In 1987, Captain William "Buck" Rogers pilots his space shuttle Ranger 3 on a mission but a meteor storm freezes him into an orbit that returns him to Earth - 500 years later. In 2491, his shuttle is found and captured by the Draconian flagship, under the command of Princess Ardala and her second-in-command Kane. Reviving him, they return him to Earth after secretly planting a homing beacon aboard his shuttle to track a path through Earth's defense barrier. Buck is under arrest and learns that Earth has been rebuilt over the centuries in his absence following a nuclear holocaust. Buck Rogers must adjust to the 25th century, and convince the Terrans that the Draconians are secretly planning to conquer Earth. Written by
David Thiel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original script contained a subplot in which Counselor Apol - the chief prosecuting computer at Buck's trial - is discovered to be in league with Princess Ardala. See more »
While Colonel Wilma Deering is saving Buck Rogers from the Draconian flagship, the left side of her flight helmet reads "Cool Deering" in one shot and is blank in all the rest. See more »
[voiceover during narration]
In the year 1987, at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, NASA launched the last of America's deep space probes. The payload, perched on the nose cone of the massive rocket, was a one-man exploration vessel - Ranger 3. Aboard this compact starship, a lone astronaut - Captain William "Buck" Rogers - was to experience cosmic forces beyond all comprehension. An awesome brush with death: in the blink of an eye, his life support systems were frozen by ...
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Erin Gray and Pamela Hensley appear as "dream girls" along side their names in the original (theatrical) credits. See more »
Buck Rogers. The name conjures up memories of a by-gone era, two eras in fact. Buck was the hero of one of the earliest and most popular science fiction comic strips. He was also the hero of this post-Star Wars 70's film. In the former, Buck had been trapped in a cave-in, where strange gases put him to sleep, to finally wake in the 25th Century. In the latter, Buck is an astronaut who, due to an accident, is adrift, in suspended animation, to later arrive back on Earth, in the 25th Century. In both, Buck becomes a hero and savior of the Earth.
I first saw this movie in the theater. At the time, my friends and I clamored for anything remotely sci-fi; especially after the success of Star Wars. Unfortunately, that was a pretty mixed bag. For every Alien, there was a Battle Beyond the Stars. Others were a bit uneven; like Star Trek TMP, and this film.
The effects were fine, for the time period, but can't hold a candle to today's CGI, or even ILM's work of the era. The designs were interesting, if a little too pristine. The antiseptic look of Earth was a bit bland; the Draconian ship had far more character. The costumes were typical of a Glen Larson show; disco inspired and not very functional. I never liked the Earth flight suits, although the dress uniform at least looked military. Princess Ardala's costumes, though, were quite interesting (what there was of them, yowza!).
Gil Gerard was likeable as Buck; a cocky, confident hero. He was athletic enough to carry the fight scenes, but not so much that he never seemed in danger. Erin Gray was a tad subdued here; thankfully, her role was expanded in the later series. Pamela Hensley was a very steamy and sultry Ardala. Henry Silva, well, he was a bit stiff. Michael Ansara made a better Kane in the series.
The film has a few slow moments; but, for the most part, it's quite entertaining. The space scenes were good for their time, although marred by the use of stock footage. The disco music sucked even then. As Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars showed, a more classical, symphonic sound far better suited space opera. The only real complaint I had, at the time, was the abrupt change in Tigerman. One moment he is Duke Butler. Suddenly, at the end, it's Hard Boiled Haggarty! Hunh?!? Still, it's a minor quibble.
The film is an entertaining piece of 70's sci-fi and an enjoyable space opera. Compared to other Star Wars knock-offs of the era, it's practically 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, how about a DVD with a commentary track from the actors?
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