While some of the in-your-face attempts to combine YouTube videos with animation are jarring at best and annoying at worst, the cautionary stabs about unregulated big tech that come alongside are no bad thing, nestled within the framework of a brightly coloured kids movie. It’s also genuinely funny, a credit not only to the hit-a-minute script but also to a finely picked cast of comic actors
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It sometimes succumbs to that animated problem of choosing hyperactivity over all other storytelling options, but it’s also a whip-smart action film, a movie with nearly “Fury Road”-esque momentum in its asking of the question, “What if the only family that could save the world was as dysfunctional as yours?”
However you slice it, this is the rare CGI movie that radiates its own kind of inventive beauty, slick without feeling plastic, and the artistry that made it possible deserves to be celebrated on its own merits.
Ultimately, this is an original adventure that feels stitched together out of a hundred familiar film plots, often freely acknowledging its pop-cultural plundering, as in the family's obligatory slo-mo power strut away from a building exploding in flames. But for audiences content with rapid-fire juvenilia, the busy patchwork of prefab elements will be entertaining enough.
While the film certainly lays out the dangers of technology run amok, it also sees its power to connect people.
Lacking a precise balance of amiable entertainment and intense thrills, the director and producers fail to rein in violent fantasies that spoil what could’ve been a heartfelt and clever romp exploring family dysfunction.
It’s an unbeatable combination of humor and heart.
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines is as irreverently funny as 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie. And, like Spider-Verse, it has a unique visual style that rewards close inspection.
The laughs come at a clip few movies can sustain, stacked so dense, repeat viewing (and in some cases, strategic freeze-framing) is required to catch them all.
On paper, The Mitchells appears to be a disjointed mashup of genres — the road movie, the father-daughter drama and the man-versus-machine sci-fi thriller — but the filmmakers nicely integrate all the elements with consistently funny jokes and the careful development of the Mitchell family members.