movies

A hilarious cast and heart-warming message: Why The Mitchells vs. The Machines is your next favourite kids movie.

Netflix
Thanks to our brand partner, Netflix

It’s a Sunday afternoon, I’ve just put on a third load of washing. Husband has mowed the lawn and is now sitting on the couch on his phone. Miss 6 is in the next room on her iPad playing Roblox online with her cousin.  

This is a typical Sunday at my house.    

We’re relaxing, we’re getting odd jobs done, we’re existing in the same space but we’re not exactly spending any good quality family time together.

So I was excited when I had the chance to review the new Netflix action-comedy The Mitchells vs. The Machines, thinking this would be a great time for us to do something together, but still not have to physically go anywhere or pay a stack of money to do it.

So I called the family into the lounge room with some resistance, one from Husband not overly keen to watch a kids movie and the second being from the child, unhappy with being booted off her screen.

But I promised both of them it would be worth it.

Listen to Mamamia's twice-weekly parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

The movie opens with talented YouTube video maker Katie Mitchell whose dream it is to flee her home and go to film school. 

If her voice sounds familiar when it's your turn to watch it, then you're probably a fan of Broad City too, because the human behind her character is one half of the two woman team who created the show, Abbie Jacobson.

ADVERTISEMENT

Katie introduces us to her not-so-normal family. 

There’s her little brother Aaron (Michael Rianda, who also directs the film) who totally gets her; Mum Linda (voiced by the incredibly talented and super funny Maya Rudolph) who does her best to support her artistic daughter; and Dad Rick (Danny McBride, who has lent his voice to other animated comedies including Despicable Me, Kung Fu Panda and Angry Birds) who is struggling to understand his teenage daughter.

Together the Mitchells are everything their uber cool, neutral colour wearing neighbours Hailey and Jim Posey (Chrissy Teigen and John Legend) are just not

The Mitchells are messy, loud, disorganised and have plenty of character quirks. 

Katie longs to be away from this life where her Dad doesn’t understand her passion for film; the once-close pair finding themselves more often than not, at each other’s throats.

After a particularly disheartening falling out the night before Katie is due to leave for college, Dad decides to cancel her plane ticket and instead, drive the whole family across the country so they can spend some time together before the big move.

Now, if you remember what it was like to be a teenager or have a teenager living in your house right now, you would know that it can sometimes be like living with a barely controlled volcanic eruption. 

Not only do they have a resentful teenage daughter in the car with them alongside their quirky son Aaron and adorably clueless pug Monchi, the Mitchells are about to face an even tougher challenge: the uprising of the machines and the robot apocalypse.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s where this animated film starts to eerily imitate life. 

Tech guru Mark Bowman (voiced by Eric André) has announced his next big tech innovation (he throws off a bit of a Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg vibe): his robots will be humanity’s servants, cleaning up after us and doing all the things we don’t want to. 

His announcement comes as a shock to his previous invention, the Siri-esque PAL (voiced by Olivia Coleman) who plots her revenge, not just on her creator, but all of humanity.

What goes down after that, includes robots voiced by NBA stars and talk show hosts who try to capture every human on the planet, leaving the Mitchells alone to face off with an entire robot army. 

Even the super cool and organised neighbours find themselves at the mercy of PAL, forcing the Mitchells to come to terms with their own weirdness and see it not only as something to be proud of, but as the source of their strength.

At one stage, I looked over at the fam as we watched The Mitchells vs. The Machines together and realised we had all been laughing out loud at the same jokes. 

While the sometimes hard to navigate relationship between father and daughter was a focus and something I hope Husband soaked right in, it was the weaving in of actual YouTube clips and the beautiful Lizzy McGuire style cartoons within the animation that also made this movie so unique.

We loved that it showed a brother and sister who genuinely love and understand each other. 

Siblings Katie and Aaron are like best mates in the story, but who also have to strike out and look beyond their inner family circle to make friends too. Not always an easy thing to do.

We loved Dad being the guy who is so good at everything but tech, the one thing his daughter loves. 

It shows that Dads aren’t always up to date on everything new and improved but sometimes their old school knowledge is just as needed in the moment; where him and his daughter complemented each other's needs so much.

And Mum, yes Mum, you super Queen. We loved how she can be both the peacemaker and the one who kicks serious butt (literally) at the same time. 

Mum is strong and capable and scary as hell when the time arises. When those Mum instincts kick in, it doesn’t matter if you’re her biological child or one she’s adopted into her circle, you best believe she has your back.

ADVERTISEMENT

Monchi, the Mitchells' pug, is a star in so many ways that I can’t reveal here (promise me you'll see this movie), but he occupies a space that so many of us love about our animals; they’re equal parts hilarious, cute as heck and simultaneously just plain gross.

As the credits rolled on The Mitchells vs. The Machines and we laughed again at Dad being with his Dad-isms, I couldn't help it: I gave myself a bit of a pat on the back. 

The movie was fun and super funny with jokes for both the kiddo and the grown-ups. No one had whinged about not being on their tablet (at least for the 1 hour and 53 minutes the film went for). We all genuinely enjoyed it across ages.

And a few hours later, I smiled when Miss 6 came to me and asked if she could watch it again. 

It takes a lot to steer the ship away from a tablet so I'm giving kudos to the Mitchell family, you not only fight to save humanity, but you help this little family have some bonding time too.

From the humans that brought you Spider-man into the Spider-verse and The Lego Movie, this star-studded animated comedy The Mitchells vs. The Machines is coming to Netflix Friday 30th April. Watch the trailer here.

Netflix
From the humans that brought you Spider-man into the Spider-verse and The Lego Movie, Netflix presents The Mitchells vs The Machines, busting through an algorithm near you April 30th.