The Mitchells take on the robot apocalypse in The Mitchells vs The Machines.

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How would you tackle an impending robot apocalypse?

The Mitchells vs The Machines meets it head on as a quirky suburban family finds themselves fighting off the end of the world as they know it.

Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it’s no surprise they’re onto a winner. The animation style is reminiscent of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, while the off-kilter comedy beats have LEGO Movie written all over them. Throw in a spark of eccentric creativity a la Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and you’ve got a perfect storm of Lord and Miller’s greatest hits.

The Mitchells vs The Machines is a clever, hilarious family film that goes one step beyond. Sure, it’s a funny, frantic adventure with a whole bunch of witty one-liners. But it’s far more than that – it’s packed full of emotional clout, too.

The Mitchell family aren't your usual kind of heroes.
(Image: Netflix)

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The Mitchells vs the Machines is pretty self-explanatory given its title. An ordinary family (The Mitchells) find that they’re humanity’s last hope after every other human on the planet is rounded up during the robopocalypse (The Machines).

It’s a big story with big action… but the real story is in how it affects the family.

Katie Mitchell (played by Abbi Jacobsen) is a creative weirdo – even in her admittedly odd family. But after being accepted into Film School, she finally feels as though she’s found her place in the world.

Enter the robot apocalypse, and her plans go up in smoke.

Then it’s up to her outdoorsman-like dad Rick (played by Danny McBride), schoolteacher mum Linda (played by Maya Rudolph) and her younger, dinosaur-obsessed brother (played by director Michael Rianda) to help get her life – and the human race – back on track.

And with a couple of robot sidekicks and a strange-looking pug, the gang is complete.

The Mitchells aren't your ordinary suburban family.
(Image: Netflix)

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It’s not long before The Mitchells face off with machines themselves – their ruler is revealed to be pal, a self-aware AI voiced by Olivia Colman.

One of the most interesting things about The Mitchells vs The Machines is that this isn’t just a statement about technology being bad. Far from it. Sure, there are some brilliant jokes at play when the world’s Wi-Fi is turned off. But the very technological infrastructure they fight against is the one that enabled Katie’s creativity. Her filmmaking has already existed online in the form of a hilarious YouTube channel, where Katie makes her own spin on classic film tropes.

It’s a neat twist – that the tech she used to be herself is rising up against her.

And it allows The Mitchells vs The Machines to tackle a lot of heartfelt subjects such as growing up and moving out, as well as Katie’s relationship with her parents.

It’s this combination of laughs, action set pieces and real emotional clout that works so well.

Then there’s the unique animation style. Combining 2D and 3D animation to glorious effect, we get a Scott Pilgrim like effect as Katie ‘edits’ the movie together as we’re watching it. This creates some hilarious asides and meta commentary on the entire filmmaking process while letting us into Katie’s world. The gags and beautiful animation make The Mitchells vs The Machines a real must watch.

The Mitchells take on the robot apocalypse in The Mitchells vs The Machines.
(Image: Netflix)

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Directors Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe have created something great here, especially when it comes to the Mitchell’s family dynamic. They’re not your usual blockbuster heroes, but that’s kind of the point.

And it makes them far more interesting to watch as a result.

Each of the Mitchells has flaws and together they’re a very weird bunch. But that just makes them all the more lovable. Katie as the nerdy outsider, and Rick as the overbearing dad who is just trying to do the right thing are major standouts. And the voice work throughout is top notch – even down to the family’s dog Monchi being ‘voiced’ by real-life YouTube celebrity, Doug the Pug.

But the absolute stand-out is Olivia Colman.

Voicing the smartphone AI pal – who just so happens to be the mastermind behind the end of the world – she’s simply brilliant in a role that pivots from benevolent leader to ruthless dictator as quickly as you can swipe left.

The Mitchells vs The Machines is a smart, funny romp with a heart of gold. And with a message about family connections being more important than wi-fi, it couldn’t be more on point.

Verdict

Make no mistake – The Mitchells vs The Machines is one of the best movies of 2021 so far. Sure, it hasn’t been a bumper blockbuster year, but this frantic animated romp brings us adventure by the bucket load with a side-order of feelings.

The action is big, the animation is beautiful and The Mitchells vs The Machines pulls it all together to create quite an adventure. The end of the world is nigh, but it’s never been so much fun.

The Mitchells vs The Machines is coming to Netflix on April 30, 2021.