The Mitchells vs the Machines
★☆☆☆☆
A dysfunctional family must save the world from a robot apocalypse in yet another hyperkinetic kids film that moves so rapidly and indulges in juvenile, audience-winking humor to such a degree that it can't establish any real emotional or narrative stakes. In addition to an animation and storytelling style that plays exactly the same before the characters' world is upended as it doesn't after things start to get intense, we're treated to the same tired American nuclear family stereotypes animated fair has trafficked in for over four decades. What a surprise, a family movie with a dufus dad who tries too hard; a put-upon mom who forgives everyone everything because, well, she's a mom; a nerdy boy who can't deal with anything beyond his obsessions; and an artistically inclined girl longing to escape the stifling confines of her embarrassing parents. Are these really the only family dynamics a mass audience can relate to?

Worse, the movie pretends it has something important to say about contemporary society's reliance on technology when it in fact embraces the very thing it's supposedly warning us about. After all, its the technology that brings this family together, makes the protagonist feel like she's a real artist, and defeats the strawman-machine villains.

The Mitchells vs the Machines makes its fellow pretentious yet vacuous Oscar nominee Don't Look Up, seem downright subtle and intelligent. Hell, it even makes the original computers-might-destroy-us family picture, Disney's 1982 camp classic TRON—one of the many films this derivative hodgepodge pays overt homage to—seem downright deep.

Directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe
Produced by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Kurt Albrecht

Written by Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe

With: the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Charlyne Yi, Blake Griffin, Conan O'Brien, and Doug the Pug

Editing: Greg Levitan
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh

Runtime: 114 min
Release Date: 30 April 2021
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color