The Mitchells vs The Machines

[3 stars]

Gravity Falls writing duo Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe have delivered an entertaining, if somewhat frenetic and younger-focused bit of story. The visually vibrating world is filtered through the eyes of 18 year-old Katie, voiced by Abbi Jacobson. Jacobson manages to capture that sweet spot of teenage-dom between complete independence and the need for family quite nicely. Her mother, given life by Maya Rudolph (The Happytime Murders), dances between parent and peace-maker for the family in some really wonderful ways as well.

And then there’s the villain of the piece,¬†Olivia Colman (The Father). With quiet, London-ium charm, Colman tries to bring down the world.

The story itself is one very long setup for a nicely tight final half-hour. That long setup, however, can drag a bit and feel more than a little forced, and this is where Rianda’s new director chops show the most. He and Rowe do a solid job of using everything they put on screen, but the pacing is a little slow and the humor isn’t quite enough keep it going on its own until the threads come together.

All that said, for an afternoon’s distraction, it isn’t a loss. Certainly, the younger you are the more enjoyable it will be (down to about age 10). And, to be fair, that is probably where they were aiming the story. Originally planned for a theatrical release, it was pulled onto streaming… and given the world-crashing calamity of it all, not to mention the younger audience, that was probably the right choice. On the smaller screen it is significantly less imposing. But, ultimately, this one will have to be up to you in terms of whether to spin it up or not. I can tell you it does know where it’s going in the end, just be prepared wade through a lot of silly to get there.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines Poster

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