Judging by its just-released trailer, Connected is a family film that contains multitudes. It’s a family road trip comedy, a bittersweet tale of dropping your kid off at college, and a high stakes battle of humans against the machines.
The villain throughout the trailer is technology. It separates Rick Mitchell, the nature-loving dad, from his daughter Katie, a glued-to-her-phone teen far removed from the daddy’s girl she used to be. It makes family time difficult, as Rick’s request for 10 seconds of family eye contact somehow ends with him destroying Katie’s computer.
In an effort to bond one last time, Rick decides that, instead of flying Katie to the film school of her dreams, he’ll take the entire family on a country-spanning road trip. But technology rears its ugly head again, as the family trip is interrupted by a tech uprising led by robots.
More specifically, it seems that Helper Bots from PAL are the main culprits despite the fact that a hoodie-clad inventor promises “they will never, ever, turn evil” when introducing them at an Apple-style product reveal. Somehow, it becomes the Mitchells’ job to defeat these machines in aerial combat,
The film was produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the dudes behind Into the Spider-Verse, and its animation style looks similarly varied and wonderful, with the rougher renderings of the natural world contrasted with the sleek, chrome of the robots.
“It’s sort of a love letter to our imperfect human world, where it’s lovingly done but everything is kind of rumbly and a little bit wobbly,” director Chris Rianda told Entertainment Weekly. “We wanted to show those imperfections, and we wanted to show them lovingly.”
The voice cast is similarly impressive, with Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Eric Andre, and Olivia Colman starring in what sounds like It sounds like a mash-up of WALL-E and National Lampoon’s Family Vacation with one of the biggest challenges of modern parenting — not letting technology get in the way — in the foreground.
Miller explained this dual premise of the film himself: “The big whiz-bang of the tech uprising [and] robot apocalypse makes for a lot of exciting action and comedy, but at the end of the day, the heart of this thing is this family.”
Connected comes to theaters on September 18.