Netflix’s ‘Mitchells vs. the Machines’ is energetic, emotional adventure from makers of ‘Spider-verse’


Columbia Pictures and Netflix

Mitchells vs. the Machines’ infectious energy and emotion makes it one of the most memorbale modern animated films.

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

When Sony Pictures Animation released “Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse” in 2018, the studio showcased its talent, and the film was a breath of fresh air for animated films which can at times feel all too safe and serialized. With their newest film “Mitchells vs. the Machines,” the studio once again showcases their prowess for unique and vibrant animation, eccentric humor and emotional storytelling.  


The film follows the Mitchells, a greatly eccentric family with Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) excited to leave home and pursue her dreams at film school. Her father Rick (Danny McBride) doesn’t understand her passions and the tension between the two creates unease with the whole family including Katie’s mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and her brother Aaron (Michael Rianda). The family’s plans to bond on a road trip before Katie leaves become interrupted as the world’s technological devices begin a revolution, leaving them as the only humans left uncaptured. The film follows their adventure as they try to stop the robot uprising and save humanity while learning to become more of a family along the way.  


The unique animation style immediately stands out and emphasizes the film’s colorful, over-the-top nature. The blend of 3D with 2D animation techniques makes the already bright art style even more vibrant and dynamic. Similar to how “Spider-verse” applied comic book-style effects to its animation, “Mitchells” fills its movement with 2D drawings to highlight motions both big and small throughout the entire film, giving the animation a distinct look 


The animation directly contributes towards the action and comedy of the film as well. “Mitchells” is wildly witty and frenetic, and the film’s humor plays a big part of it. The film isn’t afraid to be as ridiculous as possible, and almost every joke and gag memorably lands. Nearly every scenario in the film is wild and entertaining; words almost can’t describe the hilarity behind scenes such as the Mitchells running from a giant, laser-shooting Furby doll. Given the film’s focus on technology, the comedy also plays into internet humor but does so in a way that captures the craziness without directly referencing or using trends that will make the film feel dated in only a few months.  


Each member of the family is unique, expressive, and incredibly quirky, which gives each one of them a distinct charm. Even with their eccentric personalities, the characters are all incredibly relatable which greatly helps the emotional beats of the story. Each family member plays a distinctly different role that gives almost every viewer someone that they can directly relate to, which emphasizes the film’s theme of family. The movie surprisingly depicts real flaws and issues that families deal with, especially through Katie and her dad’s journey towards trying to understand one another. When the movie slows down to highlight these moments, you can truly feel the heartful sincerity in its message on how important and valuable family is.  


“Mitchells vs. the Machines” is an unforgettable and thoroughly entertaining trip from start to finish, and its uniqueness and vibrancy help make it an absolute highlight in animation.