If that phrase puts you in the mind of Gil Gerard, Erin Gray and lots of "Star Wars"-derived FX, you already know where a movie like "Buck Rogers" is coming from.
If not, then let me enlighten you.
Most everyone familiar with sci-fi know Buck's story (frozen astronaut from 20th century is revived in the 25th century, must learn to re-adapt). This was old news as far back as the '40s.
But in the '70s...well.... Let's just say that it looks new. For the '70s.
Gil is game as Buck, shooting laser guns and cracking wise and making a good space-age hero. And Gray's Wilma Deering is both stern and soft as the Earth's military leader. Felix Silla makes a good impression as Twiki (with a more-than-equal assist from Mel Blanc's voice wizardry) and as Princess Ardala, Hensley gives what must be the most sensual performance from an alien up to that point in time.
But the special effects are clearly from the '70s, as is the music (disco music in the 25th century? Someone must have unearthed Studio 54.) and the set design: its glittery, shiny look may have been futuristic then, but now it just looks more '70s than anything else.
Yes, it's a dated future.
But is it entertaining?
Pretty much. No one went into this thinking they were making "2001", but are spots here and there where it looks like everyone was having a good time with the material. Especially Gil, who just plain has fun with his role as the 25th century's loosest guy.
Too bad they cut out Wiseman's work as King Draco. Some of his best stuff since "Dr. No".
Six stars. Here's to futures past.
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