Science fiction explores the endless possibilities that future advances in science and technology could create. The genre has existed for decades and contains several sub-genres and themes, including space travel, time travel, and dystopic futures. Though scores of films explore the genre, several science fiction classics still enthral fans and make a worthy addition to any classic DVD collection.
Created by Gene Roddenberry, who credits the 1956 classic "Forbidden Planet" as one of his inspirations, "Star Trek" follows the crew of the starship Enterprise as they explore the galaxy and defend the United Federation of Planets from a number of threats. The films feature space travel, contact with alien species, and explore the negative impact of human technological progress. Set in the 23rd century, it is a good example of science fiction inspiring innovation. For example, handheld communication devices in "Star Trek" inspired modern innovations, including the mobile phone. Paramount Pictures released the original six Star Trek feature films—featuring William Shatner as Captain James Kirk, and Leonard Nimoy as Spock—from 1979 to 1991, all available on individual DVDs or as part of a box set.
"Planet of the Apes"
Starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Maurice Evans, the original "Planet of the Apes" is a 1968 film based on the story by Pierre Boulle. The movie tells the tale of a group of astronauts who land on a strange planet. They discover a society where apes have human-level intelligence and speech, while humans are mute animal-like creatures. Through a series of adventures, the crew finally discover that they have landed on post-apocalyptic Earth in the future, not on an alien planet. Critically acclaimed, the original "Planet of the Apes" is one of the films selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Four sequels followed the original: "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" (1970), "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" (1971), "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (1972), and "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" (1973).
The Alien quadrilogy, starring Sigourney Weaver as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, is a classic example of science fiction horror. "Alien", the first film in the series, follows the crew of the commercial spaceship Nostromo as they explore a strange signal from an alien spacecraft. A creature attacks one of the crew members, then finds its way to the Nostromo and starts hunting the crew one by one. The film received an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and in 2008, the American Film Institute ranked it the 70th best science fiction film. "Alien" is available as an individual DVD or as part of the Alien Quadrilogy DVD box set.