Streaming guide: Six movies with the robot friends your kids (and you) need right now

Robots have always held a special place in my heart, most of them managing to communicate without words and mainlining into our hearts regardless.

They're also bloody useful. Right now, with so many of us trying to work from home with kids of all ages underfoot, how great would it be to have R2-D2 or Wall-E rolling around to entertain and protect them?

As New Zealand endures the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown, many Kiwis are getting into binge-watching. But what should you watch? Newshub is here to help.

We're bringing you streaming guides with advice on what to watch and where to watch it.

While I can't supply you with actual robots, what I can do is share my six most beloved cinematic robot movies.

Photo credit: Pixar


Our favourite little futuristic trash compactor is the beating heart and soul of this iconic, Oscar-winning Pixar film and his support cast manage to shine alongside him. His bestie EVE not to mention M-O and the rest of the Axiom starliner's motley robot crew are all just delightful, making Wall-E's squad one for the cinematic ages. This story is just as searingly relevant and prophetic now as it was when it was released in 2008 and gets better and better on repeat.
Where to stream: Disney Plus

Iron Giant.
Photo credit: Warner Bros

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant is a modern classic and no other discussion will be entered into. Based on the Ted Hughes science fiction novel - regarded a classic in its own right - this is the story of a giant metal robot who falls from the sky and bonds with a young kid called Hogarth. This film is gorgeous, from the animation right through to the narrative and its tear-jerking ending. An absolute must-see.
Where to stream: Netflix

Photo credit: Lucasfilm

Star Wars

RD-D2 in almost every single Star Wars movie ever was my first ever movie crush. This droid for the ages pretty much saves the day every day in the galaxy far, far away. As his mate C-3PO quite rightly intoned in A New Hope: "Excuse me sir, but that R2-D2 is in prime condition, a real bargain". R2 is not so much a bargain as he is the real hero in this epic space opera. He has been a constant force (get it?) throughout this iconic 40 year franchise and will remain always my one and only Artoo.
Where to stream: Disney Plus


Big Hero 6.
Photo credit: Disney

Big Hero 6

It never ceases to amaze me how many people look at me blankly when I confess my love for Big Hero 6 and its inflatable healthcare robot Baymax. In these times of coronavirus, we could all use Baymax in our homes! This is the futuristic story of young teenager Hiro who has a brain the size of a house and a particular love of robotics. Distracted by the underworld of fighting robots, our Hiro will be called upon to use his talents for the greater good, with his inflatable side-kick Baymax. The gentle, healing, squishy loyalty of this robot is so very inspiring and I adore him.
Where to stream: Disney Plus

Real Steel.
Photo credit: Dreamworks

Real Steel

Speaking of fighting robots, how about Hugh Jackman? Big fighting robots? A cute feisty kid? Cue my kind of redemption movie and one the grownups will dig as much as the kids. Jackman plays Charlie, a former boxer trawling illegal fights in which giant robots have replaced human boxers. But when he finds himself begrudgingly looking after his son Max, a kid he's ignored his entire life, Charlie finds his love of the fights is in the family DNA. This film had middling reviews but I've always loved it and it's an easy, fun watch on repeat.
Where to stream: Hire from Quickflix / Microsoft / Apple

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures


Yep, it's a Transformers film, but hear me out! For the record, I loved the first Michael Bay Transformers movie and I'll leave you to judge me for that later but first know this; the most recent addition to the Transformers world - 2018's Bumblebee - is a huge departure from what became a shockingly dull, noisy and absurdist franchise. It's a refreshingly retro and very watchable little throw-back romp. Hailee Steinfeld stars, along with our favourite yellow autobot of course. It's directed by Travis Knight - the man behind another one of my all-time favourite kids films; Kubo and the Two Strings (which you also must see).
Where to stream: Hire from Google / Apple / Microsoft