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YMMV / The Mitchells vs. the Machines

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  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Big Tech. Mark Bowman is a casually dressed, careless CEO of PAL, a company the predominates the tech industry and collects data on its users without restrictions. His casualness about his invention being replaced with the newer, better model leads directly to the robot uprising.
    Linda: Who would have thought a tech company wouldn’t have our best interest at heart?
  • Accidental Aesop:
    • Even the most meaningless art has meaning to the people who appreciate it. Katie does silly videos with Monchi and editing, with PAL pinpointing she's scared of doing something serious and wearing her heart on her sleeve. Those same videos gave a captive Mark hope while waiting for the end, and he tells Rick that his daughter kept his spirits up, along with his facilities to instruct Rick how to unlock the cages.
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    • A Sitcom Archnemesis doesn't exist in real life, and they may be as nervous and self-conscious as you are. Mrs. Posey seems to have the perfect family and social media presence, but she acknowledges that she's jealous of how carefree Linda and the Mitchells are, and that they are brave and faced down PAL.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • It's left unclear if Katie was out of the closet for most of the movie. We do know that she made a prom-posal video to a classmate named Chloe, and extra content reveals that Katie considers it "cringe". Rick notes that Katie doesn't really open up to him or anyone, which is part of is reason for the road trip. She does talk about Jade a lot and is waiting to meet her, but it's possible she was scared how her family would react on The Reveal that Jade is her girlfriend. Alternatively, since she was already out online, she's insulted that Rick hasn't even noticed and lends credence to her belief that her father doesn't know her at all. If she was open about wanting to see her girlfriend at college, that makes Rick's spontaneous road trip either a case of Overprotective Dad or No Sympathy about young love.
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    • PAL's Hannibal Lecture to Katie has a Not So Different moment, even sounding sorry for her. She says that they both have tried to put the work into relationships, but the other parties were unpredictable and always wanted more. Then she doesn't imprison Katie, but rather drops her from a fatal height. Did PAL see it as a Mercy Kill, was she annoyed that Katie came close to shutting her down, or was she just a jerk who was irritated to be reminded of her own past problems?
  • Anvilicious: Many viewers, upon seeing the trailer, called out the film for having the long clichéd "phones are bad you should spend more time with your family" Aesop that hits you in the face. Chris Miller on Twitter refuted that this is more a case of Never Trust a Trailer and was vindicated upon the film's release, which goes for a more neutral viewpoint that technology in and of itself is neither bad nor good, but depends on how people use it.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: In late January, the movie was rebranded with its original title The Mitchells vs. The Machines, coinciding with the announcement that it'd be being released on Netflix due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Awesome Art: Many have praised the art direction of the film, with the stylized designs giving it the feel of 2D animation while remaining a CGI-animated work. Having been animated using some of the same technology used for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may have helped.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The final trailer features the Steve Aoki remix of BTS’s “Mic Drop”.
    • "Live Your Life" by T.I. and Rihanna, which Katie and Rick sing along to in the climax while they're battling the PAL robots. It doubles as heartwarming since it was a song they would sing together when Katie was little, and Katie's willingness to sing it again with Rick shows how they're developing a better relationship with each other.
    • Alex Lahey’s “On My Way” that plays during the credits.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Mark Bowman points out that PAL hacking into his competitors' private emails is a serious breach of trust and abuse of power...right before both of them laugh it off.
    • Later on a similar joke happens when Rick is escaping his cell, which next to Mark's, and Mark reflects that maybe an unregulated tech company stealing people's information and giving it all to an AI was a bad idea. Rick is utterly baffled and remarks that yes, it was bad.
  • Cry for the Devil: PAL engages in Evil Is Petty and makes it clear she's wiping out all of humanity because of what one of them did, and from how her data-mining seems to reveal that nothing about them is worth saving. She has no qualms about taking on an innocent family and revealing their weaknesses or trying to murder them remotely using Furbies and Roombas. Yet there's a bit where she admits to a captive Katie that "Relationships are complicated", with her face screwing up in hurt. Even Katie feels sorry for her when PAL says they are Not So Different.
  • Director Displacement: One perpetrated by the trailers and ads for the film even; Phil Lord and Chris Miller have been pushed as the masterminds of the movie, to the point of it being called "Lord & Miller's The Mitchells vs. the Machines" in some sources. The two are among the film's three producers, and it was actually directed by Michael Rianda, who also co-wrote the film.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Although PAL's motivations come from being rejected by her own creator in favor of more advanced robots, which she later uses to stage an uprising against the human race, this would later amount to her planning to launch humans into space in ships that have nothing but free Wi-Fi. And even when it seems like she might get a Heel–Face Turn through Katie's speech, PAL just shuts off despite claiming she'd let everyone go because of that and later is destroyed by being dropped into water. Still, that doesn't stop people from seeing her as quite attractive for a smartphone and even drawing her with a human-like robot body.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Hailey's story involves the Mitchells' "super-mom" neighbor turning out to not be so super after all as she and her family get captured by the aliens. Shortly after the film was released, Hailey's voice actress Chrissy Teigen, a model and TV personality who was spoofing her real-life persona with the character, suffered a public fall from grace after her history of cyberbullying was exposed.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Instead of outright killing all of the humans on Earth, the robots are ordered to cram them all into seven giant rockets and shoot them into space. They don't hesitate to say that the humans will be floating in space forever, but they also gloss over the fact that humanity will most likely die out anyway due to dehydration or suffocation. But hey, free WiFi!
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Many have stated that they plan to watch this movie simply because of Phil Lord & Chris Miller's involvement.
    • Fans of Gravity Falls are also interested in seeing this due to the involvement of Michael Rianda, who co-wrote and directed the movie.
    • When the second trailer came out, people were most excited due to it having BTS’s “Mic Drop” playing in the background.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The film gained one as soon as the trailer came out since it showed that protagonist Katie would have a pride button as part of her character design. Then it was confirmed that Katie is gay. The Stinger says that Linda wants Katie to invite her girlfriend for Thanksgiving, and they would be happy to have her.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Phones Bad: The Movie"note 
    • A sped up version of Rick's struggle to use YouTube in the epilogue has been making rounds on Twitter, usually mashed up with the song "Rude Buster" from Deltarune.
    • "PAPU SEÑAL"note .
    • Rick staring at Katie's movie on her laptop with confusion and disinterest has become a reaction image to illustrate exhaustion about the Internet. It often gets paired with similar reaction images of Bob Parr, Tim Lockwood, and Charlie Jones to create a quartet of "animated dads on computers."
    • On Twitter, it's become a meme to post the picture of Aaron calling random people to talk about dinosaurs alongside an image of another character on the phone as if they're responding to him. Examples include Lady Dimitrescu and Luz Noceda.
    • "Your flight will last FOREVER. And your final destination IS THE BLACK VOID OF DISTANT SPACE." note 
  • Moe:
    • Katie with her very cute design, endearing love of movies, and quirky personality instantly makes her this.
    • Aaron also qualifies with his endearing obession of dinosaurs, his cute design and overall being a very nice brother to Katie. In her No Animals Were Harmed disclaimer, Katie even mentions that he has "the cutest, rosiest cheeks you've ever seen in your life".
    • Linda herself is a very sweet and undeniably kind parent and a schoolteacher.
  • Moral Event Horizon: It becomes clear that PAL won't have a Heel–Face Turn when she deliberately shifts into sleep mode during Katie's heartfelt speech about the importance of relationships despite saying she'd spare humanity if she finds one reason to spare them and drops her from a lethal height shortly afterwards.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The movie's moments of cringe comedy manage to be very heartfelt and sweet in context, showing off the bond between the family despite their generational differences.
    • The frequent references to and active incorporations of memes at least 6 years old at the time of the film's release (with some like Numa Numa being well over a decade and a half old by the time) can seem very jarring and off-putting at first, but eventually they blend well with the film's discordant, irreverent style and really help to set it apart.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • This movie does a better job than The Emoji Movie as a movie centered around our interactions with technology. It also features a protagonist who has trouble fitting in due to being different.
    • This film can be considered the western animation equivalent of Summer Wars, another movie about a family and our interactions with technology, with a malevolent AI hellbent on causing destruction at the helm and the family in question having to come together to save the day. Both films even involve a geeky main character as the lead, a family full of people with various quirks, the AI wrecking havoc on the world and trying (and in the latter film's case, successfully) killing one of the family members directly, the developer of the AI in question to have their creations come back to bite them, the family in question using the aforementioned technology and their own talents to defeat the AI and save the day, and a pet dog.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Regardless of its double meaning, the change of the title from "The Mitchells vs. The Machines" to "Connected" was criticized for taking a generic One-Word Title approach, rather than giving the movie its own identity. Especially due to how overused the gimmick of using adjectives or even nouns as titles is nowadays. Luckily, the film was revealed to have reverted back to its original name in 2021 when it was revealed that the movie was bought by Netflix.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Poseys provided a good Foil to The Mitchells the brief time they were on screen along with Abby Posey's interactions with Aaron Mitchell showing a blooming friendship. It could have been interesting to see how interactions between the two families would play out if the Poseys were temporary allies to the Mitchells rather than leaving the Dinostop before the Mitchells do and being captured off-screen.
  • Ugly Cute: Monchi has Fish Eyes and is so misshapen that the PAL robots malfunction when they see him because they can't tell if he's a dog, a pig or a loaf of bread, but he's still cute in his own way.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • When Katie wants to show her family a video she animated, Rick messes up by saying she's going to fail and should have a backup plan, the night before college. Then he smashes her laptop by accident, causing her to run to her room upset. His wife suggests maybe he should stop trying to solve problems and try to talk to Katie on her wavelength. Rick misses how he and Katie used to be close, and she's off to college the next day.
      You'd Expect: He would buy her a new laptop as a peace offering, offer to drop it off for rush-job repairs, or at least put the one she wants on wishlist if the family can't afford it. That would make Katie more than likely to listen. She also may appreciate if he simply apologizes for saying she will fail, and lies that he believes in her.
      Instead: He reveals the minute she wakes up that he canceled her plane ticket and is scheduling a spontaneous family road trip to take her to college in the family's alleged car.
      Predictably: His wife points out that he went "rogue" on this one and is supporting him under protest. Katie sulks and live-streams all of the misfortunes, like getting into a car accident or trying food from a zero-star restaurant. She also rightly points out that it was not cool of her dad to spring it on her, and that when she does attempt to bond with him, he accuses her of hiding behind her phone when she asks him to say something cool for her to record. It takes a robot apocalypse for them to start reconciling. Fortunately, near the end of the film, it's revealed that Katie has a repaired laptop, or a new one for video calls.
    • When the family ask the malfunctioning robots how to stop the uprising, they reveal that a kill code needs to be uploaded to the leader AI, who is protected by a swarm of killer bots up its tower in Silicon Valley... Or they can upload it in any PAL store, the nearest being in a mall just a few miles away. The Mitchells attempt the upload in the mall but it is interrupted when the router is destroyed by accident.
      You'd Expect: They ask their robot allies to locate the next nearest PAL store with a working router and drive there to try again since the first time proved it to be a quite simple operation (not counting the army of killing Roombas and Furbys who were expecting them; in any case, it's still safer than straight-out drive right into the enemy fortress).
      Instead: They straight-out drive right into the enemy fortress.
      Predictably: They are discovered, get captured and barely manage to save the world by the skin of their teeth.

Alternative Title(s): Connected


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