Subterfuge is the better part of babysitting and parenting, so when you can score some movie-watching time under the guise of kid friendly entertainment, do your part to bring up the next batch of future science fiction fans by showing them these 6 animated space movies that aren’t just for kids. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when the kids also question why the Sci-Fi Channel was rebranded “Sy-Fy.”
An endearing trash robot falls in love with another robot all while pointing out that a significant portion of humanity might want to consider recycling and taking the stairs now and again in "Wall-E." Kids can love a robot who wears his emotions on his sleeve while adults can get behind a story that has a heavy-handed morality but manages to avoid total condescension.
A quick and useful lesson that appropriating a classic book can have as many positives as it has negatives, "Treasure Planet" maintains enough fun and danger in its action that those with 401ks can enjoy the movie just as much as their younger counterparts. With hidden treasure, pirates, intrigue and a menace-dripping John Silver, this take on the classic hammers some new metallic parts to the old story and manages to get it into space without too much heavy lifting. Any scene with Morph will bring the laughs, but check out Jim’s encounter with B.E.N, the marooned and overly touchy robot for some belly-laughing-worthy antics.
"Star Wars: The Clone Wars"
“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is an imperfect space movie for kids and adults to share, but it's the foundation for an great ongoing series that sets up plenty of shared entertainment. There’s a simple but decent plot, excellent voice acting and no dumbing down to the child audience as Anakin wrestles with his pride in his fight scene against Count Dooku, only to rise above his anger and let compassion drive him as he chooses to go after Ahsoka instead of continuing his duel. Even the bad things can be laughed off as you and your kiddos venture out into a well-worn and well-loved space opera.
"Futurama: Bender’s Game"
smartassery, this "Futurama" movie will definitely give the kids some great lowbrow humor while still managing to highbrow it for the adults in the room. Group robot therapy with hammers is a great scene whether your life depends on milk or caffeine.
A valuable lesson to all age groups on what happens when you believe that just flipping a plot point will make a story amusing but don’t bother putting any hard work into the idea. "Planet 51" has humanity as the invader on an alien planet they believed was uninhabited and the laughs just…die without oxygen. Even throwing heavy hitters like Gary Oldman and John Cleese can’t save a rather boring space flick. There is one tiny scene of greatness as Chuck gets an explanation of the hierarchy of who shoots who in the event that he starts taking over people’s minds, but once that’s over, please feel free to pluck nose hair or insult a rabid coyote. Either would be more entertaining than the rest of "Planet 51."
There’s something childishly simplistic and equally mature in the solution to the roving, insanely powerful monster problem in "Planet Hulk." The heroes of Earth ship the Hulk to another planet where he smashes his way into a new vacation destination planet. The story reminds children—and especially adults—that you can’t just ignore your problems by throwing them away. The Hulk fakes his death and defeats The Red King in a great fight scene that ends with him becoming the new king of an entire planet that could come in handy with any payback he’s mulling over.