Director Mike Rianda Wrote A Little Of Himself Into Every Character In The Mitchells Vs The Machines

We've hardly entered the 2020s and "The Mitchells Vs. the Machines" is already in the running as one of the best animated films of the decade. Where the folks at Pixar have become really good at simulating the authenticity of our world, projects like this one scrubbed the notion of realism altogether, in favor of a vastly more interesting visual palette cleanser. Taking after "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," the blending of CGI with 2D animation has proven that the animated medium can be used to create whatever kind of playful reality you want to see.

Even beyond its frenetic pace and heartfelt story, the oversized heart at the center of "The Mitchells Vs. the Machines" is this family. It doesn't take long before you fall in love with this band of lovable weirdos, as they're inadvertently tasked with saving the world from a robot apocalypse. Chances are that you know a Mitchell in your life. For director Mike Rianda, however, this was his family.

Right before his big credit, we're made aware of the fact that the Mitchells were modeled after the household he grew up with. On top of that, he's also the voice of the youngest Mitchell, Aaron, who has an immense fixation with dinosaurs. While speaking with The A.V. Club earlier this year, Rianda talked about how Aaron was based on his own childhood experiences:

"I was an obsessive little kid and I would call video games stores and be like, 'Hey, do you want to talk to me about 'Bangai-O' on the Dreamcast?' And they'd respond, "Kid, you've called, like, four times in one day." And I was like, 'I don't have any friends!' I was just an obsessive little kid who was looking to connect with somebody."

The Mitchells hit really close to home

Although Aaron is the only Mitchell that Mike Rianda lends his voice to, he claims to have left a piece of himself in each member of the family (via The A.V. Club):

"I'm wildly in almost all of the characters [...] I'm a lot like Katie in that I wanted to go to art school. My dad was like, 'I don't know, buddy.' You know, but lovingly. My dad looks exactly like Rick. My mom is like the kindest woman in the world, but will come at you like a freight train if she's trying to get you into Mr. Frederick's third-grade class instead of Mrs. Holyfield's."

Where Aaron is the hyper-fixated dinosaur kid, the rest of the family possess their own identifiable quirks. Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is a talented young queer filmmaker who sees the world through her passion. Rick (Danny McBride) is more old-fashioned in his approach to doing things. He means well, even if he doesn't know how to adapt to Katie's bond to technology. Linda (Maya Rudolph) is the warm-hearted mediator, who you don't want to cross. Then there's Monchi (Doug the Pug), the canine enigma you can't help but love.

"The Mitchells Vs. the Machines" plays like a loving tribute to the people who brought Rianda to this moment, as these characters are so precise in their mannerisms that it only could have come from someone who mined his loved ones for the world to see. I, for one, am grateful for the hilarious twist on what appears to be a really cool household.

"The Mitchells vs. the Machines" is currently streaming on Netflix.