Netflix released a new video about the groundbreaking animation techniques used for The Mitchells vs. The Machines, featuring visual effects supervisor Michael Lasker, character designer Lindsey Olivares, director Mike Rianda, and producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Miller had already talked about the art of the film in a Twitter thread, but being able to watch how the movie was made is a lot more revealing about what makes The Mitchells vs. The Machines so unique.
In the featurette, Lasker talks about how one of the major themes of The Mitchells vs. The Machines is how our humanity is connected to our flaws, and that theme guided the art philosophy of the movie. The crew decided the best way to reflect this was to use an animation style that simulated a hand-drawn illustration, with organic shapes and watercolor textures. As Lasker puts it, the challenge was even bigger than with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because this time the team didn’t have any previous material to use as inspiration, like comic books. They had to create a new style that fitted their goals from scratch, which led to a lot of technical innovation during the development of the movie.
The featurette details how each new tool was build to make the textures, outlines and visual effects used in The Mitchells vs. The Machines match the watercolor art draw by Olivares. The starting point was the tools Lasker developed for Spider-Verse, but everything had to be bent in order to deviate from the comic book style.
Olivares also reveals the “Katie vision” 2D effects that get splattered all over the screen were added in the final phase of conceptualization, as a way to externalized Katie’s (Abbi Jacobson) creativity. The 2D drawings added over the 3D reflect the chaotic world inside Katie’s head, reflecting her unique way of seeing the world around her.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines features the voice talent of Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Olivia Colman and Rianda himself. To get even more insights about The Mitchells vs. The Machines, check our exclusive interview with Lord, Miller and Rianda, in which the director and producers go in-depth about how the movie grew from an idea to one of the best movies of 2021.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is available right now on Netflix. Check the new video right below: