This is a movie that hits the ground running, and then takes us back to find out how we got to such chaos. We're introduced to the Mitchell family, consisting of Dad, Rick (Danny McBride); Mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph); little brother, Aaron (Michael Rianda); and big sister, Katie (Abbi Jacobson), who is our narrator and lead for this feature. The introduction involves them whipping through town in an orange station wagon, as they're on the run from a robot uprising. Right away, you're gonna see the stylistic animation style that kind of reminds me of a combination of 'Scott Pilgrim' and 'Into the Spider-Verse'.
Katie sees her family as very weird and unusual, and sees herself as not fitting in at all. This was one thing that bugged me a little bit about the movie though - this is by no means a very weird family. I kept looking for it, but could only find a dash of it in Aaron and their dog, Monchi (Doug the Pug). Anyway, Katie doesn't fit in, but finds solace in movies; both watching them and making them. Think of her as someone who you might hook up with Adam Goldberg of 'The Goldbergs'. She gets accepted to college, and becomes very excited about getting away from this "disaster" of a family. However, seeing her start to slip away, Rick is realizing that he's missing his chance on really getting to know and understand his daughter.
This results in a family road trip, as Rick cancels Katie's flight, and decides the family if going to drive there and spend time together before she's gone. In the meantime, entrepreneur Mark Bowman (this movie's answer to Steve Jobs, played by Eric André) introduces us to an upgrade of a virtual assistant named PAL (this movie's answer to SIRI) in the form of robots who pretty much act as maids or butlers. So think of a SIRI that can cook and deliver food. Right off the bat he points out the "kill code" that will prevent a robot uprising, but it's overridden, and the uprising ensues pretty much instantly. So now, in the midst of a family road trip, the very average Mitchell family find themselves face to face with a collective of machines who are enslaving all of mankind.
This was directed by Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe, who both worked on various episodes of 'Gravity Falls', of which I am actually a huge fan. I must say that the overall personality of the characters, and feel of the film are very parallel. In fact, the hit-the-ground-running opening of this is almost exactly the same as the opening to 'Gravity Falls'. That said, the style is a little in-your-face, and that might not be for everyone. I find it important to take the style as something that's just on the surface though, and take the storytelling and characters to heart the most. Once again, using 'Gravity Falls' as the comparison, it starts out as goofy fun, but it has all these pockets of heart-felt moments we can relate to.
On the whole, I enjoyed it. I've always admired something that brings a lot of in-your-face style with it, especially if I can get a decent laugh or two out of it. Here, I laughed plenty, but I did have a real problem trying to take this family as being as weird as suggested. Despite that, however, it's still a lot of fun, and you can still enjoy these characters while overlooking what could be a nit-pick. After all, we all think our families are pretty weird, right? I personally enjoyed the relationship Katie has with Aaron; that "best friend" deal where they get each other, but no one else seems to get them... and again, I find that hard to believe when her thing is movies and his thing is dinosaurs. But I digress.
This is a film that's pretty high-ranking as far as reviews go, and most of that is with good reason. For as fun and crazy as this movie is, it seems to have the same heart as 'WALL-E' did; once again being a bit of a message about how we allow technology to consume us just for the sake of being lazy, and I am definitely guilty of this. Although nowadays, I always take the time to get some fresh air... while on my phone, taking pictures. It doesn't feel quite as eye-opening as something like 'WALL-E', but the right message is still there. This is one that can certainly be fun for the whole family.