The Mitchells vs. The Machines

The Mitchells vs. The Machines ★★★★

The names Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been hard to miss in the field of computer animation over the past decade. The two have proven the marketability of their version of modern animated film art from their joint directing debut Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to The Lego Movie, which surprisingly turned out to be far more than just a promotional film for the Danish toy company. 

The Mitchells vs the Machines is the duo's fourth collaboration with Sony and finds them once again, as they did with the revolutionary Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, dispensing with directorial duties. However, their fingerprints remain unmistakable as they hand the Jeff Lowe written script to Mike Rianda. At the centre of the animated adventure is the dysfunctional titular family, comprising of Katie Mitchell, a teenager and aspiring filmmaker, her parents, Rick and Linda, her eccentric little brother Aaron and loveable pooch Monchi. 

Katie gets roped into going on a cross-country road trip with her family as one last bonding experience before she heads off to film school. However, the journey takes an unexpected turn when PAL, an intelligent virtual assistant, opposes its creator Dr Mark Bowman and instigates a global uprising of robots; it falls into the hands of the Mitchell family to stop the robot apocalypse and save the planet from digitised doom. 

A big plus is the amount of pointed humour in the science-fiction comedy, which thrives on wonderfully self-referential meta-gags and precisely placed one-liners. As with Into the Spider-Verse, classic 2D techniques are mixed with modern 3D animations, resulting in a look that gives the film great visual appeal and, stirred together with fast cuts and a pleasant pace, the central dynamic of the film is hilarious.

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