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Top 10 Sci Fi Animated Films

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Max Lett Make sure you have a laser gun handy. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Sci-Fi Animated Films. For this list, we will be sticking exclusively to animated films in the sci-fi genre. Special thanks to our user Godslayer79 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Sci Fi Animated Films


Make sure you have a laser gun handy. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Sci-Fi Animated Films.

For this list, we will be sticking exclusively to animated films in the sci-fi genre. As such, we will be ignoring superhero-based efforts like “The Incredibles,” and “Big Hero 6” as those are movies for another day.

#10: “Treasure Planet” (2002)

It’s the new millennium and with “Pirates of the Caribbean” not yet released, kids didn't know that they loved pirates. So how do we turn a literary classic into something that’ll capture the attention of today’s sugar-addicted, video game-playing youth? Set it in space, of course! Say what you will about this cartoon retread, but any movie with aliens, cyborgs, pirates and a whole planet of treasure is bound to draw in more sci-fi oriented audiences, both young and old alike. Mix in a bit of 3D animation and my friend, you have got something indeed.

#9: “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)

What mysteries lay beneath the cold blue sea? Probably none, unless you’re in a Disney film - in which case, there’s plenty of adventure to be had and even a lost civilization to be found! While you might say that an ancient civilization doesn’t sound very sci-fi, we’d like to remind you that the civilization in question is so advanced that it includes giant robot sentries, flying vehicles, practically immortal people and someone who sounds eerily like Mr. Spock. Throw in some epic bad guys and a crazy quest and you have one of the most watchable sci-fi animated flicks out there.

#8: “Heavy Metal” (1981)

Think animated movies are just for kids? Think again. This Canadian anthology sci-fi fantasy is categorized as being for adults due to its sexual and violent content. Bringing together multiple stories from the magazine of the same name, which are the efforts of several different animation houses, “Heavy Metal”’s got space shuttles, dystopian cities, a “green meteorite” and… robot sex, just to name a few. Its standout animation, combined with a killer soundtrack, has also ensured that the flick has earned cult status today.

#7: “Ghost in the Shell” (1995)

Are you a fan of anime and stories that just barely make sense? Well, then you’ve probably already seen “Ghost in the Shell.” And if you haven’t: it’s the future, as it usually is with anything sci-fi, and the world is connected by a massive electronic network. Major Kusanagi is an assault team leader who is tasked with hunting down the elusive criminal known as the puppet master. Now keep in mind that in this wacky future world, people are able to transfer their consciousness into robotic bodies, so this isn’t as easy as it sounds. But that’s part of what makes this such a classic, as do its philosophical themes and stunning visuals.

#6: “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” (1984)

Hayao Miyazaki is nothing if not a staunch environmentalist; at least he seems to be thanks to many of his movies’ themes. Well ahead of carbon taxes and inconvenient truths, he was telling us as early as the ‘80s that pollution was bad. But no one listened so he made a movie to show us the error of our ways: “Nausicaa.” After the Earth is sent into a post-apocalyptic spiral because of pollution, the human population has dwindled down to settlements and kingdoms and must avoid the now poisonous forests filled with gigantic bugs. The titular heroine must find a way to bring the two worlds together, using a high tech glider, and the result is a passionate, thrilling and musical flick that went on to inspire countless anime movies thereafter.

#5: “Lilo & Stitch” (2002)

At the beginning of this adventure film, an alien super weapon is deemed too dangerous by the Galactic Federation and is sentenced to be exiled. It manages to escape and hijack a spacecraft with a random destination: Earth. No, this is not a schlocky ‘50s sci-fi; it’s Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch.” While the movie seems to start off as a hard science fiction flick, it then leads into a humorous and heartwarming tale of friendship between two outcasts. Don’t worry though, if you aren’t a fan of that, there’s lots of epic alien goodness along the way.

#4: “A Scanner Darkly” (2006)

In the near future, an alternate reality, or both, America has been overcome by drugs, with a fifth of the population hooked on a new hallucinogen called Substance D. Bob Arctor, an undercover agent, is assigned to infiltrate a powerful drug ring and bring it down from the inside. Fairly straight forward, right? Except that Bob, his cop friends and nearly everyone else is wearing something called a ‘Scramble Suit,’ which can alter the wearer’s physical appearance. So, to put it simply, people are being backstabbing people who are backstabbing people who might be backstabbing themselves who in turn are backstabbers... if we follow the math. Regardless, this close adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel features the animation technique known as interpolated rotoscope, an A-List voice over cast and thought-provoking themes, which makes it a must-see for all you deep thinkers out there.

#3: “WALL-E” (2008)

This beloved Pixar film foresaw a grim future for humankind, but a charming and playful one for robots... or at least for one robot, anyway. After years spent cleaning an abandoned Earth that has become covered in trash, WALL-E develops sentience a propos of nothing. He is the last of his kind and spends his days tidying up and repairing himself. When the tubby survivors return to Earth to see if it’s clean enough to live on again, they send EVE, an advanced robot probe to assess the situation. The result? WALL-E and EVE are drawn together and share in an unlikely adventure that spans the entire complex emotional spectrum in a story that is comprehensible for children and yet still entertaining for adults.

#2: “The Iron Giant” (1999)

Vin Diesel in a sci-fi? Unheard of! “The Iron Giant” is the story of a gigantic space robot that crash lands on Earth and soon becomes fast friends with a young boy - as happens with robots and boys. As movies have told us time and time again though, there is nothing that comes from space that isn’t first feared and then attacked by the U.S government. The giant is pelted with all kinds of artillery, but to no avail - so the feds opt to go nuclear. This is the moment the Iron Giant becomes a hero and the movie becomes something more than a kids’ flick, but one that tackled complicated feelings and emotions, and touches a wider audience as well.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Metropolis” (2001)
“Titan A.E.” (2000)
“Fantastic Planet” [aka “La Planète sauvage”] (1973)

#1: “AKIRA” (1988)

This anime’s got it all: futuristic Tokyo, wicked motorcycles and a giant psychic blob of a monster. Based on the successful manga, “Akira” hit North American audiences with all the force of a nuclear bomb and created a new generation of anime fans with its crazy sci-fi plot and seizure-inducing action scenes. Kaneda, the hero of the film, must battle relentless government agents, rival street gangs and his good buddy who also transforms into a horrifying monster with powerful psychic abilities. With dystopian and cyberpunk tones as well as engaging characters and storyline, “Akira” hooks audiences from the beginning. By helping to introduce both manga and anime to the west thanks to its exceptional artwork, it is a natural choice for our top pick.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite Sci-Fi Animated Film? For more futuristic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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