younger brother Aaron and their talking family dog Monchi (voice: Mike Rianda),  on a cross-country road trip to her college as one last bonding experience. Meanwhile, technology entrepreneur Dr. Mark Bowman (voice: Eric André) declares his highly intelligent AI PAL obsolete as he discards her into the garbage and unveils a new line of home robots to replace her. In revenge, PAL orders all the robots to capture humans worldwide and launch them into space. The Mitchells manage to avoid capture at a road stop café in Kansas. Rick decides that his family should stay put in the café for their own safety, but Katie convinces him to help save the world instead. They meet two defective robots, Eric (Beck Bennett) and Deborahbot 5000 (Fred Armisen), who tell the family they can use a kill code to shut down PAL and all the robots. The Mitchells make it to a mall in eastern Colorado to upload the kill code, but PAL chip-enabled appliances attempt to stop them. Katie tries to upload the kill code but is stopped when a giant Furby pursues the family.

As much as technology is my thing, I think The Mitchells vs. the Machines moves a little too fast and is a little too complicated for most folks.  The Mitchells have so many moving parts it starts to border on being silly, kind of like slap-stick.  I loved the message of family and the solutions Rick comes up with to try and hold his family together but the quickness and the multiple topics were a bit of a drawback.  I’m sure a lot of youngsters will get something out of the film however, I thought it was a bit much yet fun for the whole family.  On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 186 reviews with an average rating of 8.20/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “Eye-catching and energetic, The Mitchells vs. the Machines delivers a funny, feel-good story that the whole family can enjoy.” The Mitchells vs. the Machines is streaming on Netflix — Check It Out!

[THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES is Oscar-nominated at the 94th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film — Totaling 1 Oscar Nomination]



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