I’m a Mitchell: The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021) Reviewed


Photo Courtesy of Netflix

From the opening production credits of The Mitchells vs. The Machines it is apparent that you are about to witness something special, innovative, and heartfelt. What starts with little pops and flashes of bright 2D animation transforms the Columbia Pictures logo into a stunning collage of nonsensical characters. The action picks up immediately as we are introduced to the Mitchell family on the run from a swarm of robots. This exciting intro immediately sets the tone for the perilous yet charming adventure the Mitchells find themselves on. 

The Mitchell family consists of incoming college freshman, Katie (Abbi Jackson), her dinosaur obsessed younger brother, Aaron (Michael Rianda), her loving and protective mother, Linda (Maya Rudolph), and her outdoorsy, technology illiterate father, Rick (Danny McBride). Not to mention their adorable pug, Monchi. The Mitchell family is entirely likable and are easy to quickly get attached to. They are presented as cartoonish and outlandish, sure, but despite all of their various flaws they are easy to root for. 

The story centers on The Mitchells as they are making a cross-country road trip to drop Katie off at film school. Typical road trip movie hijinks ensue, but Mitchells manages to put a unique twist on it through the inventiveness and imagination of its art style. Countless frames are packed to the brim with either visual jokes or stunning visuals that make this a film a serious treat to behold. The Mitchells vs. The Machines is presented in an extremely unique animation style, blending 2D and 3D animation with brief moments of live action to drive jokes home. It truly is something that needs to be seen in full motion to really believe how eye-catching and entertaining it is. The 2D art that mixes into scenes is reminiscent of the doodles found in a teenagers notebook. The standout moment of the Mitchell's journey features an army of Furbies the hit toy from the 90’s. What could have easily been a corny nostalgia trip is instead presented with an almost horror-movie-like tension that builds to some of the greatest laughs of any film so far this year. 

The central conflict arises when PAL, a Siri-esque artificial intelligence takes over an army of robots with the aim of expunging all humanity from Earth in order to make a more perfect world. Finding themselves as the last remaining humans, the Mitchells take it upon themselves to defeat the robots and save humanity. Joining them are Eric ( Beck Bennett) and Deborah (Fred Armisen), two malfunctioning robots that provide probably the most laughs per minute in the film. Every member of the Mitchell family is given a chance to shine, with a standout being Linda, who turns into a robot-slaying badass. 


Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Somewhat surprisingly, Mitchells moves beyond the basic “technology is bad” idea to deliver a story about how when used for good technology can often serve to bring us together. They are several emotionally heavy scenes in the film dealing with themes of sacrifice, family, dreams and failure. 

The Mitchells vs. The Machines is an ode to young artists and families everywhere. This is one that will play great to the whole family. Kids, teens, and adults will find something to enjoy here. With truly awesome animation, hilarious jokes, and a meaningful story it would be a shock to not see the film top several best animated films of the year lists. 


- Neil Hazel