Brett Schutt’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Mitchells vs The Machines is a film that wears its heart on its sleeve and I appreciate that about the film. The new film from writers Phil Lore and Chris Miller and one of Gravity Falls creative directors Michael Rianda isn't quite the subversive piece of art you might think it could be going in. I went into this film full on thinking it would be my new obsession and as the film went on, I knew this film only existed to be a wholesome family tale and nothing beyond that. That being said, by the end of the film I got choked up because this team are obviously talented filmmakers. They hit a lot of familiar beats here, if you've seen a movie you can predict this film but it's such an effortlessly entertaining and imaginative film that I think it could put a smile on anyones face.
There were a couple of mutuals that told me that I reminded them of Katie Mitchell. Watching the movie, it makes sense in terms of my aspirations. There is this idea that she is stuck at home and only believes when she enters this school of her dreams that she will finally belong and start making experiences she will cherish. Let's just say, I don't think I'm at that point of my life yet and I'm about to graduate college. But the idea of having to leave home and find your aspirations and piece together your dreams was something that deeply resonated with me. (also yes, a lot of her puppets she makes short films with have uncanny look to some of the puppets in my short film Walter's Wonderland).
The character I actually feel like I identified with even more was the little brother. One who can't quite express his inner emotions and runs off but just desperately wants someone to talk with. He is hyper obsessed with dinosaurs. His relationship with Katie reminded me a lot of the relationship I have with my older sister and the scenes they shared together honestly choked me up more than anything involving Katie and her dad, which once again I saw their arc coming from a mile away. They even do a liars revealed sequence that feels entirely unnecessary that I felt like could have been portrayed in a more clever way.
The animation on this thing is incredibly new. I love that the LEGO Movie, Spider-Verse and now Mitchell and the Machines are obviously the voice of Phil Lore and Chris Miller but all stand by themselves as individual pieces of art with their own voice. Look, I adore Pixar, Ratatouille is literally my favorite movie but I hope they can take notes from this and change up their designs and characters a bit more. This entire movie looks like cool production art you wish the movie could be more like when you see it and I love that so much.
Also this movie has a pug in it! Voiced by my boi Doug the Pug! There's also an Eric Andre voice performance! While that character is incredibly flat and uninteresting it was still good to hear his voice actually be calmed and collected. So yeah, this is a film about an aspiring filmmaker who uses her quirky short films to express his inner anxieties who wants to go into the great wide somewhere to find her voice and create her art, a little brother who loves dinosaurs and just wants someone to talk to, there's a talking pug and the animation looks like it came straight out of a comic book.
It's almost as if they created this movie for my sensibilities. I think if I was to make a movie it probably would look like this. I always pictured my Artpig movie as a Pixar film, but it might be a Phil Lore and Chris Miller production. Who knows? Despite the fact this film is completely predictable and as a piece of storytelling doesn't reinvent the wheel or hit me nearly as hard as either The LEGO Movie or Spider-Verse, that's tough competition to compete with. This is still an utterly delightful movie and another win for this duo. Excited to see the next animated project they come up with. I just hope the next one breaks new ground again thematically.