The Mitchells vs the Machines Team Explain How They Made One of the Best Animated Movies of 2021

The Mitchells vs The Machines is a beautiful movie.
The Mitchells vs The Machines is a beautiful movie.
Image: Netflix

If you haven’t watched Sony’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines yet—it’s streaming on Netflix—you should do that immediately. Co-directors and writers Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe tell the story of a family traveling across the country to bring the daughter to college when a robot apocalypse threatens to take over the world. The story is irreverent, original, and infused with incredible heart and humor. Oh, and the animation is stunning.


That’s something you’d expect when you realize it’s from the animation studio and producers of a little film called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse—Phil Lord and Christopher Miller with Kurt Albrecht. However, while that film used comic book printing as the basis for its unique animated style, The Mitchells vs. The Machines uses actual painting and other types of hand drawn art. It’s a little hard to describe so, thankfully, Netflix posted this informative, fun behind-the-scenes video.

To be fair, this barely does the film’s animation justice. You have to watch to see how beautiful and fluid it is—it not only blends in those hand-drawn and painted aesthetics, but also draws heavily on old video and new internet visuals to create a film whose looks actually helps develop character. It’s truly wonderful.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines stars the voice talents of Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Eric Andre, and more.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo. Formerly of Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and Slashfilm. AP Award-Winning Film Critic and CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.



When I saw the trailer for this, it looked like it could be fun, but it also gave me an impression of being very anti-technology. That the bright young girl is going to learn some hackneyed “Lesson” that her passion for technology is wrong.

I do hope this movie is better than that.