Top 10 Best Sci Fi DVDs
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
October 15, 2010
Filed Under Movies
Contributed by Aurora LaJambre, Catalogs.com Info Guru
Imagine you have a friend who has no idea what a science fiction film is. Now imagine that friend gets to live on a space ship for the rest of his life.
He’ll have all of his needs met, but he can only bring the 10 best sci fi dvds, and unless the solar system he ends up in produces sci-fi movies, those dvds are the alpha and omega of his science fiction cinema knowledge. Of course, he will encounter aliens who will want to learn the nuances of planet Earth, which they were supposed to study in school, but weren’t really paying attention that day.
The thoughts and feelings of hypothetical aliens were not considered during this selection. This list of top 10 best sci-fi dvds covers different types of science fiction. Criteria include overall excellence, originality and social commentary.
10. E.T. (1982)
E.T. gave the mainstream its first compelling portrayal of aliens. Told from a child’s point of view, E.T. examines humanity through a child’s personal relationship with an alien. If you haven’t watched E.T. since childhood, you’d probably appreciate it even more as an adult. Beyond aliens, it’s an intimate film about childhood. But be warned, you may not win many points with hard core sci-fi fans for including it on a list of the best sci-fi dvds.
9. Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future is a rare gem on the shelf of science fiction comedy. It tells a story about a teenage boy who travels back in time and wants to return to his present. Halfway through the first act, the film transcends the storyline to show an understandable theory on time travel, presenting the small gestures that can have big consequences, rewriting history with immediate results. Plus, it contributed ‘McFly’ as a universal term of endearment for ‘he who does not pay attention’.
8. Tron (1982)
As the first film from a mainstream studio to use computer graphics, Tron changed the look and feel of sci-fi movies, permanently raising the bar for visuals in sci-fi film. Before every home had even one computer, Tron depicted a thrilling virtual reality. With a storyline about rebelling from the Master Control System, Tron endorses social change without hitting you on the head.
7. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, otherwise known as Khaaaaaaaaaan, was another early 1980s big commercial production. Khan easily stands up against contemporary sci-fi by sheer force of storytelling. Complete with space battles and pursuit for new worlds and ultimate-weaponry, Khan is pure enjoyment whether you see it for the first or hundredth time.
6. Forbidden Plant (1956)
No science fiction education could begin without Forbidden Planet. You have to watch it with un-jaded eyes and keep in mind that it was ground-breaking at its time, and set the bar for many firsts: first movie with an all-electronic music score, Robby the Robot was one of the first movie robots with a personality, and many credit Forbidden Planet as the first movie to be set on another planet.
5. Blade Runner (1982)
Based on the Philip K. Dick novel
- Do androids dream of electric sheep?
, Blade Runner actually makes the top 10 best films of all time. Visually awesome? Check. Essential to the development of cyber punk films? Yup. Set in an urban dystopia, this is science fiction noir at its best.
4. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Presented a few short years after the horrors of World War II, The Day the Earth Stood Still demonstrates the power of storytelling as political commentary. When a space ship lands on earth, a humanoid emerges on a goodwill mission to give the planet a haunting ultimatum. The original 1951 film was added to the National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, aesthetically significant”.
3. Firefly and Serenity
I’m cheating! Bundle the Firefly television series with its film continuation (Fox unwisely cancelled the series after one season, perhaps because they aired it out of order?) Serenity, and you have the most awesome-est marathon of space cowboy entertainment ever. Even without the unforgettable bluesy theme song and fight sequences, the fact that astronaut Steven Swanson flew the dvd of Serenity up to the International Space Station on the shuttle Atlantis secures Joss Whedon’s spot on this list. Sing it: ‘You can’t take the sky from me’
2. The Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The second Star Wars film released and the fifth in chronology of the story, The Empire Strikes Back is a space opera that tells an epic story with breath-taking pre-CGI effects. With Western themes, biblical references, and Luke Skywalker’s personal journey to face his own darkness, you have a quintessential saga that examines the nature of humanity.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Kubrick’s naturalistic portrayal of life in space as ordinary is disarming, until it spins you on your head. To say 2001 expanded the science fiction genre is a severe understatement. This film is a mystery at heart and full of firsts including (Spoiler Alert) the story of a computer losing its mind. Oh, Hal.