BUCK ROGERS - AMC Carrollton, Andrews, Columbia, Crofton Cinema, Fairfax Circle, Hybla Twin, Jerry Lewis Cinema, K-B Studio, Rockville Mall, Roth's Montgomery and Springfield Mall.
Somewhere between "Star Wars" and "Superman" comes the modestly amusing film "Buck Rogers," which takes the old science-fiction comic character into the 25th century.
The charm of this film is its view of the future, which other such pictures, including those two big hit, have always pictured as mean, pompous, antiseptic, humorless and literally colorless. Buildings and clothes are always white in the standard futuristic future.
But when Buck Rogers, as an astronaut who was accidentally frozen in space for 500 years, returns to post-Holocaust earth, he finds traces of the jumbled human mishmash we can recognize.
There are difference. The surviving military base is under the command of a woman, Co. Wilma Deering, who looks like a Clinique advertisement but has Buck arrested when he attempts to josh her in spite of their difference of rank. Her sense of priorities is familiar: She thinks nothing of gunning down starving refugees who lurk in the ruins of Chicago, when they threaten military equipment.
Although radiation has wiped out the entire earth's agriculture and interplanetary trade is destroyed by pirates, diplomatic entertaining remains lavish and colorful. Dress uniforms and ball costumes show traces of Elizabethan, Revolutionary and Honky-Tonk periods.
History is still apparently being neglected in the school system. Buck Rogers has at least heard of the Trojan Horse, but Col. Deering, who hasn't, is condemned to repeat the Trojans' mistake.
And we have finally gotten efficient-looking rapid transit in the cities, even if t e cities are no longer there.
The villains are familar, too, in a secondhand sort of way. They are the comic-strip view of the Orient, complete with hissing nosies when they get mad, and carnival taste in clothes, furnishings and level of truth-telling.
From "Star Wars" comes the inevitable lovable robot, now with two personalities, occasionally differing in opinion, and from "Superman" there is Gil Gerard's characterization of Buck as a sweelty naive and wellmeaning hero. Neither of them is anything outstanding, but they are so cheerful that they make it pleasant to get back to the good old future we used to have. CAPTION: Picture, GIL GERARD AS ASTRONAUT BUCK ROGERS, WHO LANDS IN THE 25TH CENTURY BY ACCIDENT.