A colourful, fast-paced animated adventure, The Mitchells Vs The Machines is both a goofy treat for kids of all ages and a hilarious delight for grown-ups – and one of the first ‘must-see’ family movies of 2021.
Produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (whom we should still be thanking for giving us Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie) and written and directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe (who both worked on the terrific TV series Gravity Falls), the movie focuses on the dysfunctional Mitchell family.
Wannabe filmmaker Katie Mitchell (Jacobson) hasn’t connected with her well-meaning dad Rick (McBride) for a long time, so he seizes an opportunity to bring them closer together by making her journey to film school a family road trip. With Katie’s mum Linda (Rudolph), dinosaur-obsessed little brother Aaron (Rianda) and freaky-looking family pug dog Monchi along for the (very long) ride, Katie doesn’t think things can get any worse. Unfortunately, their trip coincides with a robot apocalypse, with everything from smart phones to roombas capturing every human on the planet under the leadership of app Pal (Colman, sounding like she is having a whale of a time).
As the family reluctantly bonds to become humanity’s last hope, the sharp writing skilfully balances action with warmth, while the animation is as fresh and quirky as you’d expect from the Spider-verse team. There are some eye-wateringly funny moments – including Furby toys rising up in a mall, in a sort of fluffy homage to Dawn Of The Dead – alongside heartfelt ones that never feel unnecessarily sentimental.
A treat for all ages – this road trip with an adorably bonkers family is definitely worth taking.
Is The Mitchells Vs The Machines suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very young viewers may find the robots a little scary. It’s worth noting they capture, rather than kill, humans, but young viewers may be distressed seeing this.
The movie does contain some mild language and action sequences.
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