The Mitchells vs. the Machines Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

 

Teenager Katie Mitchell (Abby Jacobson) from Kentwood, Michigan, has a passion for making slightly crazy videos that feature the family’s pet pug, Monchi, in a variety of roles. Katie has a younger brother, Eron (Michael Rianda), a shy kid obsessed with dinosaurs. Katie also enlists Eron as an actor for her commercials.

Dad Rick (Danny McBride) does not approve of his daughter’s hobby, and indeed – they have a lot of problems in their relationship, especially since Rick is a technophobe and he does not understand all these computers, smartphones and other YouTubes. Dad is terribly fond of nature and is ready to spend at least all days in the forests in a row, but the rest of the family cannot say that they all like it terribly. And slightly eccentric mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) is deeply concerned that the Mitchells are completely different from the exemplary family of their neighbors, Instagram stars.

Fortunately, Katie’s videos interested the leadership at the California film school where she sent the application: Katie was accepted there and the girl is overjoyed that she will soon break out of this family and go to California to meet her favorite work and new friends who share her hobbies . However, dad Rick, who doesn’t want his daughter to leave in such a mood, turned in Kathy’s plane ticket, started the old Stardy family sob, sat the whole family there, including Monchi, and they went across the country to Los Angeles to take Katy to film school.

Meanwhile, at the headquarters of the IT giant PAL, the head of the company, Mark Bowman (Eric Andre), presented the new innovative PAL MAX robots for the home, which were developed with the participation of artificial intelligence PAL (Olivia Colman) living in Bowman’s smartphone. Mark is so passionate about the new development that he puts the smartphone with PAL in the trash, but it has such capabilities that Bowman did not suspect, so PAL takes control of the army of robots, they rebel against people, trap them and load them onto a huge ship to send these useless people into deep space, from where they will never return.

And it turns out that only the freakish Mitchell family remains at large, and only they are the last hope of all mankind for salvation. So the Mitchells, who just recently couldn’t figure it out with each other, have to take action: they need to stop the brutalized PAL and neutralize the rebellious robots.

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The history of this project began with Michael Rianda, one of the screenwriters of the super popular animated series Gravity Falls. When Rianda completed work on Gravity Falls in 2015, Sony Pictures Animation approached him to think about making an animated feature film. Rianda developed the script for the film, which reflected his childhood memories of the California town in which he grew up, his family and his childhood passion for robots. And he gave the script a funny, although now few people understand the name “Control, Alt, ESCAPE”.

In 2018, the studio announced that The Mitchells Vs. spider: Through the universes. The scriptwriters and directors of the project, said in the studio, will be Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe – Jeff previously also participated in the work on Gravity Falls.

Initially, the film was supposed to be shown in January 2020, but then the release was postponed first to September 2020, then to the end of October, and later the film completely disappeared from the list of releases. In January 2021, the rights to the show were acquired by the streaming service Netflix (an amount of $ 110 million was called), a limited theatrical release took place on the twentieth of April, the Mitchells was released on Netflix on April 30, and 28 days after the premiere it was watched by 53 million users of the service, after which Netflix announced that “The Mitchells” became the most viewed animated picture.

Spider-Man: Through the Universes had a noticeable influence on the style of creating Mitchells vs. Machines, and this was not hidden in any way, but it was also emphasized: there were even originally planned some kind of intersections of the world of Through the Universes with the world of Mitchells, but then these plans seemed to be abandoned.

The animation here is very effective, interesting and original. The main characters – the Mitchell family – have bright personalities and are very expressive. Emotions or thoughts of the characters are constantly accompanied by all sorts of colored stickers that are typical for TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, animated drawings and overlays, caricatures and collages. And it looks very, very cool, and it doesn’t bother you at all throughout the entire viewing, because the creators of The Mitchells demonstrate excellent ingenuity and cool humor here.

The film is very dynamic – while watching it, it literally takes your breath away – but at the same time, the creators of the picture do not forget to talk about the importance of communications – not those through WhatsApp, but about family communications, and this is not in the nature of boring moralizing: here about it It is told with care, tact, and at times touchingly. How Rick learned to understand Katy, how Katy tried to find mutual understanding with her father, how the whole family joins forces for a common goal and works as one team, and who knows, they would have been able to save all of humanity without the absolutely invaluable help of Monty the pug, who has the ability to blow the roof off artificial intelligence with your ridiculous appearance!

Also in the picture there are still a bunch of cool “Easter eggs” – explicit and implicit references to various cinematic works. I counted about eight of them, and there are already thirty-one references on IMDB. And – no, it does not look too deliberate, because what is happening is shown, as it were, through the eyes of Katie, and she is a very, as they say, “watched” girl, because Katie is a fan of cinema.

The satire is great too. Instagram glamour, people addicted to smartphones and social networks, at the same time coolly pulled technophobes (the scenes of how Papa Rick masters YouTube after all are hilariously funny), large IT corporations and narrow-minded humanity in general – these people are driven to a spaceship with a promise to provide Wi-Fi, because the usual Internet on Earth was turned off.

The Mitchell family is very colorful, and, as I said, everyone in it has its own bright personality, but still the most chic character there is the Monchi pug, the prototype of which was the Monchichi dog that Mike Rianda had in childhood. Monchi and all the episodes with him are absolutely gorgeous, this is wonderfully designed and drawn! Interestingly, Monchi was originally planned to be voiced by an actor, but in the end Monchi was voiced by a real dog, Internet celebrity pug Doug.

There’s also a nice line here with two damaged PAL robots that listen to people’s commands and gradually begin to consider Linda their mom – they are also hilariously funny.

Interestingly, this is Mike Rianda’s first full-length animated film. And how cool it turned out: a riot of imagination and creativity, excellent dynamics, cool humor, an exciting plot, a bunch of interesting finds. The whole family watched with great pleasure, and for me this is one of the best animations of all time!

When I wrote about the Oscars 2022, where this film was also nominated, in the comments, some readers expressed disappointment that the prize was awarded not to Mitchells vs. the Machines, but to Encanto. I had nothing to say at that time, I hadn’t watched The Mitchells yet, but I did watch Encanto, and I really liked the picture: it’s perfectly drawn, the film is very beautiful, the plot is interesting and touching, and there are also cool musical numbers. But this is still a completely typical Disney animation, although not without interesting allusions in the plot, and the Mitchells are, of course, something completely different. And now I completely agree that this particular picture was supposed to defeat the other applicants, it is cooler and more original!

However, the Mitchells vs. Machines, in addition to the Oscar and BAFTA nominations, also has a bunch of nominations and prizes from less famous film awards, and in the special Annie Animated Film Award in 2022, this film received as many as eight prizes, including the main one – “Best animated film”. And he totally deserves it!

So if you haven’t seen it, don’t miss out!

PS Sony Pictures Animation has already expressed interest in making a sequel, to which Mike Rianda stated that he has ideas for a sequel. So it is quite possible that new adventures of the Mitchell family await us, which, of course, cannot but rejoice!

The Mitchells vs the Machines

Director: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Eric Andre, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teegan, John Legend

Animation, USA-Hong Kong, 2020, 113 min.

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