Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Iron Sky (2012): Review

Iron Sky is a 2012 Finnish nazisploitation film. Directed by Timo Vuorensola starring Julia Dietze, Gotz Otto (Downfall, Schindler's List) and Udo Keir (anything requiring a maniacal German). Production on the film first began in 2006 however it took six years for the film makers to secure the necessary funds to complete the film.

The now rather infamous plot of Iron Sky is that in 1945 the Nazis fled to the moon and have been regrouping and developing WMDs ever since. This is discovered when an American shuttle is sent to the moon featuring black astronaut James Washington as part of a PR stunt by the US president (aka Sarah Palin). After the Nazis capture Washington they discover that his smartphone holds the necessary technology in order to program their rockets and airships and finally mount their invasion of earth, this is spearheaded by ambitious general Klaus Adler (Otto) who is looking to usurp current Fuhrer Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Keir). After turning Washington into an albino, Adler returns to earth along with sympathetic love interest Renate (Dietze) to set up the invasion, however, his ambitions are soon discovered by Wolfgang who is killed and succeeded by Adler. Renate soon realises the error of her ways and along with Washington set about stopping Adler and saving the planet from the moon Nazi invasion.

In case you hadn't guessed Iron Sky is an exploitation movie through and through; over the top, tasteless and silly. However I often felt that the tone veered into goofy slapstick comedy instead of sticking with the more appropriate nazisploitation elements. The best scenes in the movie occur on the swastika shaped moon base where the Nazis have lived and plotted for decades, unfortunately the film does suffer during the scenes set on earth featuring the President and her henchwoman Vivian Wagner. The dialogue is cringe worthy, goofy and a parody of Sarah Palin at this point feels really overdone and passe. The film also walks a very fine line in terms of racial sensitivity with the Washington sub plot, if the movie had committed to an overall exploitation tone this would have worked however in the context of a more straight forward comedy film this type of sub-plot does feel offensive at times.

The film's saving grace is it's special effects, which presumably was the reason why it was in production for so long. The CGI effects are blended seamlessly into the film in a way rarely seen in an independent b-movie and the film works best when it's aiming for big scale sci-fi action. The climactic space battle is a deliberate and very effective aping of the Star Wars films and is hugely enjoyable as you watch the giant metal zeppelins release droves of fighter spaceships and the Nazis launch their giant mechanical weapon to destroy the Earth. Another really nice touch was the school lessons taking place  on the moon in which young Nazis would be shown Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, but only the first 5 mins to avoid them noticing that it was in fact a satire on Hitler.

Iron Sky is an enjoyable movie and for the most part is a funny comedy action piece, however, far too many of the jokes fall flat and the action lags for long periods. Worth checking out if you're a fan of exploitation revival however there are much better films out there and Iron Sky ultimately fails to live up to it's festival buzz.

3 Stars ***

What did you think of the film? Was it too silly or not silly enough?


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