The EastEnders/Matrix crossover we have all been waiting for arrives in the form of The Mitchells vs. the Machines, a Netflix animated feature about a wacky family caught up in the robopocalypse.
The latest offering from Lord Miller Productions (Into the Spider-Verse, The Lego Movies) is another high-octane, high-contrast family affair, modern in its references but dated in its messaging. Yes family is important, no we do not need it repeatedly stated for the best part of 2 hours. The first half is fun though, full of satirical swipes at screen addiction, AI and tech companies.
Combining the nuclear family of The Incredibles, the summer-before-college setting (and rampaging toys) of Toy Story 3 and the dog comedy of Up, this is very much what Pixar were doing back when story was still at the heart of their films. The central joke is the same as The Incredibles: a normal family is an abnormal family, and mothers do not need special powers to be superheroes.
That said, The Mitchells vs. the Machines does its own thing by emphasising and celebrating its characters’ creativity. Their resistance to the machines comes from thinking differently, ie. like humans. Add a voice cast that includes Olivia Colman, Maya Rudolph and Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson, and you get a fun hour of family entertainment. And then another hour after that.