Since magician Georges Millies created science fiction's first manifestation on-screen in 1902, sci-fi filmmaking has come a long way. A Trip to the Moon, a 30-minute silent film in black and white, captured movie-goers' imagination and began what would become one of the silver screen's most popular genres "even if some of the movies associated with it didn't always meet some peoples' standards of true science fiction.
During the silent era, novel adaptations abounded. Following Shelley's Frankenstein, there was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, and Vern's 2000 Leagues Under the Sea, among others. They were aptly made for the time and served as references for later remakes. Evidentially the most noteworthy movie of the era, Fritz Lang's Metropolis came to Germany with impressive special effects and direction and later spread throughout Europe and to North America.
The invention of sound in films lent sci-fi a new sense through which it could bring us new wonders. Things to Come, H.G. Wells' adaptation of his own 1933 essay, The Shape of Things to Come was an awe-inspiring chronicle of 94 years of human-kind's future, accompanied by a grandiose musical score and ground-breaking special effects. Much of it was a grim forerunner of the Second World War, which would come some years later.
During World War II there was little desire to see any more of what technology could do, and true science fiction was replaced with the likes of Flash Gordon, a campy film series derived from the comic book of the same name. The 1940's brought Dr. Cyclops a tale of a mad scientist who shrinks human beings through science. The scientific value of the film may have been obliterated by later explorations into shrinking living tissue, it was a sound sci-fi thriller, one of the first to the shown in Technicolor. Unfortunately though, it was to be the first and only good science fiction film of the decade.