3.5 out of 5 stars
When walking down the streets of the city, many may believe that we have been taken over by machines. People staring blankly into their phones. As if they are being led along by an invisible lead to who knows where. It is not too far-fetched for filmmakers to consider how our lives might be quickly taken over by our devices. Unlike Skynet of the Terminator franchise, the co-creators of The Lego Movie look at this concept through an animated and comedic lens of the Mitchell family.
This eccentric bunch of misfits are about to hit the road to take Katie (Abbi Jacobson) to film school in California. Their daughter/sister has never felt like she fits within the confines of the Midwestern United States. As an aspiring filmmaker, the future university student looks forward to her time amongst ‘her people’ within the creative arts. All she has to do is endure the cross-country trip with her family as they try to have one last hurrah before sending her off to college. Except, no one could have predicted that there would be a revolution of all the machines of the world as they work their way across America.
At the latest worldwide announcement of the newest technological advances at PAL corporation, entrepreneur Mark Bowman (Eric Andre) unveils his new line of home robots. Thus replacing the hallmark and namesake of their corporation, the Siri-like system PAL (Olivia Colman). Alas, the powerful little device is not ready to be replaced. The now-sentient operating system enacts a plan that has been brewing to imprison and replace all humanity with the newly established robot force. Everything comes together easily for this diabolical plan as the world cannot forgo their free wifi. Except one thing that keeps it all from coming to fruition. PAL could not have planned for the unorthodox reaction of the Mitchell family, who end up being humanity’s last less-than-great hope of survival.
The team behind films like Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse manage to deliver the animation, the screenplay and the characters that are unlike anything on offer in film today. This creative lot behind this apocalyptic tale incorporates the vision of this Youtube generation with an endearing narrative about rediscovering family values. By tapping into the familiar trope of the fight over the generation gap, this story goes from ridiculous to heartwarming, hilarious and unexpectedly innovative all at the same time.
Even though it may be difficult for many to keep up with the pace of this quirky sci-fi fare, it does provide something for every generation. Each member of the Mitchell family brings a unique element that is both self-aware and willing to do all they can for the sake of one another. Like The Lego Movie, audiences should dispel any logic or story continuity expectation and just hang on for the ride. Despite giving a nod to certain modern social norms and agendas, the majority of the film keeps its message of family unity and encourages all to be comfortable with their own identity. This makes for a fresh and surprising option for families to sit down and enjoy a movie together as this one delivers on all levels.
REEL DIALOGUE: Where do you find your identity?
In amongst the robots and panelled station wagons, personal identity is threaded through this storyline. Katie seems to be searching for herself outside of her current family situation. Then as the machine apocalypse begins, the future filmmaker comes to the realisation that she knows herself better than she ever thought.
As she travels along this journey of self-discovery, Katie begins to see the value of family and the wise counsel they do have for her life. An aspect of living on this planet that we all can learn to appreciate. To see these key individuals who can represent elements that we aspire to see in our lives and how these people are willing to invest in our future. Her father, Rick (Danny McBride) is far from being an ideal role model. Still, he does represent the very thing we all desire to have come into our life, someone who wants to invest in our lives and does his best to set a good example. This example is shown in the Bible through the example of Jesus. If you are looking for that example to emulate in your life, the book of Mark is a great place to begin.