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The Mitchells vs. The Machines Movie Review - Relatable & Adventurous!

A broken family sticks together when technology goes rogue.

Reviewed by on Apr 28, 2021
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw The Mitchells vs. The Machines. Can a teen who thinks out of the box unite her family and save the world when the gadgets we rely on attack us? Is weird another word for cool? Read our movie review to find out!

In The Mitchells vs. The Machines, teen misfit aspiring filmmaker Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is headed for film school in California when, on an unwanted road trip with her entire offbeat family; nature nut dad Rick (Danny McBride), dinosaur devotee little bro Aaron (Mike Rianda), means-well mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and fat pug family dog Monchi, a new robot assistant line created by Silicon Valley mogul Mark Bowman (Eric Andre) goes full rogue a la Terminator’s Skynet and imprisons all humans in glass cubicles orbiting the Earth. Only the Mitchells escape! Can Katie’s semi-dysfunctional family survive to stop the machine apocalypse and learn to bond in the process? 

Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is weirdly creativeKatie is weirdly creative

College Bound

College-bound filmmaker Katie Mitchell is a self-described misunderstood “weirdo” who often clashes with her dad Rick, a nature lover who is worried that Katie will fail and need another way to make a living. Katie tells us there has been a “machine apocalypse” and she and her semi-dysfunctional family are the last humans left and they have no idea what they are doing.

Mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) makes goodbye cupcakes for KatieMom makes goodbye cupcakes for Katie

A few days earlier, dad accidentally broke Katie’s computer, didn’t get her “goodbye” video and had decided that instead of letting her fly to film school in California, the Mitchells would make it a last family road trip in their near-wrecked 1993 station wagon. Nooooooo! Katie is mortified. She’ll miss Freshman Orientation with people who understand her!

How Katie (Abbi Jacobson) pictures her familyHow Katie pictures her family

Road Trip Woes and Big Announcement

The trip to school includes food poisoning, dad’s dangerous driving, mule rides from Hell and much more but the kids at film school already love the wacky family videos Katie has been posting.

Aaron (Mike Rianda) loves dinosaursAaron loves dinosaurs

Meanwhile, Tech mogul Mark announces that his old phone assistant program PAL is now obsolete. He tosses her aside. Now everyone will have a new personal assistant with legs! It’s a robot who cooks, cleans and more! The robots are introduced but quickly start wrecking everything. They have new orders from the discarded PAL and capture Mark while the Mitchells stop at an almost abandoned dinosaur amusement attraction. The flying robots land and seal all humans into “fun pods” that ascend into space. Only the Mitchells hide and escape.

Mark (Eric Andre) creates new robot assistantsMark creates new robot assistants

Fighting Back

Dad wants to hole up at the dino park to keep his family safe but Katie wants to get the “kill code” that will stop the machine apocalypse and has a plan to do so. Two of the robots enter wondering how Katie knows about the kill code but they start shorting out. She realizes they are defective. She can order them around. They tell her to use the code at the PAL campus in Silicon Valley or hey, she can just go 80 miles to a mall that houses a PAL store and do it there!

Michells and robot pals see humans about to be launchedMichells and robot pals see humans about to be launched

Katie reminds dad that he often used to do unsafe things when needed. The whole family agrees to get to the mall. Katie admits to Aaron that she just told dad what he wanted to hear. The car is camouflaged to look like the highway with a stripe down the middle and, with their two new robot friends, the Mitchells head for the mall.

PAL's robots take to the skiesPAL's robots take to the skies

At the Mall

While the PAL leader threatens to launch all captured humans into space forever, the Mitchells make it to the mall and start uploading the kill code but it will take eight minutes!  All the appliances with a PAL chip try to kill the family once the leader knows they escaped capture. Even a ginormous Furby toy uses a laser to destroy the PAL router before the kill code fully uploads!  Katie is depressed until Dad Rick tells her she thinks out of the box and her plan will still work. The family will head to the PAL campus in Silicon Valley. Katie still has the flash drive with the code.

The Mitchells cornered by robotsThe Mitchells cornered by robots

At PAL Headquarters

The family makes it to the PAL Labs HQ to shut everything down. They pose as robots to get in but PAL takes over and shows a video of when Katie pretended to have faith in Rick just so he could hear what he wanted to hear. Rick is heartbroken, and he and Linda are captured. Katie and Aaron, with dog Monchi are on their own. PAL creates stronger, bigger and smarter robots and re-programs the two family-friendly bots who then refuse to obey the Mitchells. Aaron is captured and mom Linda goes into kick butt superhero mode and takes down a bunch of the new killer bots, freeing her baby boy.  Dad escapes and tries to upload the kill code but he’s beyond computer incompetent!

PAL A.I. gets discarded and gets evenPAL A.I. gets discarded and gets even

Katie in Charge

Katie drives the family car and she and Aaron use dog Monchi to cause the robots to malfunction at the very sight of him. When they see Monchi, they can’t decide if he’s a dog, pig or a big loaf of bread and they break down. When they see what is happening Rick and Linda, with the help of the two again friendly robots, upload a home movie Katie made starring Monchi. Once all bots see it, they break down but leader PAL will have to be “killed” another way. Can the Mitchells get rid of her? Will humankind be freed or launched into space? Will Katie ever get to film school? Can the family ever really understand one another and be successful as heroes?

Beloved family pug Monchi confuses robotsBeloved family pug Monchi confuses robots

Wrapping Up

The Mitchells vs. The Machines has something totally entertaining for all ages. Adults will get into a lot of pop culture references from the past and present, there is quick-moving, colorful, creative, very well-animated action for everyone and all will laugh themselves silly at the antics of pug Monchi . Kids and teens can relate to Katie whose off-beat creativity sometimes alienates her from her family and potential friends. The film never loses its true-to-life emotional core as Katie finally learns what her dad gave up to make sure her life was better and really “gets” where he is coming from. The family misunderstandings are all relatable.

Robots land world-wideRobots land world-wide

The theme of humankind relying way too much on technology while it replaces more personal relationships is certainly a timely one. Gee, you think maybe big tech corporations don’t have our best interests at heart? Taking the idea of a computer system going rogue a la Skynet in the Terminator films gets a different twist here and it works!

Katie's (Abbi Jacobson) film school video applicationKatie's film school video application

Voice actors are all excellent, especially award-winning actress Olivia Coleman as the frustrated, Alexa-like A.I. PAL. 2D combined with 3D animation is a visual feast from the guys who brought us the also revolutionary Spider Man Into the Spider Verse. We can’t see anything truly negative about this fun, engaging film so award a full five stars!

The Mitchells vs. The Machines Movie Rating: 5

The Mitchells vs. The Machines Movie Review - Relatable and Adventurous!

See The Mitchells vs. The Machines on Netflix starting Friday, April 30th