The minds behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are at it again. This time their collective comedic talents have produced a Netflix original through co-writer/director Mike Rianda’s film The Mitchells vs. The Machines. As the social reaction embargo had previously lifted to some raves, we’ve not got a bigger picture for what to expect, as reviews from critics are now pouring in.
We’ll start, as always, with the home court review from CinemaBlend. Our own Eric Eisenberg saw the film, and gave it three out of five stars. Visually, he seemed to enjoy the film quite a bit. However, when it came to The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ story, he had some reservations; leading to this overall impression:
Other critics have their own issues with Netflix’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines, as also seen in the review from Variety’s Peter Debruge. In his write-up, Debruge does note that Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s sense of humor shines through their producer’s touch. Not to mention, the whole message of the purpose of technology is a bit muddy for his tastes; but as you’ll see below, it was still a positive experience:
A very similar tone problem was noted by Kristy Puchko from Pajiba, as The Mitchells vs. The Machines messaging. She highlighted the particular problem of the inclusion of live-action/2D animation seeming to break the immersion of the films’ reality. But the charm of the the film, and its comedic influences, did seem to win out. Ms. Puchko summed up her feelings as follows:
IndieWire’s critic David Ehrlich weighed in on The Mitchells vs. The Machines with a pretty enthusiastic judgement. In fact, there’s a pretty big compliment when it comes to comparing the film to its more blockbuster counterparts.
Finally, in a particularly interesting review from The Guardian, Benjamin Lee not only really enjoyed The Mitchells vs. The Machines, but his enjoyment brought up an interesting point. In a world where theatrical releases are not as plentiful as they usually are, the debut of this animated offering could have been a draw back to theaters. Streaming and studios may go to war a little more after this final, glowing recommendation:
Originally, The Mitchells vs. The Machines was going to be released a very different way. Slated for a theatrical release in 2020, the film was originally titled Connected, at its first home, Sony Pictures Animation. But with last year’s unprecedented circumstances delaying the film, it eventually was scooped up by Netflix for distribution. Which allowed the film to go back to its original title, The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
With critical reactions in, it sounds like the move to Netflix was a fortunate play, as the charming comedy of Netflix’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines will be enough to keep families at home smiling together. Though they may be a little more wary of their smart devices after. We’ll see what happens when The Mitchells vs. The Machines premieres in select theaters, as well as on Netflix’s streaming service, on April 30th.
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Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.