The Mitchells vs. The Machines

The Mitchells vs. The Machines ★★★★

Even as someone who was terribly optimistic about this for no good reason despite the awful advertising campaign, this had absolutely no right being so good.

Its art style has that same irritating corporate gloss as this embarrassing Grubhub ad, most of the humor didn't land very hard, its subject matter is an overused and over-beaten horse of “commentary,” and the awkwardly blunt title heavily implies that this is going to be another “ooga nature good, booga smartphone bad” type allegory, which could not possibly be more skewed; as I left this feeling refreshed, and with a newfound interest in Song Animation.

Really, this is a movie about a family learning to except each other even if they don’t fully understand  one another, and it’s one of the most nuanced depictions of complicated modern family struggles in animation since The Incredibles that despite some heavy botching of Internet culture feels extremely contemporary and relatable (okay, scarily relatable; you’ll understand if you’ve seen it).

The animation, despite not being my cup of tea, looks really damn good for this kind of art style which reminded a lot of this video game The Long Dark. The voice acting is peak, the soundtrack is an awesome collage of movie references and 80s synthetic, the emotional beats hit insanely well, and the humor is mostly character driven which gives a decent enough pass for some of the more cringeworthy “How do you do fellow kids?” level jokes.

I highly implore giving it a watch; it’s an original non-Disney/Pixar animated film about something really important that doesn’t indulge in fake sentimentality or squandered nuance for a younger audience. And it’s Phil Lord & Christopher Miller; best animated film in years.

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