The Wednesday Review – Iron Sky (2012)

  • Director – Timo Vuorensla
  • Starring – Julia Dietze, Udo Kier, Gotz Otto
  • Writer – Johanna Sinisalo, Jarmo Puskala, Michael Kaleshike
  • Year – 2012
  • Length – 93 mins

In 1945 the Nazi’s went to the Moon.  In 2018 they are coming back.  This was the iconic tag line of Iron Sky, a sci-fi comedy which offers a slightly different theory as to what happened at the end of WWII.  In this version the defeated Nazis escaped in spaceships which had been stored in the Antarctic, and set up a Nazi base on the dark side of the moon.  Here the Nazis regrouped and began planning an invasion of Earth to begin in 2018.  Yes, quite.

Iron Sky began production in 2006 by a team of Finnish/German writers.  A hugely successful teaser trailer appeared in Cannes in 2008 and Iron Sky eventually got picked up and financed during Cannes 2010.  A digital comic prequel arrived in 2010 and the film finally hit theatres in Australia and Europe this month.   These Nazis have been a long time coming.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start, this is a truly stupid film.  Yes it is funny at times, but unfortunately it is not as clever as it thinks it is, and sadly, nor does it quite live up to the hype.

The main issue with the film is that after ten minutes or so it runs out of steam. Once you have had a few laughs at Nazis stomping about on the moon, it quickly starts to get a little tired.  The special effects (which you have to take with a large pinch of salt)  are just far too cheap and frankly look amateurish, so much so that they actually become quite a distraction.  I know there ware budget issues, but look at what Gareth Edwards did in Monsters.  He produced amazing quality effects, on his lap top, for less money.

The script feels extremely stretched, taking far too long getting to the invasion sequences, which is probably the film’s high point.  Prior to this, the plot centres on two undercover Nazis (Gotz Otto and Julia Dietze) who are forward deployed to Earth, tasked with making contact with the US President and then unleashing the Nazi fleet.  Whilst there are some funny moments, this whole section feels very drawn out and the weakness of the plot is paramount.  Our two Nazis find themselves in some frankly laughable situations, but mostly not laughable in a comedic way.  At times these situations are more akin to what you would find in a porn film (so I have been told……), but that may just have been my reaction to all the German accents and leather costumes.

However moving swiftly on…..once the invasion gets going, the film finally finds it feet.  The depiction of the United Nations Security Council, led by a Sarah Palin style US President (Stephanie Paul) who is in free fall in the polls and facing an imminent election, works quite well to start with.  The bickering between the countries is well scripted and indeed produces the film’s only real laugh out loud moment when the North Koreans chime in with their thoughts on the situation. This is priceless.  Watching the inevitable fight back is good enjoyable fun, essentially as by this point you have given up asking any serious questions, you are ignoring the black hole sized plot holes and you just want to watch the Nazis get a good kicking.

As the film stomps and salutes its way towards the end, the final reel is a little strange and feels really quite misjudged.  A film like this shouldn’t be trying to address modern-day social issues and this leaves a slight bad taste in the mouth as the credits roll.

There is no doubting the premise of this film was genius, the original teaser trailer was exceptional, going viral on the internet and producing money can’t buy publicity. However this did lead to significant levels of anticipation which no film could really live up to, well except maybe The Avengers.

But you have to take your hat off to the production team behind Iron Sky.  They toiled for years trying to raise the money to get it made, and they did. It is a film for sci-fi fans made and financed in part (10% of the budget came from fans) by real sci-fi fans. That on its own is a real achievement.    unfortunately the original idea doesn’t quite have the legs to stretch to a 90 min movie, but Iron Sky is still just about worth a watch for curiosity purposes only, but not really much more.

★★

Review by Will Malone

If you liked Iron Sky, then try Lockout