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Today we’re talking about the 2021 film The Mitchells vs the Machines.
Most road trip movies rely on the ignorance or poor decision making of the characters. That lends to a sort of cringe comedy that I loved as a kid but can’t stand anymore. This movie turned that trope on its head. Instead the characters are lost in their own worldview and have trouble seeing each other.
The entire movie hinges on the family being a little strange, very lucky, and learning to work together. The plot is mildly predictable, surreal, and so much fun anyway.
For a movie that gives up grounded mid-way, its characters are infinitely relatable. I felt for each of the Mitchells.
The secondary characters are mild caricatures, but serve a good purpose.
I liked that they adopted the two robots into their family. It’s a nice message that genetics don’t make a family and found family is just as powerful.
The subtle inclusion of a gay main character was refreshing, as was the lack of forced romance.
This movie has so many references to memes and internet culture that it’s impressive. I think that the references will age quickly and probably not well.
The humour is surprisingly clever and the dialogue sometimes much deeper than expected.
Visuals and Music
The animation was done in a style similar to Into the Spiderverse, but with more colourful “internet” things. There were a few times I wanted to pause and just look at all the details and backgrounds. It was stunningly beautiful.
The music was nice and the songs were perfectly chosen. I got a little frustrated with the electronic riff that felt plucked from the Stranger Things intro, but that’s minor.
The type of movie made it clear that the awkward family drama would have an awesome payoff and it did. This meant that I didn’t spend much time cringing and really enjoyed the ride. The kids were glued to the screen and we all laughed a lot. The giant Furby terrified my 22 month old.
A good old fashioned road trip and apocalypse movie that ditches the frustrating parts of both. The animation is spectacular and characters relatable. Proper Queer representation and a nod to found family add extra depth to an action-packed and laugh out loud film.
Final Score: 5* Stars out of 5
*A 5 star review doesn’t mean the movie was perfect nor that it is perfect for everyone but it is a movie I believe is as close to perfect as possible.