by Ian Morton
The Mitchells vs The Machines is a little muddled in its central themes but the overall package is more than enough for the family to enjoy this long bank holiday weekend.
The new animated feature from Netflix is an exciting, action packed adventure from fairly new directing duo Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe. The story follows the Mitchell family and in particular, daughter Katie and the distance she feels from her father. After an argument around the dinner table, the decision is made for one last ditch attempt to keep the family together by going on a cross country road trip to drop Katie off at college. No sooner have they hit the road, the household finds themselves in the middle of a robopocalypse and the last hope for mankind.
Straight off the bat, the animation is astonishing. Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller as well as being backed by Sony, it’s no surprise that the film has some resemblance to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In much the same way, it pushes the boundaries of what animation can look like on the big screen, blending what feels like a mixture of cell shaded characters and hand painted backgrounds the film is utterly unique and is truly hard to compare to anything else.
Unlike it’s animation however, the plot is a little less remarkable. The first half sets the story up as a father-daughter story but by about the halfway mark evolves to be more of a family adventure. While the narrative benefits from this – the second half giving the audience much more to look at – it does feel a little disjointed when looking at the picture as a whole. Although it might be a little derivative to compare it to films like The Incredibles, it’s hard not to be reminded of Pixar’s first family as the events unfold and feel a twinge of disappointment that it doesn’t hit home quite as satisfactorily.
Regardless of these issues however, The Mitchells vs The Machines is good fun; its heart is in the right place and it will make you laugh…a lot. Pair that with an absolutely glorious soundtrack from Mark Motherbaugh and the effect is an entertaining and distinctive animation that does a decent job at setting itself apart.
If you enjoyed reading, check out some of our other reviews here: