Joeli and I are excited about the release of The Mitchells vs The Machines on Netflix this week (April 30th). The humor and level of animation are entertaining for both of us. It’s no wonder from the same team that brought Us the award-winning SpiderMan: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie.
The Mitchells vs The Machines on Netflix
The Mitchells vs The Machines is an original animated comedy about an everyday family’s struggle to relate while technology rises! When Katie, a creative outsider, is accepted into the film school of her dreams. Her plans to meet “her people” at college are upended. When her nature-loving dad Rick determines the whole family should drive Katie to school together and bond as a family one last time.
Fun Facts About The Mitchells vs The Machines
- Filmmakers incorporated a fully developed robot language in the film, with tons of hidden jokes for any intrepid fans to translate.
- Director Mike Rianda: “The freeze-frame jokes on The Simpsons always felt like so much fun and such an exciting part of the show. It rewarded your attention and told you the people behind the show were having fun. We wanted to have that same spirit in our movie. We hope the more love we can put into it, the more love people will get out of it.”
- Since Katie Mitchell is a movie fan, her room, backpack, and clothes are littered with movie references for cinephiles. She is wearing The Shining -patterned socks, a Wes Anderson-inspired “Lawn Wranglers” pin on her backpack, and a Dr. Strangelove pin. Her movie heroes are Céline Sciamma, Lynne Ramsey, Hal Ashby, and Greta Gerwig, and her movie parodies include: Monchi: Fear Eats the Soul and Fear and Loathing in Central Michigan.
- The Mitchell family car is based on a blue 1990 Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon. The co-director Jeff Rowe used to own one, it was named Tom Hanks.
- The Mitchells team took a trip to Cal Tech to talk to watch a student-led robot battle and talk to engineers to see what the future of robotics would look like so they could be informed and try to stay ahead of the curve in the constantly changing world of technology.
- Every time a new person came into a recording session with Olivia Colman, they would always silently mouth “Oh, my God” at some point in hushed awe.
When Does The Mitchells vs The Machines Come Out
- The earliest team members on the film, including Mike Rianda, Jeff Rowe, Lindsey Olivares, Andrew Ross, and Guillermo Martinez went on a road trip to Las Vegas. They found inspiration for Dino-Land at Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner and Dino-Saur Park . They also discovered that the second they put their phones in a bag, the conversation immediately got 10x better.
- At the studio, the team had a pet Aibo Robotic Dog and a pet Roomba with a plastic knife strapped to the top. Both of them gave everyone the creeps, however, and were promptly discarded.
- Monchi is based on Mike Rianda’s sister’s pug, Monchichi, who, much like his cartoon counterpart, was very excitable, wall-eyed, and had a hard time catching things.
- Instagram star Doug the Pug (@itsdougthepug) provided all of the grunts, sneezes, barks, licks, and other dog noises for Monchi.
- The film is littered with freeze-frame moments where Katie is writing on the screen. In it are: Katie’s own pitches for a sequel including The Mitchells vs. The Aliens, The Mitchells vs. An Army of Clones, The Mitchells vs. The Concept of Death, and The Mitchells: Into the Furby-Verse.
- Danny McBride took Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, and Script Supervisor Pete Szilagyi on an off-beat golf cart tour of his home base in Charleston, South Carolina during his first recording session.
The Mitchells vs The Machines Movie Poster
- The Mitchells’ road trip begins in their hometown in Michigan and ends in Silicon Valley, home of Pal Labs. According to Rianda: “Originally, we thought the Mitchells would drive from California to New York. Then as the script evolved, we had the family drive west. They take the mule tour in Appalachia, visit DinoStop in Kansas, and The Mall of the Globe in eastern Colorado.”
- The tech capital of the movie is based on Cupertino, California.
- The various robots featured in the third act of the movie were inspired by the classic humanoid ASIMO robot, introduced by Honda two decades ago.
- Director Mike Rianda and his team were keen on portraying the Mitchells’ suburban Michigan home as honestly and realistically as possible. “Our family is lovingly imperfect. When you go to your friend’s house, not every candlestick is straight up…things are usually a little messy. I remember my house growing up never looked perfect. There were dog toys on the chairs, unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink. That was the general look we wanted for this home.”
- The film has gone through many iterations over the course of its development including versions that featured a TV show called Everybody Loves Killbot. VR helmets that could make all your fantasies come true, the Mitchells kidnapping the President of the United States, and PAL being encased in a gigantic mech made out of sentient technology.
- The film combines two different styles of animation. One is a more illustrative, hand-painted approach, while the other embraces the realism seen in most CG films today.