It’s 2018 and American astronauts, along with black male model James Washington, have just landed on the moon only to discover a secret Nazi colony which has been in operation since 1945 with plans to return to earth and take over the world. This is the premise of Iron Sky, a dark comedy sci-fi directed by Timo Vuorensola and starring Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby, and Götz Otto.
Yes, Iron Sky is a rather silly film, but that is exactly the point. It’s rife with bad jokes and multiple levels of unlikely plots (not even including Nazi colonies on the moon), but this movie is still a whole lot of fun and for such a small scale production it has some astoundingly good special effects.
Iron Sky is an absurd premise played out well. It has some brutal violence which should please Grindhouse and exploitation fans, and suits the flippant tone of the whole film. There’s nothing to be faulted with the acting – Dietze’s character, Renate Richter is the most entertaining as the Nazi idealist with dreams of peace and unity, completely unaware of the true history of World War II.
The film takes a lot of its humour from crass stereotyping of Nazi Germany and Germany in general which does sit a little uncomfortably at times. It isn’t only Germans at the end of the jokes, America gets more than its fair share of ridicule, as does North Korea. Racial and cultural stereotyping here is played for laughs, and it does occasionally get them, though most of them come from the Sarah Palin type character playing the U.S President who has sent a black model to the moon as part of her re-election campaign. Besides these rather awkward attempts at satirical humour, Iron Sky does have enough legitimate comedy to make it far less cringe worthy than it could have been.
The script is a little clumsy at times which makes me think it was put together quickly and perhaps with some more careful writing, this could have been worthy of the cult status it seems to be aiming for. And who knows, it still might do so in the DVD and BluRay markets.
What is most interesting about Iron Sky is its production background. It’s a Finnish, German and Australian production, with a large portion of the film being made on Australia’s Gold Coast. Iron Sky is also an on-line community collaboration, with film fans all over the world contributing to the conception, financing and promotion of all aspects of the film. The Iron Sky press release indicates that from the total budget of around 7.5 million Euro, 1 million of that was raised from the online fan community. Fans were also able to contribute ideas for the film through wreckamovie.com. Perhaps it is this collaborative effort that left the script feeling a little blundering and really not as good as it could nor should have been.
For a web fuelled, largely independent release, Iron Sky looks a whole lot better than a lot of Hollywood blockbusters. The outer space action scenes are beautifully rendered without the curse of Too Much Digital Effect, and a sci-fi fan could happily watch this movie for the visuals alone.
Iron Sky is not going to be a classic sci-fi or comedy, but it has certainly played its social media platform to its fullest advantage so the film is automatically in cult territory. It’s not going to please everyone, and a mixed critical reception says it has already annoyed more than a few. Don’t come to this movie looking for something serious or even plausible, and you shouldn’t be disappointed. Come looking for goofball fun and lame jokes, with awesome sci-fi effects and you should be a happy viewer.