The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Streaming on Netflix April 30.

THE PLOT:

An ordinary family finds themselves challenged to save the world from a robot apocalypse. Creative daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson) has been accepted into the film school of her dreams, so her nature-loving dad (Danny McBride) insists on a family road trip to get her there. Upbeat Mom (Maya Rudolph) and quirky younger brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) are along for the ride when the machine uprising begins — oh, and their squishy pug Monchi, too. They connect with two simple-minded robots to save humanity, combating smart phones, roombas, evil Furbys and renegade appliances.

LYNN’S TAKE:

Zippy and clever, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is a cross between a fun family adventure with the Griswolds and a fast-paced sci-fi thriller in the mold of “Terminator 2.”

With Phil Lord and Christopher Miller the producers, Oscar winners for the innovative “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and creators of “The LEGO Movie,” you expect good humor, creative animation, and funny people voicing the characters, and they raise the bar once again. Writer-director Mike Rianda delivers a work that is not only entertaining, but surprisingly

warm-hearted.

Families can recognize themselves in the characters, which Rianda and co-writer Jeff Rowe have lovingly crafted, while its cautionary tale about unchecked technology, over-reliance on social media and losing connections with those you love the most is a valid one.

The contrast between the Mitchells – throwbacks to ‘60s and ‘70s sitcoms, complete with beat-up station wagon and roly-poly dog — with the high-tech modern world is well-drawn and thought-provoking.

The colorful animation is, of course, next level in its action sequences and visual effects. Its vibrancy and sight gags are worth a second viewing. An Easter egg for St. Louisans — the Arch is one of the landmark attractions seen across the U.S.

The voice actors ideally suit their characters, with the well-meaning but dorky dad voiced by Danny McBride an excellent foil for exasperated Katie, ready to spread her wings at college, played by comic actress-writer Abbi Jacobson of “Broad City” and a veteran of Upright Citizens Brigade. SNL’s Beck Bennett, Fred Armisen and Conan O’Brien are funny as tech voices, with a surprise appearance from Oscar winner Olivia Colman, best known as Queen Elizabeth in “The Crown.”

Charming and delightful, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is a welcome vehicle to gather the whole family to watch – and all too rare these days for such a broad shared experience.