James Washington (Christopher Kirby) is a fashion model who’s sent to the Moon as part of the President’s (Stephanie Paul) campaign for re-election. When he stumbles across a secret Nazi base, he is captured and subjected to experimentation by Klaus Adler (Gotz Otto), a high ranking Officer who is looking to become the head of the force, usurping current leader Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Udo Kier). Washington has to try and stop the Nazi’s and their evil plans to conquer the Earth, finding help in the form Renate Richter (Julia Dietze) a Nazi who starts to see that her worldview may not be correct.
Iron Sky has been around for ages. Not in the Cabin In The Woods sense of the word where it was made years ago but only released now because of financial problems, nor like the myriad films which sit on the shelf for being generally shit. In the case of Iron Sky, promotional material marketing the film in an effort to attract investment has been hanging around on YouTube for ages, indeed Mark Kermode has mentioned the film sporadically for years. Finally getting the money needed to make the thing and judging by the opening, from a great many different sources, the proof is now solely in the pudding. The prospect of Iron Sky is indeed a tantilising one for those so-inclined, and you’ll know if you’re one of them if the excellent tagline “In 1945, the Nazis escaped to the Moon. This year, they’re coming back” it’s something which fills your heart with glee at all the possibilities which could be afforded from this. Thankfully for the most part, the film plays its part in living up (or down) to your expectations.
The major success of Iron Sky is something which may sound obvious, but the film for the vast majority of the runtime knows exactly what it is. A film about Space Nazis was always going to need a sense of humour about it and Iron Sky has certainly got that. While there’s a fair bit which doesn’t work, the fact that the film doesn’t really try to be anything other than what it is is a relief. Some have criticised the portrayal of a Sarah Palin-alike figure in the narrative, with people saying that the reference is dated and a bit desperate. In all honesty, I would disagree as she is only a cog in a machine and while yes, the character is obviously just playing on a version of Palin and nothing else, it’s not like the film is trying to say anything particularly biting about her. It’s just taking the piss which, to be honest, the entire film is and that’s what makes it fun. In my view, it would take a hard heart to not enjoy the Palin figure making things worse at pretty much every turn and while there’s a sense of lameness to it, I would argue that this is known and played up to. The almost custard pie flinging tone the film gets into at times is only really ruined by a final couple of minutes which seeks to try and suddenly give us a message to take away. This did leave it on a jarring note which felt rather odd compared to what was seen before, though its decision to focus on the ills of not just America was something I certainly appreciated, showing just a touch of subtlety in a film which thrills in poking fun at the American way.
It’s also nice to see that the long wait to get together a production budget was worth it for the most part. There are moments of unbalance with the CG every now and then but it really is worth pointing out just how impressive Iron Sky looks based on a reported production budget of 7.5 million Euros, with an impressive sense of scale lent to the space based scenes and while there’s obviously a fair bit of greenscreen work, the production design and cinematography help in making the visuals feel more than the sum of their parts. The film overall feels “large” enough to be worth a look on the big screen and just about levels out the admittedly poor acting from much of the cast, though Gotz Otto gets his teeth around a hammy part with a fair amount of aplomb and does well at playing a fairly stock evil Nazi, and it’s always fun to see Udo Kier turn up in fare like this even if you can virtually see the dollar signs in his eyes
This could also make a bit of a name for director Timo Vuorensola who manages to pull together a paciness which many comparable DTV-ish directors could learn from. The film is perfectly timed at around 90 minutes and never feels like it’s particularly dragging, something you’d hope to not happen with SPACE NAZIS!!!!! but pleasing to report nonetheless.
There’s a fair bit wrong with Iron Sky, but for me, this is negated by a huge sense of fun which proved to be rather infectious. It’s not a classic and maybe not quite the film you really want it to be, but it’s funny, entertaining and more than worth a watch on the big screen.