During my time at home I have started watching movies a lot more, catching up on films and tv shows I had never seen before like Your Name, Weathering With You, Akira, and Justice League (both versions).
As it turns out I was just biding my time until 2021’s The Mitchell’s Vs The Machines came out on Netflix and came swinging hard. The film formely known as Connected and was supposed to be released in theaters last year was delayed (for obvious reasons) until Netflix picked it up and gave it back its original name. I for one am disappointed I could not see this film on the biggest screen possible but it does have me excited to see it at all.
The film follows the rambunctious dysfunctional family, the Mitchell’s on what was going to be a messy cross country road trip to Katie’s college (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) before it was suddenly interrupted by the robot apocalypse.
This film brings its A-game to the table on every front, its score, humor, writing, themes, characters, style, tone, and most importantly its animation. Lets talk about the animation.
The film goes for a smeary painted toon-ish look that automatically sets it apart from 99% of 3D American animated films. Almost nothing is ever absolutely perfectly straight or uniform, it gives a uniquely goofy loom that just works. When the backround needs to go out of focus rather than immatating a film camera the film pulls your eyes where they need to be by making the background have a smearey texture and thinner less opaque lines making the background defined but blended allowing you to naturally follow along with the more highlighted key points of the films. The films also has a great blend of 2D and 3D animation adding flare and emphasis to the characters and the world making this beautifully unique film.
The animation is thanks in part to Michael Rianda, Chris Miller, Philip Lord, and a whole slew of other artisits who asked Sony Animation Pictures to take a risk with this film. With no surprise since these films are behind the same genius minds as Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, and Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse. Three very stylistic and very unique animated films that deserve all the praise.
The movies score is nothing to scoff at either, being done by the amazing Mark Mothersbaugh, best known for his more notable scores in Thor Ragnorak, The LEGO Movie, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. To say that Mark understands the assignment would be an understate making banger after bangers throughout the film, keeping up with the tone, adding texture, emotion, and atmosphere to every part of the film.
This film connected to me with its charactes, an inspiring film maker ready to leave her family behind as she goes to her dream college. The film make me appreciate the characters not villainizing the rest of family but making both sides understandable. She just wants to be understood and they don’t want her to be so ready to just drop them and move on. Its important to make the family you choose, but no matter who that family is you do need to talk to them, not burn your bridges the moment there’s one crack on the road. Change your approach don’t abandon it all together.
Sony worried everyone when they created the highly scrutinized animated film The Emoji Movie but now they are slowly rising to the top with unique, weird, risky, stylish and thoughtful projects like Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse and The Mitchell’s vs The Machines and future projects like The Black Knight, Vivo, and Bubbles.
Last month Disney release Raya and the Last Dragon, which as usual was just another Disney movie, the story was nothing new, the animation was something we’ve seen before but with a new coat of paint, and was overall just okay. It was meh. I’m glad other studios are coming in and giving Disney a run for their money when it comes to making something good.
Absolutely go watch this film as soon as possible. The Mitchell’s vs The Machine’s is the best film I’ve seen this year and needs as many people watching it as possible. I hope to soon buy this in the most collectors edition bluray, 4k, VHS, whatever possible.