‘I am Linda Mitchell, mother of two. Look upon me in fear!‘
Sony Pictures Animation is a strange beast. How can one animation studio be responsible for both Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, perhaps the greatest Marvel film ever made, and Peter Rabbit, an excretable mess that heavily features (ugh) James Corden? Other highlights include Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Arthur Christmas and the Goosebumps movies, and yet… The Emoji Movie?? What are we doing here? Happily, The Mitchell vs the Machines is one of their good ones…
Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is in the midst of going to college and finally escaping her technology hating father Rick (Danny McBride) and her well meaning but overbearing mother Linda (Maya Rudolph). Inconveniently for Katie, her elopement to college coincides with a robot apocalypse.
As with Pixar, the animated leg of Sony does have its own house style. The animation is a little more cartoonish but I would argue that the content, particularly the dialogue, is actually more mature and aimed at older kids and adults. The fact that the protagonist is college age is a move away from the Pixar model and it is vital that Sony find their own voice in what is a crowded field. The Mitchells vs the Machines is a significant step towards achieving parity with Disney/Pixar and I would argue that it is at least on par with anything that Pixar have put out since Inside Out (their last truly great movie). It’s funnier, it’s more innovative, and with McBride and Rudolph it boasts a pair of voice actors with serious comedic chops.
The Mitchells vs the Machines isn’t perfect. It’s a little overly sentimental at times and the character beats are often predictable, but its sharp script alone is enough to elevate it beyond its peers, not to mention the stellar voice cast and inventive animation. Another Sony Pictures Animation success, then. They must build on this and under no circumstances succumb to creating The Emoji Movie 2.