Netflix has a big hit on their hands with The Mitchells vs. The Machines, the latest animated film from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie producers Phil Lord & Chris Miller. Now that the film is available in their streaming library, they’re rolling out a look into how it was made. In a new shot-by-shot breakdown, producers Lord & Miller sat down with director Mike Rianda to explore the ferociously funny Furby fight sequence. Let the dark harvest begin!
The Mitchells vs. The Machines Furby Fight Scene Breakdown
This scene from The Mitchells vs. The Machines was inspired by a real childhood fear that Mike Rianda had after having a Furby of his own. The interactive toy creeped him out, so he tucked it away in his closet, but it still kept talking, which didn’t make the situation any better. Despite having such a raucous time planning the scene, Rianda says that they weren’t sure it would even end up in the movie because they weren’t sure how to make it matter in the story. Thankfully, they figured it out.
One of the more interesting details from behind the scenes of The Mitchells vs. The Machines is that the jacket worn by father Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) is apparently the most expensive animated prop in the history of Sony Pictures Animation. The detail of the jacket, such as the wrinkles and the texture, made it extremely difficult to animate, which is also why Rick Mitchell is one of the most expensive characters the studio has ever created.
There are also little Easter eggs scattered throughout the scene. For example, the toy store where the Furbys originate from is called Joy’s Toy Emporium, and that’s a reference to Joy Chung, the lead CG modeler on the movie. Plus, in addition to voicing the young brother Aaron Mitchell, director Mike Rianda also provided the terrifying noises made by the world’s largest Furby, and he even gives a little taste of what that was like in the recording booth.
I love the meticulous visual details that come from a breakdown like this too. For example, Rianda points out a few frames in the scene where the PAL router in the mall blows up and the explosion of the device was made with 2D animation flashes. These are the kind of details that make this movie such a mesmerizing sight to see.
Not only is The Mitchells vs. The Machines a visual feast from top to bottom, but it’s also a heartwarming tale about a dysfunctional family reconnecting among a society that couldn’t be more disconnected, despite the technology that supposedly brings us all closer together. That might sound preachy, but the movie doesn’t take a holier than thou approach to technology at all, and the madcap adventure is merely the vessel for which we get this touching metaphor about an old-fashioned father connecting with his LGBTQ daughter.
If you’d like to know more about the making of the movie, watch another featurette over here. Otherwise, here’s the official synopsis for The Mitchells vs. The Machines:
From the humans who brought you the Academy Award-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie comes The Mitchells vs. The Machines, an animated action-comedy about an ordinary family who find themselves in the middle of their biggest family challenge yet…saving the world from the robot apocalypse. No big deal, right? It all starts when creative outsider Katie Mitchell is accepted into the film school of her dreams and is eager to leave home and find “her people,” when her nature-loving dad insists on having the whole family drive her to school and bond during one last totally-not-awkward-or-forced road trip. But just when the trip can’t get any worse, the family suddenly finds itself in the middle of the robot uprising! Everything from smart phones, to roombas, to evil Furbys are employed to capture every human on the planet. Now it’s up to the Mitchells, including upbeat mom Linda, quirky little brother Aaron, their squishy pug, Monchi, and two friendly, but simple-minded robots to save humanity.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is available on Netflix right now.
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