GeekDad Movie Viewing: Classic Sci-Fi Summer

Geek Culture

Summer vacation means that there is more time for movies with the kids. Here at GeekDad we bring up a lot of geeky TV but this summer, I am getting the full value out of my Netflix subscription and concocting a summer movie list of classic sci-fi to keep me, er, the kids, entertained. When I remember the movies on my list so far (some of which I haven’t seen in ages), I remember them being fairly benign and kid-friendly compared with today’s PG and PG-13 fare. They also reflect an older style of storytelling, one that builds action and character over time to develop dramatic impact instead of today’s blockbuster style of throwing it in your face all at once. Plus, the craftsmanship in sets, costumes, and effects are what inspired today’s generation of CGI renderers. (Is there any effects artist out there who doesn’t love Ray Harryhausen?) Hopefully the geeklings (9 and 5) will go for it. Read the list after the jump. What other movies should be on it?

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Our plan: to watch this 1959 special effects fest starting James Mason and Pat Boone and compare it with this summer’s special effects fest starting Brenden Fraser. This movie also spawned the Filmation animated series which used to get me all excited back in the day.


The Time Machine
This 1960 classic starring Rod Taylor got me all a-twitter whenever it came on the teevee when I was a young lad. The special effects are an admirable attempt at believability and the Morlocks used to scare the crap out of me.


Fantastic Voyage
Ok, I consider this to be a snoozer to be sure (even by 1966 standards), but the special effects are cool (winning an Oscar for such) and cutting edge for the time, as is the idea that people are swimming around inside a human body. Truly speaks to a generation eager for exploration.


Forbidden Planet
Released in 1956, and one of the first sci-fi flicks to feature cool gizmos and tech. And it gave us Robbie the Robot!


When Worlds Collide
This 1951 movie might be light on the action and could be too boring for the geeklets. But I loved the dramatic build and overall tension that fills the movie. Pretty good performances make the whole thing downright believable.


This Island Earth
Aliens, flying saucers, and stuff blowing up. The classic 1955 space alien monster flick that defined the cornball space adventure stereotype.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
What can be said. The story by Jules Verne, grandfather of all things steampunk, is brought to life in this 1954 film. Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre, James Mason, and the


The War of the Worlds
The original alien invasion story (1953). The Martian ships are still cool looking, even in today’s CGI universe. I always wished I had one of those extendable eyes.


H.G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon
As the original tagline says: H.G. Wells’ Astounding Adventure in Dynamation!  One of Ray Harryhausen’s monster fests (1964).

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