Top 10 Greatest Robots in Animated Films


In the history of animated films there have been some great robots but who makes the list of greatest animated robots?  We want to make it clear right from the start that in our research (thanks Bruce and Burrizza) we included cyborgs and humans with extensive robotic implants as potentials for inclusion on this list; however, we excluded mecha or any robotic suits piloted by humans.  What that means is that we would not consider Iron Man for a spot but if there were an animated film about the Bionic Man it would be in contention to place on the list.  To the fans of exo-mechanical suits… We’re sorry, but we’ll catch you next time.

We will give each movie a rating based on our reviewing philosophy.

On to the badassery of the top 10 robots!

10. Mind-bots from Megamind

Film Rating: Popcorn, yay! And why not?

Megamind has a lot of cool mecha, including his own suit which can hold its own against a superman like superhero and his trusted Minion is cool as hell but among his toys are the Mind-bots (or brain-bots which misses out the ‘branding’ of the film) .  Flying, hovering, hive-minded bots with metal, piranha like jaws and these bots exist solely to cater to every one of Megamind’s  whims.  And there are thousands upon thousands of them.  Strength in numbers–therein lies the greatness of them.  Check them out:

9. Atomic Robo from Atomic Robo: Last Stop

Film Rating: tbd

Adapted from the comic, Atomic Robo does badassery like a fish does water… he lives and breathes in it… and… and does his business in it too.  Technically, this movie hasn’t been made yet but it’s partially finished and just got kickstarter funding to the tune of 6 times what they were asking for.  Production just restarted so it looks good to be completed.  If the film gets a fourth of the comics’ charm it deserves to be on the list but future generations may condemn me for putting it so low on the list once its completed. What makes him so cool? Look at the trailer and we do not need to answer that… Look:

8. Doris Bowler Hat-bot from Meet the Robinsons

Film Rating: Popcorn, yay! And why not?

It doesn’t matter that its 3D was subpar and that some of the animation was clunky, Meet the Robinsons is an underrated Disney gem. The film has heart, it has humor, and it has action as well as one of the greatest dystopian nightmare worlds ever created in animated film history all brought about by none other than an unassuming little robotic bowler hat named Doris or, as we like to call it the “Hat-bot”.  How great (in the evil sense) is Doris? Doris is lord and master of the world… See for yourself:

7. Omnidroid from The Incredibles

Film Rating: S’good. See it. You will like it.

The Incredibles is a mash-up of Bond, comedy, and superheroes and it works beautifully.  You know what’s been missing from the Bond villains? Robots.  Seriously, all those gadgets, all those superhero movies and we have far too few bots that contribute to our completely, totally realistic fear of the robocalypse*.  Bond and superheroes need robots the way pizza needs my face: all up in that.  The Omnidroid is one badass shut-yo-mouth machine that really can just about do it all.  Take a looksy:

6. The Fabrication Machine from 9 (2009).

Film Rating: Hard to recommend.

It’s probably a tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s genius that there are so many robots that mimic his iconic Hal 9000 motif.  Even if you are a child and have never heard of or seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, you instantly know that a robot with a single, central, red eye is probably bad news.  9, besides being stupidly named something that’s basically impossible to Google easily, is not great, not great at all.  But, if you recall, earlier in the list we mentioned that Doris Hat-bot creates one of the most impressive dystopian worlds in animated film… welcome to probably the most amazing dystopian world you will ever see.  Yeah, ever… because for some reason, kids and their parents do not want to watch cartoon films about the end of the world, go figure.  Watch:

5. Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell

Film Rating: S’good.  See it. You will like it.

There aren’t enough lady-bots in the world or… maybe there are too many.  I dunno.  I do know that Major Motoko Kusanagi is hardcore.  Even if you have not watched the film you probably already know that the film inspired the Wachowskis were inspired (stole) from this film to make The Matrix,  but if you have not seen it you should.  Motoko represents so beautifully the struggle of A.I., identity, reality, and choice all while smashing tanks and blasting bad guys. Since its a cartoon, it is probably ok but it may be NSFW.  Meet the Major:

4. Robot Soldier (Laputian-bot) from Castle in the Sky

Film Rating: Watch it now! Now!

It’s hard to describe how great the Robot Soldier from Laputa is…  Maybe it is because he is part of a mythology that felt so big and real, maybe it is the fact that a lone, injured, semi-functional robot manages to destroy an entire castle and take on an army all by itself or maybe its that its simplicity hides its deathray can turn rock into lava in mere seconds.  Whatever it is… trust us when we tell you that watching the Robot in action is a real treat.  This robot should be the basic building block on what all other robots can and quite possible should be.  Flight? Check. Lasers? Check. Awe-inspiring? Double check!

3. Optimus Prime from The Transformers Movie

Film Rating: Popcorn, yay! And why not?

Can it be? Optimus Prime  is not number 1? Yes. Unfortunately, Prime died a few too many times and besides breaking my heart, he didn’t kick ro-butt as often as we remembered. Still, Optimus has one of the coolest voices of all time as well as being a truly giant sized robot and face it, you love him.  We are all gay for Optimus.  He made us cry each and every single time he died.  Optimus used giant guns… I don’t think I’ve seen a gun picked up by a hero in the last 15 years.  Optimus had some of the greatest lines like when he is facing down Megatron he says: “One shall stand, one shall fall.” Admit it. That made you shiver.  Also, don’t forget that Optimus is connected to the Matrix (hear for yourself below at: 1:52).

2. The Machines from The Animatrix

Film Rating: Popcorn is S’good.
Explanation: The first half of the film is  a must watch but the second half… meh.

OK, we don’t think it is too much to say that The Machines from the Matrix behave a lot like a collective or hive mind.  Yes, there is some autonomy but in the movie they are of one mind.  Would you argue that the Borg, semi-autonomous hive mind killers, are individuals and should be treated as such? No. When we say Borg, we poop our pants because of their unity, numbers, and robotic superiority.   So, in our mind, The Machines are one and when they break the chains of bondage set upon them by humans they have some scores to settle.  Fear the great and powerful, unstoppable Machines:

1. Iron Giant from The Iron Giant

Film Rating: Watch it now! Now!

It is a crime that this movie is only a cult favorite.  Imagine a robot that can have complete train crash against it at full speed and not cause a dent; imagine an impenetrable body capable of taking Naval bomb shells without a scratch; Imagine weaponry so advanced that it can turn metal into nothing and finally imagine that its masters sent only one to take on the entire world and that is what we are dealing with in the Iron Giant.  Never before has anyone captured the coolness of a robot for both the capacity to do good and its potential for evil like Brad Bird managed to do in this film.  A few moments are more than enough to prove that it belongs atop the list of greatest robots in animated films.

Ladies and gentlebots, that is the list of the ten greatest animated robots in animation films.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the ‘best’ list.

Honorable Mention:  there was a struggle to include some-bot from Wall-E in the list but ultimately, despite our love for the movie we left Eve, Wall-E and Auto off the list.  Also, we wanted to include Cyborg 009 from the 1966 film Cyborg 009 but the main difficulty of that one is that we have not seen it since some random (probably bootleg) VHS video about 20 years ago–it is not available, as far as we can tell, on DVD.  The hardest one to keep off the list was John “the Cyborg” Silver from Treasure Planet because he fits the bill in almost every category of cool as well as being excellently voiced and animated; beautifully designed.  Just take a look at the folds in his many, many chins and that nose that is very Cyrano de Borgerac… Cyraborgerac… Cyrano De Botgerac?  No, no, that’s just stupid.  Wait. Where were we? Oh yes, greatness in the borg’s animation.  Looky here:

Let us know which great robots in animated film we left off the list but for now we give you the worst robots in animated films.

A Quick List of Worst Robots:

  1. B.E.N. voiced by Martin Short in Treasure Planet
  2. Carl voiced by Harland Williams in Meet the Robinsons.
  3. Ewan McGregor-bot in Robots (movie about people feeling trapped in a routine?)

* Note that “robocalypse” (pronounced row-bah-kah-lips) is,  in our opinion, much better than robopocalypse what with that extra, clumsy, syllable.