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Mike Rianda
Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Writing Credits:
Mike Rianda, Jeff Rowe

A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Audio Descriptive Service
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

110 min.
Price: $38.99
Release Date: 12/14/2021

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Mike Rianda, Visual Effects Supervisor Mike Lasker, Production/Character Designer Lindsey Olivares, Co-Director/Co-Writer Jeff Rowe, Producer Kurt Albrecht, Head of Animation Alan Hawkins and Head of Story Guillermo Martinez.
• Extended Cut of Film
• Exclusive Mini-Movie
• Bonus Scenes
• “Katie’s Cabinet of Forgotten Wonders” Featurettes
• “How a Group Of Passionate Weirdos Made a Big Animated Movie” Featurette
• “How To” Featurettes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Mitchells vs. the Machines [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 22, 2021)

If anyone ever desired a film in the Terminator vein but more family friendly, 2021’s The Mitchells vs. the Machines may offer an option. In this tale, we see an animated adventure related to the “robot apocalypse”.

Quirky outsider Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) often clashes with her more traditional father Rick (Danny McBride). Ready to move on with her life, she gets accepted to film school.

Rick wants one last chance at family bonding, so the whole Mitchell clan – which also includes mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and younger brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) – packs into the wagon and heads west. Along the way, a machine uprising occurs, and the Mitchells need to come together to stop it.

Though I alluded to the Terminator series at the start, one shouldn’t expect Machines to closely resemble those films. It uses the “robot rebellion” subtext of the Terminator franchise, but it doesn’t follow them in other particularly close ways.

Not that Machines seems tremendously original, as it clearly borrows from a mix of other science-fiction tales. Various inspirations manifest clearly throughout the action.

At its core, Machines strives to tell a tale of a daughter and her estranged father. This also seems like a topic found in many other films.

So I’ve established that Machines borrows from a slew of other sources. Does that make it a bad movie?

Not at all. Despite the ample array of influences on display, Machines nonetheless comes with enough wit and creativity to make it a fun ride.

A fine cast helps matters. All involved play their roles appropriately, and supporting actors like Eric Andre, Olivia Colman and Fred Armisen add to the appeal.

Machines really can feel like a conglomeration of influences at times, but it still comes together into its own being. The movie exhibits enough of an individual personality to help the viewer ignore the reflections of other films.

The flick also comes with an intriguing visual style that melds CG with a more traditional look. Throw in some quirky flashes to reflect Katie’s own “cinematic style” and the movie gets an unusual – and lively – appearance.

Will Machines go down as an animated classic? No, but it offers a lively and entertaining romp. That seems like more than enough to make it a winner.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

The Mitchells vs. the Machines appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Computer animated films tend to look good on Blu-ray, and Machines followed that rule.

Sharpness was fine across the board. The movie delivered satisfying definition, with no obvious softness on display.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Of course, print flaws never manifested themselves.

Colors tended to be broad and bold, though the film opted more toward orange/teal than expected for an animated tale. Even with those choices, the hues still boasted nice range and impact.

Blacks were dark and deep, while low-light shots offered nice clarity and smoothness. This became an appealing visual presentation.

With Machines, we got a DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack that offered a lively soundscape, especially during the action sequences. Those fleshed out the spectrum in an involving way and gave us many chances for movement.

This allowed the surrounds to play an active role. The track worked well enough in the early stages but it picked up more as it went, especially as the film neared its climax. The various channels got a good workout in this engrossing soundscape.

Audio quality seemed pleasing. Speech always sounded distinctive and concise, while music was peppy and rich.

Effects offered solid reproduction, with clean highs and deep lows. I liked this mix and thought it gave the movie life.

A bunch of extras appear here, and this includes an alternate version of the film. When you click “THE MOVIE!!!” from the main menu, it offers “Original Film” (1:49:38) or “Katie’s Extended Cinematic Bonanza Cut!” (1:52:48).

“Bonanza” launches with a one-minute intro from director/co-writer Michael Rianda. He explains what to expect in vague terms.

Though a comparison of running times implies “Bonanza” only adds four minutes of unique footage, that proves incorrect. Instead, “Bonanza” comes with all sorts of alternate scenes that often replace material from the theatrical version.

For instance, “Bonanza” opens with a look at failed attempts to create functional robots, and we also get an alternate introduction to the Mitchells. Many more sequences earn basic extensions.

Don’t expect much finished animation from the added material, though. Instead, we usually find story reels with filmed storyboards and basic audio.

“Bonanza” neither works better nor worse than the final film, though it does come with some continuity issues. For example, when the initial robot assault occurs, “Bonanza” offers an alternate glimpse of the Poseys as they escape.

The problem? “Bonanza” then cuts to footage from the theatrical version in which we see the Poseys leave the diner. As such, these characters depart the same location twice.

Other goofs of this sort emerge as well, but they end up more as a minor nuisance than anything else. “Bonanza” offers a fun alternate version of the film, warts and all.

Alongside the theatrical cut, we find an audio commentary with Rianda, visual effects supervisor Mike Lasker, production/character designer Lindsey Olivares, co-director/co-writer Jeff Rowe, producer Kurt Albrecht, head of animation Alan Hawkins and head of story Guillermo Martinez. All seven sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, animation and visual design, music, cast and performances, music, editing, and related domains.

With so many mouths to feed, the commentary easily could go off the rails. However, it manages to stay on track, largely because Rianda acts as the main participant.

Not that we don’t get a lot of content from the others as well, but Rianda dominates the track, at least to a moderate degree. He acts as ringleader and helps keep matters focused. We learn a lot of useful info across this fun and engaging piece.

A new “mini-movie”, Dog Cop 7: The Final Chapter runs eight minutes, 24 seconds. Created by “Katie Mitchell”, it offers another tale that stars the movie’s dog Monchi in puppet form.

Shot live-action, it looks like something the Katie character would actually make. It brings an amusing addition to the package.

Eight Bonus Scenes fill a total of 25 minutes, 18 seconds. If you watched “Bonanza”, you’ll already have viewed some of these clips.

Others offer content not seen elsewhere. Everything we see comes via storyreels, so don’t expect finished animation.

Note that the “Scenes” don’t present all the material in “Bonanza”. I like the footage – especially a long segment that involves the Mitchells and the (fictional) US Vice President - but it’s odd that it mixes “Bonanza” elements and clips not seen in that cut.

Five components show up under “Katie’s Cabinet of Forgotten Wonders”, and Katie-Vision lasts two minutes, 49 seconds. Olivares tells us more about the “Katie-Vision” aspect of the storytelling process. She gives us a brief but informative piece.

Dumb Robots Trailer spans two minutes, two seconds. After an intro from Rianda, we get a teaser that hints at the movie’s tone/content. With exclusive material, it adds a cool component.

Next comes The Original Mitchells Story Pitch, a three-minute, 54-second segment in which we see storyreels that offer an overview of what Rianda intended the movie to become. Expect another entertaining look at the film’s earliest conception – with a guest spot from “Barack Obama”!

The Furby Scene – How? Why? goes for one minute, 33 seconds and features Martinez, art director Toby Wilson, executive producer Mike Allegra and VFX supervisor Mike Lasker.

They discuss alternate options for the Furby sequence as well as aspects of its creation. Though brief, we get a few good details here.

Finally, Pal’s World fills one minute, 20 seconds with comments from Lasker, Allegra, story artist Caitlin Van Arsdale and visual development artist Tiffany Lam.

Here we get notes about visual design. It offers another short but useful reel.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines: Or How a Group of Passionate Weirdos Made a Big Animated Movie occupies 12 minutes, 42 seconds with remarks from Rianda, Rowe, Olivares, Martinez, Lam, Van Arsdale, Allegra, Wilson, Albrecht, Hawkins, Lasker, editor Greg Levitan, producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord, and actors Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph and Olivia Colman.

“Group” covers the movie’s roots and development, how the crew came onboard, cast and characters, visual design and animation. Though it leans fluffy at times, it still gives us some good material.

Two components appear under How to: “How to Make Sock Puppets” (1:48) and “How to Make Katie Face Cupcakes” (1:56). These offer brief tutorials under the subjects listed and could be fun for kids.

The disc opens with an ad for Angry Birds Movie 2. No trailer for Machines appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Machines. It includes “Katie’s Cabinet”, “How Tos”, and the “Weirdos” featurette. That leaves a lot of extras exclusive to the Blu-ray.

With a fun premise and a fast pace, The Mitchells vs. the Machines delivers an enjoyable animated romp. It mixes humor, action and emotion to create a pretty likable package. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture and audio as well as a solid roster of bonus materials. This becomes a strong release for an engaging movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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