Buck Rogers in the 25th Century -- though designed as a TV series -- actually had its premiere in American movie theaters on March 30th, 1979.
The film, originally a pilot called "Awakening" quickly provided a remarkable return on Universal’s investment. It was produced for a little over three million dollars (or one-third of Star Wars’ budget, essentially, in 1977) and the movie grossed over twenty-one million dollars in American theaters alone.
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Other moments are more clumsily folded into the narrative than the enjoyable Bondian-opening. Late in the film, aboard the Draconia, for instance, Ardala declares she wants Buck to take her father’s “seat” on the throne. Suddenly, the film cuts to a shot of Buck -- obviously shot at some later date, on a different set -- declaring that her father’s “seat” is the furthest thing from his mind (implying it’s her seat – her buttocks – that interests him).
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It’s all a little bit…incoherent. Yet the film gets away with it because, again, of the James Bond comparison. We all know that James Bond is irresistible to all women, best in a fight or shoot-out, and supreme exemplar of style and taste. Nobody does it better, right? Here, Buck Rogers seems to have the same magic touch. We accept the premise, in short, because we recognize it from that other franchise.
|Pamela Hensley as Princess Ardala|