The Mitchells vs. The Machines review: The funniest animated movie in years
The new movie from the folk behind Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse arrives on Netflix this month.
What if you played the plot of The Terminator for laughs? That is essentially the set-up of The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which pits a dysfunctional family against an artificial intelligence uprising.
However, this is really more of the loud and bright background noise behind the father-daughter relationship repair at the movie's core.
When a Mark Zuckerberg-esque tech bro (Eric Andre) creates a new version of a Siri-type AI, the previous version (voiced by Olivia Colman) goes bad, and turns pretty much all technology on the planet - including a new I, Robot-y helper bot - against humanity.
As pretty much every single human is rounded up, a family mid-roadtrip find themselves to be the mankind's last hope. However, the dad (Danny McBride) and about-to-go-to-college daughter (Abbi Jacobson) never see eye to eye, and their plans on how to save all of humanity never align.
Interestingly, the movie doesn't really come down on one side or the other, with the dad being all about nature and setting up old-school traps, but the daughter being a member of the YouTube and Tik Tok generation, and wanting to use technology to win. Yes, the ultimate answer will be a mix of both, but thankfully the movie doesn't beat you around the head with that revelation.
A lot of that comes down to director and co-writer Michael Rianda, who imbues both the visuals and the storytelling with a hyper-kinetic conveyor belt of references, stylistic choices and properly laugh-out-loud jokes. The inspiration taken from Into The Spider-Verse (that movie's executive producers Lord & Miller do the same job here) are obvious, never letting the action die down ever for a second. Didn't like that joke? Don't worry, there'll be five more in the next two minutes.
There are also a huge amount of supporting characters and scene-stealers, from the family's dog Monchi, to the broken pair of robots that decide to join the family on the trip, to the mall full of evil Furbys and the script often just gives up on making sense and goes with the vibe of "What if THIS happened next?"
Under normal circumstances, that might prove to be a frustratingly loose watch, but when the end results are this funny, you simply won't care that it all feels so random.
Unlikely to rank alongside Pixar greats (or even Into The Spider-Verse) because of that looseness, The Mitchells vs. The Machines will slot nicely alongside movies like Megamind and Monsters Vs. Aliens. It isn't massively concerned with changing the medium of animated movies as we know it, it's more concerned in making sure you're having a good time watching it.
And at that, it succeeds massively.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines arrives on Netflix on Friday, 30 April.
Clip via Netflix