Everybody loves a good science fiction story. from Star Wars to Star Trek, it seems as if audiences will never tire of the cosmos.
But what about those who want their sci-fi to be a bit more…animated? No need to fret, for there’s a litany of great science fiction animated movies for fans of all ages. From anime icons to Pixar classics, here are ten animated films every sci-fi junkie needs to check out.
Released in 1988, Akira is fondly remembered as one of the greatest anime films ever made. Set in a dystopian 2019, the movie tells the story of Tetsuo, a boy who gains superpowers following a motorcycle accident. These powers lead to him becoming involved in a dark government project and all of Neo-Tokyo being swept up in turmoil.
Just over thirty years since its initial release, Akira continues to welcome newcomers to the world of anime. The cyberpunk setting, great animation, and fascinating commentary make this a must-see for science fiction fans.
long before light year, WALL-E was Pixar’s first journey into the reaches of outer space. The film follows the title character, a robot designed to dispose of garbage, as he roams an Earth long since abandoned by the human race. Eventually, he makes his way into space and goes on an adventure that forever changes humanity’s fate.
WALL-E remains as an interesting oddity in Pixar’s library, even after so many films have followed it. Great sound design and stunning visuals combine to make this a Pixar film that is truly out of this world.
‘Cowboy Bebop: The Movie’ (2001)
while the Cowboy Bebop anime is often hailed as one of the greatest animated series ever made, little is usually said about its movie. Taking place during the latter half of the series, the film sees the Bebop crew go up against a terrorist who plans on subjecting the humans of Mars to a deadly virus.
Though the movie isn’t as discussed as the series, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie has everything that made the show so endearing to so many. From the compelling characters to a killer soundtrack, there’s plenty to love regardless of whether you’ve seen the show or not.
‘Treasure Planet’ (2002)
Treasure Planet, directed by Disney regulars John Musker and Ron Clements, remains the studio’s most famous science fiction adventure, even twenty years after its release. A sci-fi retelling of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, the movie follows the young Jim Hawkins as he embarks on a dangerous voyage to discover the long-lost Treasure Planet.
While it was a box-office bomb when released in theaters, time has been kind to Jim Hawkins’s tale. Between a strong voice cast and an imaginative take on the cosmos, it might be time to give this one another shot.
Ghost in the Shell
Another benchmark title in anime, Ghost in the Shell has long been revered as one of the best cyberpunk works. Set in the futuristic 2029, the film follows the cybernetic human Motoko Kusanagi as she attempts to locate and find an unknown hacker.
Though the film flopped during its initial release, it has become an underground success, inspiring other franchises likeThe Matrix. For anyone who enjoys cyberpunk stories, few stand on the same level as the original Ghost in the Shell.
‘The Transformers: The Movie’ (1986)
Transformers movies might be all the rage these days, but so far, there has only been one animated film based on the toyline. The Transformers: The Movie bridged the gap between the second and third seasons of the original cartoon, killing off many fan favorites and introducing new faces in the process.
Although many will argue the film is little more than a toy commercial, its beautiful animation, iconic 80s soundtrack, and impressive voice cast more than make this one worth watching. Besides, could you really say no to a movie that features Orson Welles as a giant robot?
Castle in the Sky (1986)
Studio Ghibli is no stranger to making great animated features, but their first film, Castle in the Sky, is their most notable sci-fi effort. Set during the late 1800s, it follows a boy and a girl who are on a quest to discover a lost castle. During the journey, everyone from pirates to the military tries to apprehend them and the mysterious crystal they possess.
While it might not be the most remembered film in the Ghibli catalog, the inventive steampunk setting and lovable characters make for a movie that’s just as entertaining as its successors. You can’t go wrong with a movie that gave the world Studio Ghibli, can you?
‘Titan AE’ (2000)
The last feature film directed by Don Bluth, Titan AE was the short-lived Fox Animation Studios’ attempt at the space opera. Set hundreds of years into the future, the film follows Cale Tucker as he goes on a journey to safeguard a spaceship that can create a new planet after the Earth has been destroyed.
Though the movie was a box office flop, Titan AE has managed to find a cult following since its release. With a unique voice cast, darker tone, and stellar art direction, it’s no surprise that many have fallen in love with Bluth’s final directorial effort.
Not every science fiction film needs to be serious to be good. The 2005 Comedy robotswhich follows the inventor Rodney Copperbottom on a mission to make his dreams a reality, is proof of that.
robots remains a favorite among the generation that watched it as children, and it’s not hard to see why. With a strong cast and the wonderful aesthetics of artist William Joyce on display, the film is sure to please sci-fi fans of all ages.
Superhero flicks are a dime adozen nowadays, but animated films featuring capes and tights are surprisingly few. However, there is at least Megamindwhich follows the titular villain as he explores life after defeating his nemesis, Metro Man.
Megamind’s greatest strength is its comedy. It lampoons classic superhero tropes and cliches, but still feels wholly original. If you’re tired of the endless onslaught of superhero movies, Megamind’s comedic touch might just be the medicine you’re looking for.
NEXT: 10 Movies Like ‘Lightyear’ to Watch Next for More Animated Sci-Fi Adventures