Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are a filmmaking duo who, it's fair to say, love getting involved in the zaniest of projects; writing and directing films such as 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie before producing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with Lord even co-writing one of the best animated films of all time. Their latest venture into animation comes in the form of The Mitchells vs the Machines, directed by Mike Rianda, and believe me when I say you'll be hard pushed to find a more wacky film this year.

An animated action-comedy about an ordinary family who find themselves in the middle of their biggest family challenge yet...saving the world from the robot apocalypse. No big deal, right? It all starts when creative outsider Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) is accepted into the film school of her dreams and is eager to leave home and find "her people," when her nature-loving dad (Danny McBride) insists on having the whole family drive her to school and bond during one last totally-not-awkward-or-forced road trip. But just when the trip can't get any worse, the family suddenly finds itself in the middle of the robot uprising. Now it's up to the Mitchells, including upbeat mom Linda (Maya Rudolph), quirky little brother Aaron (Mike Rianda), their squishy pug, Monchi, and two friendly, but simple-minded robots to save humanity.

The Mitchells vs the Machines moves at a blistering pace, a kinetic energy running through it all from the impressive and stylistic animation through to Mark Mothersbaugh's fun score that accompanies the family on their adventure to save mankind from a robot apocalypse. One of the biggest successes of this film though is its playfully inventive sense of humour scattered throughout, the idea of Katie Mitchell wanting to become a filmmaker opening a door for untapped amounts of creativity to come crashing through. There's a number of hilarious lines throughout the film however, it's the brilliant visual gags that really work wonders for the film.

The voice cast bring with them an abundance of life and electricity to their performances, the Mitchell family in particular brought to life rather joyously by Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph and director Mike Rianda, giving the family's youngest member one of the disturbingly deepest voicest in the film. Olivia Colman revels in a villainous role while Fred Armisen and Beck Bennett pretty much steal the film with their performance as Deborahbot 5000 and Eric, two damaged robots who defect and help the Mitchells.
As with most animated films these days, The Mitchells vs the Machines has a lot more to say about humanity than many other films, its core message here emphasising just how important it is to maintain communication with your family with too many people glued to the screens of their phones or computers. The original title, Connected, was a little less subtle with the film's message but the film does great job in getting it across with some really touching moments that very nearly caught me off guard.

If you're looking for a vibrant animated film full of humour and heart, look no further than The Mitchells vs the Machines when it lands on Netflix April 30th.

Verdict: ★★★★


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