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'The Mitchells vs. The Machines'

A family in a car going on a road trip.

Hardly anyone, at least, no one I know would conclude that their family is always functional. You know, like in a normal way, much less be able to wrap their mind around being the last hope to, ‘save themselves and the world.’ Well, that’s precisely what Writer - Directors Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe envisioned for the family in this visually stunning animated action film, The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

The Mitchell’s, including mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and brother Aaron (Rianda) in a last-ditch effort for dad Rick (Danny McBride), to connect with his teenage daughter Katie (Abbie Jacobson), ends up taking her to school instead of putting her on a plane and sending her off to start a new chapter in her life, saddled with a whole host of unresolved daddy issues. Producers (Phil Lord) and (Chris Miller) manage to tap into the energy behind their The Lego Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to make the inevitable family road trip that’s been done ‘ad nauseam ad infinitum’ in film-after-film fun… inspiring even.

Meanwhile, as if tensions weren’t already thick enough to ‘cut with a knife,’ tech giant Mark Bowman (Eric Andre) introduces a newer version of his virtual assistant PAL. Technology that works in tandem with the newest versions of iPhones and iPads. Well, the old version of PAL (voiced by Olivia Colman) launches a full-scale mutiny turning all technology against humans, as she doesn’t take to kindly to being dismissively tossed away like a piece of garbage.

Hence, the full-on assault on mankind begins at the gas station where the Mitchells have pulled over to refuel their car and their bodies before getting back on the road, but instead end up being forced into a battle to save one another and the world amidst the technological revolution.

The juxtaposition of, ‘technology is dumbing down mankind’ and will undoubtedly, ‘be the death of us,’ alongside the use of viral videos on YouTube to connect two generations is nothing if not amusing. The tech-savvy Katie and her dear old dad Rick may not agree on, well… pretty much anything, but both ultimately concede that it’s gonna take some good old-fashioned wisdom and technology working in tandem to stop the doomsday clock ticking towards the total destruction of the world as they know it.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines, produced by Sony Pictures Animation, Columbia Pictures, and Lord Miller, premiered on Netflix April 30, 2021. A strong story and extraordinary vocal performances including (Fred Armisen) & (Beck Bennett), two robot foes turned friends of the Mitchells, (Chrissy Teigen) & (John Legend) as the perfect parents who live next door, also (Blake Griffin) and (Conan O’ Brien) are what make this movie worth the watch.

It is my love for animated films coupled with the fact that I own my own production company, am longing for the day that I’ll be reading reviews for one of my own films that prompted me to make, The Mitchells vs. The Machines my first official film review. Even at 113 minutes, which might be a little long for some, I have no doubt that it will become a staple in the homes of many, a classic that they’ll want to watch over and over for many years to come.

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