Some of Hollywood’s biggest names have teamed up in Netflix’s latest animated action-comedy, The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Premiering April 30th on the streaming service, it’s produced by the crews behind the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie. While those folks make the magic, it’s the cast of The Mitchells vs. the Machines that gives this movie life.
“Most action heroes have a lot of strengths. My family only has weaknesses,” teenager Katie (Abbi Johnson) says in the film’s opening narration.
It’s the kind of angsty statement you’d expect from a teen who feels like an outsider and just wants her freedom. And it’s easy to see why. The Mitchells are the average family you’d find living next door, complete with Katie’s quirky little brother Aaron (Mike Rianda), super supportive mom Linda (Maya Rudolph), non-tech savvy dad Rick (Danny McBride), and a cute squishy pug named Monchi (Doug the Pug). What young person wouldn’t feel suffocated in that world?
Things start looking up when Katie is accepted into film school and her dreams of finding “her people” finally appear on the horizon. That is, until her nature-loving dad insists on having the whole family drive her to school on a bonding road trip, crammed inside a burnt orange shift-stick station wagon.
Oh, and an army of robots decides to invade the planet. Suddenly, dreams of a speedy road trip are tossed aside and it’s up to the Mitchells (and two simple-minded robots) to save humanity from the impending robot apocalypse. Check out the trailer here.
Relatable & Timely
The Mitchells vs. The Machines contains both humor and warnings about our collective obsession with tech, WiFi, and devices. Abbi Johnson, who voices Katie Mitchell, tells Parentology that viewers of all ages will connect with those messages in the movie, especially when dealing with her character who is constantly creating films using all types of technology.
“I think that will be something so relatable to any kid since we’re living on our devices more than we ever have,” says Johnson. “I think that’s something they’ll get a kick out of because it feels so current.”
Parents will also get a laugh out of the Roombas and Furbys that make an appearance as the machine-led invasion draws near. (Don’t be surprised if your child asks what a Furby is.)
But this isn’t a simple story of soulless robots taking over humanity. Beck Bennett, SNL star and voice of one of the robots in the film, tells Parentology he enjoyed finding human elements in the robotic voice.
“Coming out of the robotic rhythms that we found and interjecting that with some human quality was the fun process for me,” says Bennett.
While the technology references and the idea of a robot apocalypse are sure to captivate audiences of all ages, there’s also a strong theme of family that isn’t lost in the film. After all, the Mitchells must come together to save one another and fight off the robots. Although Katie wasn’t a fan of the road trip because it rerouted her plan to get to college, through the course of the movie she realizes how special her family is even with all of their quirks. She also comes to recognize that she always has the support of her family as she chases her dreams to become a film director.
Maya Rudolph, the voice of Linda Mitchell and a mom herself, says she can relate to her character’s mothering qualities.
“I love that Linda celebrates her family’s uniqueness,” Rudolph tells Parentology. Indeed, Linda is the constant cheerleader, always trying to bring her family together and finding the best in all situations. This tenacity of character, along with Rick, Aaron, and Monchi’s antics, results in both humorous and heartfelt moments that help Katie — and the audience — see that with family, you can do anything.
Celebrate the Mitchells’ uniqueness and adventurous spirit as they fight off robots when the movie premieres on Netflix April 30th.
The movie is written and directed by Mike Rianda (who also voices Aaron Mitchell) and Jeff Rowe. Other cast members include Eric Andre, Olivia Colman, Blake Griffin, Fred Armisen, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Charlyne Yi, Conan O’Brien, Sasheer Zamata, Elle Mills, Alex Hirsch, and Jay Pharoah.