- Flight of the Navigator
This great story is fairly timeless. The family in the series is very much like any family now a-day, but it's set back in the 80s. It shows the story of a kid who is taken by an alien space-craft (that is run by an artificial intelligence) and when he was traveling he somehow absorbed all of the ship's AI for navigation, making him the Navigator. The ship, not wanting to endanger the kid, tries to take him back home after scanning his brain patterns and getting it's maps back... along with 12 years of 70s and 80s pop-cultre. It's a great movie for kids to see and for parents to get re-aquainted with.
- Ghost Busters
This one is sneaky because there is so much action that a lot of kids will really get into it. It's about a trio of scientists who are studying paranormal activity when their grant is revoked. They end up taking their research and put it to use by starting a business where they catch ghosts for the citizens of New York. They end up realizing that the activity is a bit extreme and get to fight a 300' Marshmallow Man. Total classic.
- The Last Starfighter
Growing up, this was my favorite Sci-Fi movie. I must have watched this at least once a day for four months (with a bit of Roger Rabbit thrown in for good measure). It's about a kid growing up in a Trailer Park and his only escape from his horrible life is to play a video game at the park's diner. After he beats the game he gets thrown into space where he gets to play the game again, but this time, it's real. Fantastic movie, especially once your kids are already into Sci-Fi a bit.
I almost didn't put Tron into this list because it's a bit too violent, but then I added in Star Wars and a few others and realized that it's perfectly fine. This is also a great movie to start your kids on getting interested in visual graphics and effects. Letting them know that this was made before simple effects were available and that they had to hand-draw those lines into the suits will let your kids really appreciate a few things about the evolution of that technology... and it's a totaly rad movie, too!
- Star Wars (Original Trillogy)
Even though the New Trillogy is more kid friendly, try to show them the original trillogy first. It really sets the mood a bit better and lets your kids experience the series the way it was intended to be seen, completely out of order. But all that aside, it's a fantastic series of movies, and even if your kids like the Ewoks a bit too much, the important thing is that THEY LIKE STARWARS!
The changes that were done to this movie weren't all THAT bad, but if you can get your hands on an original version... all the better . It's a great movie that teaches kids about acceptance and is also a really great film. This is another one of those ones that I watched dozens of times... but I think my mom edited the movie, because I never remembered the whole scene with ET dieing and then coming back to life... very odd that that was edited out of my memory... Sneaky moms.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Another great "First Sci-Fi" kind of movie, this one is sneaky, because you are so interested in the story that you don't realize that it's Sci-Fi. But when you think about it a bit, you realize that the whole story is fantasticly of that genre more than any other. A machine that shrinks anything in it's beam, a giant ant that is used as a mount (with a bit of Oreo as a lure), a scene with a huge Scorpion that attacks everyone, the whole thing is just PACKED with great scenes that any kid could get into.
- Back to the Future
It's amazing that kids now-a-day like this movie. It's an old movie, about going even further back in time, and then they come forward to a point that we were promised, but never got delivered Be that as it may, it's still a fantastic series, and even if they just see the first movie, it's more than enough for them to really love this time-traveling classic.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
While they strayed WAY off of the book's formula, they still got the message of this movie across. Don't Panic. Also, kids will totally LOVE Marvin since he's so dang cute and cuddly and depressed. Not to forget to mention that your little boy nerds in training will get to take a gander at Trillian. Va-va-va-Voom!
- The Wizard of Oz / Return to Oz
While the original movie is a bit more of a Fantasy, the second movie is definately a Sci-Fi genre. It's very odd and strange, but if you can get into the movie it's really fantastic. I still remember being afraid of the Wheelers in the second movie and getting all excited when the troops surrounded Dorothy in the first. Fantastic series that will lock them in young.