Director: Michael Rianda & Jeff Rowe
Story By: Michael Rianda & Jeff Rowe
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Linda Mitchell, Michael Rianda, Eric André, Olivia Colman, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, & Charlyne Yi
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First off, I want to shout out teen.reviews.movies on IG for making me aware of this animated gem. I didn’t know what to expect, and was thoroughly impressed with the storyline and overall experience of this film. It was so cute…maybe a tad bit unrealistic with one aspect of the premise, but overall a well done animated film.
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Below are my grades for key components in #TheMitchellsVsTheMachines that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: A-
Character Arc/Development: A
General Entertainment Factor: Worth the Watch
Film Enthusiast Entertainment Factor: Worth the Watch
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1. The first thing I noticed was the animation. I really loved the technique of blending real life images with the animated graphics. 👍🏾👍🏾
2. That was such an authentic way of incorporating sexuality. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
3. The son was absolutely hilarious! 🤣
4. I think I am becoming an Olivia Colman Stan… seriously! 😩🙌🏾
5. I don’t know where to begin with the themes of this film. I loved the exaggerated messaging that came across about our fascination with newer and bigger gadgets, but I think the primary theme of this film was about the ways our families must continue to grow in our views and understandings of one another in order for our love and the overall relationship to stay healthy. We get this via our main family, but it’s also powerfully relayed via Katie. 👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
6. I am not sure why, but that “blast” at the Dino-store was well animated. I felt like I had never seen anything done like it before. Maybe I have, but it really stood out to me. 👍🏾👍🏾
7. Oh the Posseys. 🤣🤣🤣
8. The overall story is a well crafted one of a daddy-daughter relationship that needs mending, and is forced to go through that the process of healing via the one thing the father feels is pulling his daughter away—technology. The story really allows for the mentioned theme to truly manifest itself, and the plot does a great job ensuring that this story is executed well. I found the exposition to climax to be very purposeful. 👍🏾👍🏾
9. However the father’s complete lack of knowledge and use of technology was unrealistic to me. Soooo… how did she see a subscription from him? What other way could they have actually incorporated technology use with the father? I think possibly playing more into her art actually interfering with her ability to be with the family, OR even entering the story at the peak of their relationship so that we see how her interest in technology started to make her become distant to her father…
The film definitely tried to blend all of that as a purpose for the story, but there were too many missing pieces and focus on this “old man not with the times” trope. 🤔🤔🤦🏾♂️
10. Also, to point #7, having the Possey’s was a good use of foil characterization to help our main family recognize their own strengths as a unit. 👍🏾
11. Chile… when they decided to “also” do the “escape procedure”… … 👀👀😩🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
12. I must commend this film for effectively tackling so many arcs. We have Katie’s arc, the overall family arc, the father’s arc, and then the daddy-daughter storyline arc which comes across as the main arc. Ultimately, we see a family that is able to reset and get stronger; a daughter who learns to communicate vs disowning/running away, a father who learns to listen and try, and a daddy-daughter relationship that’s mended and strengthened through understanding and communication. 👍🏾👍🏾
13. The way they incorporated that damn dog! 🤣🤣🤣I can’t!
14. Pacing was pretty good for the most part. There were some moments that moved a little too fast for me, one being the mother’s “sudden change.” On one hand, yes I get it—that mother-family adrenaline and protective nature. However, I would have loved to see at least 1 other moment at the start of the film to help lay the foundation for such capacity….especially in relationship to that particular child. That moment felt like a way to quickly move the plot so that there could be this positive arc/development for the family. It was just too sudden and wild for me. 🤷🏾♂️
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Overall, #TheMitchellsVsTheMachines is such a fun well paced animation that gives Lizzy McGuire-meets-The Croods-meets-iRobot-meets-Smart House (mainly Katie Segal’s character). Additionally, I found the inclusion of sexuality in this PG story to be done really well. I haven’t been impressed with such a blatant, yet subtle way of doing this since the animation ParaNorman.