Edward Baillargeon’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Mitchells vs. The Machines was one of my most anticipated films of 2020 back when it was called Connected, but then most anticipated once it got a new date this year and on Netflix. I was so excited to see it that when I heard they were offering a virtual premiere a week before the film's release, I knew I had to take that opportunity. There were many reasons I was excited such as the creative usage of animation and the crew behind it consisting of Gravity Falls veterans Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe as the writers/directors and produced by animated dynamic duo Phil Lord & Chris Miller. And what another winner this was!
The story is incredibly fun and the script has so many hysterical jokes that I was laughing nearly every minute and wouldn't stop. Like any other animated film that Phil & Chris have their fingerprints on, it has a strong core about family where even if they are weird and can frustrate and embarrass you many times, you still love them no matter what. I could see myself in Katie as a Michigan-born aspiring filmmaker and with her relationships with her weird family even if mine aren't exactly like all the Mitchells, besides my weird brother. Its other big themes about technology and how dependent the world is on it leads to many incredibly funny gags that absolutely don't feel they're coming off as trying to be hip with the kids with their smartphones and Instagrams. It's kind of funny that this was coming from Sony Pictures Animation, the same studio that a couple years ago made one of the most hated films in recent years that was about smartphones (and coincidentally co-stars Maya Rudolph), The Emoji Movie. But Mitchells vs. Machines is very much the anti-Emoji Movie.
Ever since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse earned them so much critical and awards acclaim, the direction they are going in is probably the most exciting out of any of the major animation studios, maybe even more than Pixar and Disney. The animation and art direction of this film is spectacular filling the entire frame with so many little details and styles where it absolutely warrants many repeat viewings. Its combination of 3D CG with the stylization of 2D is a spectacle that this was another film I wish I could've seen in theaters, but couldn't because of you know what. I kind of now want to buy the art book for this because every frame is just incredible to look at.
The voice cast is all excellent with Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph and Eric André just to name a few delivering performances full of humor, fun, and good dramatic moments. Doug the Pug delivers some great snorts as the Mitchells' dog Monchi. The biggest standout for me was Olivia Colman as PAL, the main villain being the virtual assistant who leads the tech uprising the Mitchells have to fight against. Maybe she should get another Oscar for this.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of the best films of the year creating an incredibly hilarious and fun time for the whole family, continuing to prove Lord & Miller as forces to be reckoned with along with Rianda & Rowe as exciting new voices in the feature animation game. Sony Pictures Animation continues to prove that their future is as bright as the sun and if they keep this up with more films like this and Spider-Verse, they will become one of the top animation studios to be at. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with next combining visual experimentation and innovation with the importance of great stories.