The Mitchells vs. the Machines
The Mitchells vs. The Machines (formally known as Connected at one point) is a 2021 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation. The film is directed by Mike Rianda (in his feature directorial debut), and written by Rianda and Jeff Rowe (who also serves as co-director), with Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Kurt Albrecht serving as producers. It was released in select theaters on April 23, 2021, and streaming digitally on Netflix on April 30, 2021.
Young Katie Mitchell embarks on a road trip with her proud parents, younger brother and beloved dog to start her first year at film school. But their plans to bond as a family soon get interrupted when the world's electronic devices come to life to stage an uprising. With help from two friendly robots, the Mitchells must now come together to save one another -- and the planet -- from the new technological revolution.
Why This Film's Legacy Will Last FOREVER.
- The Bob Clampett-esque CGI-animation and art-style is hilariously unique, gorgeous, and slick, the designs that are seen are excellent and even modern that fits very well, in fact, it's almost visually Spider-Verse levels of stunning.
- Great soundtrack by Mark Mothersbaugh, who also scored The Lego Movie, Thor: Ragnarok, etc.
- Eric and Deborahbot 5000, the defective robots from PAL Labs, are likable and hilarious. They decided to help the Mitchells to fight the evil tech robots controlled by PAL, the one responsible for staging an uprising, and the two are also quite funny. They're decision to gain their own thoughts on humanity and resist PAL's control is also implied to be what causes them to survive her destruction near the end.
- Great voice acting, especially for Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Eric Andre, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Conan O'Brien from his late-night show on his same name, Charlyne Yi, Sasheer Zamata, Rianda, Olivia Colman and the Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch.
- The battle against the evil robots are awesome, particularly the one that occurs in the climax.
- The Mitchells are likable characters.
- Katie is daughter of the family as well as the film's main protagonist. An aspiring filmmaker, she's introduced as having a strained relationship with her father as a result due to their opposing passions. This lead to her becoming alienated from her family. But thankfully, she realizes the error of her ways and goes out of her way to save her parents from PAL after they're captured in the climax.
- Rick is the nature-obsessed and technophobic father of the family. After he watches on of Katie's videos while captured by PAL, he realizes that he hasn't been very supportive towards her life aspirations and how badly his actions have been alienating her. And by the end, they're both on much better terms.
- Linda is the mother, who works as a first-grade teacher. A very sweet and kind person, she's endlessly supportive of her family, though she's also a little insecure about how dysfunctional they are compared to their neighbors.
- Aaron is the younger child and son of the family with a massive obsession with dinosaurs. He also develops a crush on Abbey Posey, the daughter of the family's "perfect" neighbors, despite him completely refusing to admit it.
- It hilariously parodies family movies where a parent is mostly against technology and the kids or a family member is addicted into technology.
- There's a lot of subtle representation that doesn't come off as forced, such as how Katie is implied to be an LGBTQ+ character or how some people can view Aaron as a representation of autism with dinosaurs as his special interest.
- The humor is really funny. The most notable example is Rick, Linda and Aaron find Katie seemingly dying after the battle, yet the latter pranks them by having Monchi lick Rick, which she did at one point during the road trip with a montage.
- A lot of clichés found in other movies are handled well most of the time here.
- The pacing works very well.
- The end-credits is very unique, being comprised of family pictures and photos of the people that had created this film. Which is something you certainly don't see much when it comes to movies, even family ones.
- It pays homage to pop-culture reference, like Katie Mitchell has a spoof poster of Being There movie in her room and PAL being direct reference to HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey from this movie.
- A crazy twist for opening logo at the start, with transitioning from the word "O" for Sony via a multi-colored tunnel, then near the end of Columbia logo where the torch lady (or Colombia) turning her into a cartoon version with rainbow garbs and several objects (like pizza, burgers, stars, and emojis) flowing out of the torch. The Sony Pictures Animation logo also flickers and illuminates like a neon sign, replacing with blue background with writing in it, then it turns into texture logo, red background and rainbow garbs and several objects appears in it.
- Unlike Ralph Breaks the Internet, this movie manages to get the message it was trying to tell right, which is letting your children go when the time has come for them to leave, much like when Rick had to let the house he had built by himself go, and to send Katie off to film school.
- It also has another message that parents should not have doubts about their children when they try something new. It even tackles the third message of spending more time with your family decently.
- “Your flight will last FOREVER. And your final destination is: THE BLACK VOID OF DISTANT SPACE.”
- Unlike The Emoji Movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Ron's Gone Wrong (despite the latter 2 being good), this movie doesn't feel like a corporate sellout nor does it preach against tech dependency only to promote it in the end. It was a satire among the lines of “Admit it, we’re all guilty of this and it’s funny”.
- Sometimes, the humor can be mediocre, and the joke can sometimes be a punchline to a reference, or something related to meme humor, which is sometimes heavily beaten into the ground.
- While the voice acting is great, some people may feel like Mike Rianda was miscast as Aaron Mitchell as he sounds a little too old.
- The fact that Rick cancelled his daughter's flight to go to college, while understandable, is a teensy bit somewhat mean spirited.
- It was also very mean-spirited of Mark to replace PAL with an upgraded version of her called PAL MAX, and got the latter to throw PAL away like trash as well. This also led to PAL turning into the film's main antagonist and starting the robot uprising.
- Like The Emoji Movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet, some product placement has been used, such as Furbys, YouTube and Waffle House along with the direct mentions of Amazon and Instagram, despite there also being some fictional versions of social media used in the movie, but it makes sense because this is about machines against a one family, and all apps and appliances were useful since Katie and everyone else (except Rick) use apps.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines received critical acclaim, garnering praise for the animation, humor, voice acting, and commentary on tech dependence. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 98% based on 128 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Eye-catching and energetic, The Mitchells vs. the Machines delivers a funny, feel-good story that the whole family can enjoy.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100 based on 14 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."
At the 94th Academy Awards, The Mitchells vs. the Machines has been nominated for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Encanto. However, it swept all the categories it was nominated for at the 49th Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature, making it the second film by Sony Pictures Animation to do so after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2019.
- According to Sony Animation president Kristine Belson, the film will use an animation style similar to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). The animation style additionally bears similarities to The Lego Movie (2014), The Peanuts Movie (2015), and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020) as well.
- The first trailer (when the film was still Connected) had a scene where a toilet says "Sayonara" and launches a man through the roof. This isn't in the final film.
- This is the first and one of Sony Pictures Animation's only three theatrically-produced films not to have a theatrical release (alongside Wish Dragon and Vivo), as it instead be streaming on Netflix.
- Thus, it is also the fourth animated film to be released straight to digital instead of having a theatrical release following the COVID-19 pandemic; the first four being Warner Animation Group's SCOOB!, Disney/Pixar's Soul and Luca, and Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon Movies' The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (which had a theatrical release in Canada, though, and was already released on Netflix internationally as the second animated film to do so in international countries). The sixth was The Loud House Movie (the first Nickelodeon Movies film without any involvement from Paramount Animation, just like Nick's made-for-TV films).
- Not counting the aforementioned SpongeBob and The Loud House films for the latter reason, it is also the third Netflix original animated film that was originally intended for a theatrical release in the United States after Paramount's The Little Prince and Aardman Animations' A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.
- This film was nominated for the Best Animated feature of 2021, making it the second film from Sony Pictures Animation to do so after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) in 2019.
- Further details were revealed a year later at the 2019 Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June, when Sony Animation president Kristine Belson revealed that the film would be using an animation style similar to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and that the worlds the Mitchell family and the robots live in are initially separate universes before colliding, a concept that was not included in the completed film.
- This film was originally planned to release theatrically by Sony Pictures Releasing under the title Connected in 2020. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on theatres, Sony sold the distribution rights to Netflix, who renamed it The Mitchells vs. the Machines and released it in select theatres on April 23, 2021 before it's streaming release a weekend later, on April 30, 2021.
- Netflix swept the 47th annie awards, with this film and the animated series Arcane: League of Legends winning the most awards, including the best animated feature of 2021.
- The film released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 14, 2021, eight months after the film premiered on Netflix in April 30, 2021.