Animation can be either/or experience for me. It's either going to cater to the whole family or it will be fun for the kids while the parents sit there patiently and unwind after a long week at the office. The best animated films for family have something that every member of the family of every age can relate to or it illuminates something profound about the world, which is much riskier. I wasn't expecting what I saw in "Zootopia," but it remains one of the best in recent Disney output films simply due to that risk factor.
Sony Animation may have leveled up in a big way this year. In 2018, they blew the world up with the release of "Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse." I like Spidey and I like Miles Morales. I was pleased as punch to see him in a movie. But I can't honestly say I was expecting it to be THAT GOOD. I still love "Spider-Verse" and its very much still one of the best films of the 2010's. Sony may have hit another home run with "The Mitchells vs The Machines."
"The Mitchells vs. The Machines" has everything you'd want from a family film. It's got big laughs for the kids and big laughs for the adults. There are hidden laughs everywhere. Some things you're kids are going to understand and some things only adults will understand, but its never inappropriate at all. Much like "Spider-Verse," there is the visceral, cutting-edge, otherworldly animation that was just gorgeous to look at. It also features a storyline that can be relatable to all. What else could you honestly want from a family film? Do you like action? Because this has it. Do you like "cute" characters in an animated film? This has it. If you want comedy and if you want sentimental moments, "The Mitchells vs The Machines" has it all.
"The Mitchells vs. The Machines" is about, of course, the Mitchells. They are, according to their neighbors, a quirky family. The mom is always bright and colorful and a little weird. The father is a goofball. The young son is obsessed with dinosaurs, and is socially awkward. The daughter is an aspiring filmmaker. Growing up, Katie (the daughter) was unfortunately ostracized in school because nobody really understood her. As she got older, she turned to make films on her own and post them on YouTube. Her hard work over the years landed her in a film school for college and she finally began to connect with people who understood her. Does anybody remember the feeling you got when you finally found "your people?" Was it in college? High school? Can you remember when you found those best friends you understood you better than anyone else? Just how overwhelmingly profound that was?
The father, named Rick has always been hesitant of Katie pursuing her career in film. It's understandable. There is always that fine line with parents and their children between wanting them to be their own people and make sure they make responsible future decisions. I know I've butted heads with my own parents before about my future, so I can definitely relate. We want our children to be their own people, but we also want what's best for them and it can be a slippery slope at times. Rick and Katie are always butting heads, and to kind of defuse the situation, they decide to go on a road trip vacation.
Then robots start taking over the world...
What ensues is a hilarious, kinetically-charged film full of action and laughs. It's about family, and how its okay to not be normal. Because nobody is normal. It's been scientifically proven that we all have our quirks, even the most stern of us. Its also a movie about family, and the changes and self-discovery we make for the ones we really, truly love. It's a film beaming over with emotion. It's something truly special. Featuring the voice work by Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Olivia Colman, Maya Rudolf, Eric Andre and Fred Armisan, everybody doing great work.
Sony Animation is on a roll right now and I hope they continue to do well.