16 July 2009 | BaronBl00d
Do You Really Want Saturn' s Help after They Show You They Cannot Do Anything Right?
Foreward...In a film made decades ago a fearless fighter and his young protégé are out fighting evil in 1939 when their zeppelin lands and freezes in snow-covered mountains. There the two bodies rest in a state of suspended life due to a newly invented gas thus preserving life for centuries. in the 25th century these two bodies are found, life is restored, and Buck Rogers and his faithful sidekick Buddy wade join forces of the Hidden City as it fights for its life again the cruel killer wade and his evil forces of reckless racketeers. That is in a nutshell the premise behind this serial and its not entirely a bad one. The story definitely has some strong aspects to it and we get to see some inventive science fiction as well, but Buck Rogers is NOT Flash Gordon nor is it ever really close to that. First of all let's see what we do have in common: a basic story that pits the few good against the evil majority, a fearless, indestructible hero both played by Larry Buster Crabbe, an evil villain bent on world and extra-world domination, and cheesy special effects. The major differences are not so much in the story but in its execution. Flash Gordon was a big budget affair compared to this. Here the sets look so much cheaper and the effects so much, well...cheaper. The acting too is excruciatingly bad as Crabbe is one of the best actors in the film, and that isn't saying too much as he says lines looking like a silent screen actor arching eyebrows, etc... Jackie Moran is the most fun as his sidekick Buddy, but everyone else ranges from acceptable(C. Montague Shaw as Professor Huer to terrible Anthony Warde as Killer Kane to one of the worst acting performances seen in a long time - Philson Ahn as Prince Tallen - boy he could use some presence. I wanted to pinch him to see if was really alive. The direction is crisp and their is only minimal use of flashback sequences, but the musical soundtrack really bothered me as Franz Waxman's score from The Bride of Frankenstein was repeatedly used throughout and used to ill-effect very often. Don't get me wrong - Buck Rogers is a fun serial. It has some cool action scenes, an inviting story, and cheesy effects like the spaceships sputtering about like a listless firecracker, but it is in no way close to Crabbe's previous serial Flash Gordon - perhaps the greatest serial ever made. One other note: Constance Moore playing Wilma Deering has virtually no personality and, as far as I recollect, is the only female in the entire production. Interesting.