Movies

Following One’s Dreams, Embracing What is Quirky, and Surviving the Robot Apocalypse

Movie Review:

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Unique, flashy style
  • Good animation
  • Well-developed, interesting characters
  • Fun plot
  • Relatable conflicts
  • LGBTQ+ representation

Cons

  • No specific cons. Some people think it was chaotic, but I saw that as part of its charm rather than a problem.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Review and Reflection

I watched this movie with my sister and absolutely loved every moment of it. The Mitchells vs. the Machines is about a soon-to-be college student named Katie Mitchell whose family does not understand her quirky projects, which are videos filled with over-the-top animations and goofy storylines. She’s accepted to a top school, and the tension increases between her and her technophobic, nature-loving father when he is worried that she does not have a back-up plan in case her aspirations land her nowhere.

I relate to Katie Mitchell so much, even though I bet my sister relates to her better since they are both artists. The thing is, I have always loved writing. So much so that I have long wanted it to become at least part of my career. When I started college, I didn’t have the guts to just be an English major. I felt like I had to add something a little more…rational. So I added Secondary Education to my major with my fingers crossed that I would be a good English teacher who would write on the side.

I mean, I liked kids and books, so that meant I had to like teaching English. Right?

Nope. Apparently not. I had a fear of standing in front of a class so strong that my fear saturated the days before I would have to teach or present. The way my body handles stress is basically to shut down, so my response to the fear was to take lots of long naps, lying on my bed feeling tense for minute after slowly ticking minute.

It was not until I had been an Education major for more than two years that I had the courage to change to just English. My concern that I would not be able to find a job was stifled by my joy that I was finally doing exclusively what I loved. I read and wrote for almost all of my assignments for my major.

The point is, Katie’s struggle with people not fully believing in her was one of my deep-seated fears. I have always been the people-pleaser and the peacemaker. It is hard for me to be who I am because I am so concerned about how others will see me. As an aspiring author, I understand the fear that comes with following your dreams, dealing with your own doubt and the doubt of others. Not to say I have been without support. My family has been very supportive of my dreams, and it turns out my fear of letting them down was pretty much unwarranted.

It is the same with Katie Mitchell. She feels like her family, especially her dad, cannot understand her dream. And when it comes down to it, they kind of don’t. But at the same time, they love her and want what’s best for her. They may have their concerns, but if she goes for a job in animation or art, they are going to support her. Because they are her family.

Originally, this movie was going to be named Connected. Even though I like the finalized title better, I understand why the movie might have had that original title. The movie is all about how human connection is what makes humanity worth saving. Human connection is also what gives Katie and her family the courage and drive to save the world. But The Mitchells vs. the Machines is more playful and fun, and just fits the movie’s style and humor better.

I read some reviews online where people said it was too hyperactive and flashy, but honestly, I felt like that was part of its charm. From the picture above, you can see how the mix of animation and even floating text are used to make a point. Sure, maybe people who are old-fashioned or unaccustomed to watching cartoons alongside their animated films may not “get it,” but that doesn’t mean it is bad. It’s quirky, just like the Mitchell family and the whole plot.

Anyway, initially Katie was going to take a plane to her new college, but her dad cancels those plans and decides they will take a road trip across the country during orientation week. Now, I know how important orientation week can be. During mine, I was able to get more accustomed to living away from home and participate in events with my freshman class. I can’t imagine how stressed I would be if I had missed it. Her frustration is perfectly understandable. She wants to go to college to be with “her people,” the fabled ones who understand her.

Meanwhile, in the middle of this road trip, an entrepreneur named Mark Bowman unveils a new technology, a line of home robots, that will replace his highly intelligent AI PAL. PAL takes revenge by ordering the robots to capture all of the humans and prepare them to launch into space.

The Mitchell family are joined by two defective robots in a mission to save the world. This adventure includes murderous Furbys, kill codes, and awkward bonding experiences. In a hilarious sequence of events, the Mitchells save humanity and destroy PAL.

I love that Katie has a girlfriend named Jade by the end, and how her family is so supportive of their relationship. It’s super cute.

Overall, this movie was fun and quirky, and I would definitely watch it again. I recommend it for all ages except maybe the very youngest children.

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