Review: ‘The Mitchells vs the Machines’ continues Lord & Miller’s ongoing streak of great films

Families are tough. You don’t get to choose them, and you may not fit in with them, but unless you are one of the unlucky ones, your family will never stop trying and will always have your back. The Mitchells vs The Machines is the latest film that will teach you this lesson, that no matter what is going on in your life and how much you don’t relate to them, your parents will have your back. Most people learn this over time as they grow and mature. Katie Mitchell learns on a road trip with her parents that happens to coincide with a robot uprising.

Spoiler alert, this movie is amazing.

Without getting into too much detail, this movie definitely has elements you have seen before. A quirky, out of place kid in an even quirkier family trying to escape to college, not so much to find herself as to lose her dad. Katie (Abbi Jacobson), an aspiring filmmaker and her dad, Rick (Danny McBride), a dedicated but clumsy outdoorsman, have exactly nothing in common, and they have both forgotten how to relate to one another. In a last-ditch attempt to rectify this, the whole family piles into their dilapidated car and drive across the country rather than let her fly.

At the same time, a giant tech company unveils its latest must-have gadget, a robot helper for your home. But, as they are being announced, they rebel against their creator, and at the behest of their new master, PAL (Olivia Colman) –the companies now discarded Siri-like digital assistant– begin to take over the world.

To give you any more detail would be unfair, there is so much going on in this movie and so many great character moments and dialogue, none of which should be spoiled. Writer/Director Mike Rianda and Co-writer/Co-Director Jeff Rowe have created a wonderful family story that both rings true and reference more science fiction films than I can shake a stick at. It is both hilarious and heartfelt and uses a nearly Star Trekian method of defeating the robots that I adore.

THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
The combination of animation styles in this movie works to great effect.

The animation itself is once again groundbreaking. Lord and Miller seem to be the producers to work for in this regard. When someone says, “can we do this?” or when they say “we can’t do this”, their answer seems to be “why not?” This film blends styles so completely that it ends up being both one of the best looking animated films of the year and exactly like quirky teenagers notebook.

All of this, the story, characters, the art style (and a great score from Mark Mothersbaugh) all come together nearly perfectly; It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s gorgeous, and it’s one of the best movies of the year so far.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines is available now on Netflix.