This past weekend was a stormy one, and what better way to kick it off than with a family movie night?
Now while animation movies vary in regard to targeted age groups with most being released for ages 6+, depending on the plot and content of the movie, this one was a delight for the whole family. The movie had us all laughing, smiling, and even included those moments of thoughtfulness.
The Mitchell’s vs. The Machines, brought out by Sony Pictures Animation, is an incredibly fun and thought-provoking movie on how we as humans have become extremely reliant on technology, and how our values are deteriorating even when it comes to a simple family conversation over dinner due to our various tech addictions.
The movie is even rated nearly 90%+ by Rotten Tomatoes and it’s audience.
Overview of the plot
The movie centers around young Katie Mitchell, who feels that she doesn’t really belong anywhere, in other words, does not fit in, and that no one understands her until she finds what seems to be the perfect college for her. She then embarks on a road trip with her parents, brother, and dog, however, their family road trip is interrupted as tech company (PAL) robots rise up and stage a revolution to take over the world. The movie goes from everyone doing their own thing to having the Mitchell’s pull together as a family to save one another – and the planet, in what is a very satirical and spot-on movie about where we are in society today. (The Social Dilemma anyone?)
The creators, in our opinion, bring in a variety of delightful laugh out loud moments, a handful of life lessons and also pose several questions to the audience on where we as the viewers should draw the line between how and when we use technology to enhance and better our standard of living versus us losing touch with those that are close to us, e.g. – family and friends.
Energetic, captivating plot
I assume many parents also tend to do one thing before beginning a movie, and that is checking the runtime. Our kids will typically sit through a 90-minute film without a problem, however anything longer, and typically our younger one will begin to lose interest and stop paying attention altogether. This movie is just shy of two hours, however because of the energy, the great soundtrack, the story, the action sequences, and sprinkles of tender moments, this did not happen this time around. We were all fascinated.
Hence, what the movie does really well is it grabs your attention at just the right moments, brilliantly.
We find that the best animation movies targeted for children are those that both kids and adults can enjoy together, through those one-liners that only adults may understand the reference to, to a great story and plot – and while there are the occasional references that may come off like the Social Dilemma, the joke the movie makes about WiFi and social media create hilarious situations. There are a lot of references to real-world scenarios in a fun manner, humor that is both understandable for children and adults. Not only were we laughing, so were our kids!
What we can learn
While we love watching movies, and holding movie nights with our kids, animated movies always carry some form of message with them, and we find it important to ask our kids questions relevant to the plot of the movie to really see if they understood certain elements. We then discuss things or explain things they may not have comprehended, or answer questions where they explain something from the movie and ask what was meant by that.
We did the same here, but surprisingly they understood a majority of the important elements. Some parts more than others, however, the gist of it was understood – family matters.
Overall, the screenplay for this film was brilliantly written. It teaches, at its core, the importance of family, the pains of growing up, and how parents also need to learn to let go and let their children try things in life. This is very well depicted between Katie (the main character) and her father. We love the way the journey of their lives is portrayed, and how the film displays the values we as a society deem(ed) important before the heavy reliance on tech. It also nicely shows that kids don’t need to be perfect, nor do parents, to get along and understand each other.
As mentioned, it’s a great film for families about a family spending time together, and while we probably will never have to face an army of robots that try to take over the world, we had a great time watching the Mitchell’s do exactly that, all with great visuals and a fun soundtrack.
The movie can be found on Netflix and is definitely one we recommend for the whole family!
P.S. – Do note there are a lot of bright, colorful visual effects that may not be suited for people prone to epilepsy.