“Iron Sky is not a film for everyone, but if you are able to appreciate a science fiction satire that delves into politics, Nazism and some other uncomfortable areas, than I recommend giving it a try.”
Science Fiction, Action and Satire
Julia Dietze as Renate Richter, Götz Otto as Klaus Adler, Christopher Kirby as James Washington, Tilo Prückner as Doktor Richter, Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, Peta Sergeant as Vivian Wagner and Stephanie Paul as the President of the United States
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Writers: Johanna Sinisalo and Michael Kalesniko
Rated R for language and some violence
Runtime: 93 minutes
Satire is one of the most difficult of all genres to do well; even more so when combined with science fiction, horror or fantasy. Parody is another of my favorite sci-fi sub-genres and these are sometimes, but not always satirical in nature. Science Fiction has been the subject of satire for years now. Some of my favorites include: Dark Star (1974), Galaxina (1980), Night of the Comet (1984), Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004).Of all of these, Dark Star is the darkest in tone and I think Iron Sky falls nearly into this level of dark comedy as well.
Iron Sky starts out in the year 2018, with America’s return to a manned mission to the Moon. We find out that the mission is done only as a publicity stunt for the President of the United States' re-election campaign. The astronauts discover a hidden Moon base, but before they can radio back to Earth, they are shot down by Nazi soldiers. Only James Washington escapes into the hidden base, but eventually he is captured and taken to a scientist for interrogation. Doctor Richter finds Washington’s smart phone and he recognizes that it is a computer that can be used as a control unit for their Nazi space battleship Götterdämmerung. When Richter tries to demonstrate the cell phone’s power to the new Führer, Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, the battery runs dry. Nazi commander Klaus Adler, offers to go to Earth on a secret mission to collect more phones for the future invasion. Earth specialist Renate Richter, Doctor Richter's daughter, volunteers to go as well, but when she is not allowed to go, she sneaks on board anyway. Washington is experimented on by Richter and turned into the perfect Nazi, so that he will assist them on their mission to Earth.
Landing on Earth, Adler finds the president’s aid, Vivian Wagner, and forces her to take he and Richter to meet the President. Meanwhile, Washington escapes and attempts to warn NASA of the impending invasion of Nazi’s from the Moon, but they don't recognise him and thinks that he's crazy, so he ends up becoming homeless instead. Wagner uses Adler and Richter as faces for a revamp of the President's re-election campaign, which looks a lot like Nazism, but is disguised as benevolent socialism. Growing impatient after months of waiting, Kortzfleisch sends his armada to Earth orbit and begins the invasion without the Götterdämmerung.
Like much satire, Iron Sky isn’t a film that inspires large laugh-out-loud moments, but it more than makes up for it with clever satirical messages. While some of the satire is obvious, such as the Sarah Palin look-alike U.S. President, much of it breezes by so fast that even the jokes that don’t work are more than balanced by the ones that do. Some of my favorite moments are between Washington and Richter; especially after the African American Washington is transformed into a blond white Aryan, minus the Nazi idealism.
Where Iron Sky really excels is the amazing special effects and visualization of the retro Nazi technology. The Moon base, the space ships and even the costumes are all slightly modernized versions WWII era designs. The amount of detail that went into the look of Iron Sky is amazing and worth watching the film for this reason alone! Still, there is a fairly complex and compelling story here, so it’s not just ninety minutes of flashy CGI.
The acting for the film is also quite good. Julia Dietze as Renate Richter is both lovely and brilliant as the Nazi “Earth expert”, conveying a certain naiveté and courageous individualism both. Christopher Kirby as James Washington manages to pull off a black man as a white man, without insulting either race, but delicately satirizing the flaws of both. Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch is the most well-known actor of the cast and he grounds his character in a weird reality that manages to make the rest of cast seem even more outrageous by comparison. Stephanie Paul as the President of the United States is the weakest of the cast, as she plays her character too big to be either funny or satirical.
Iron Sky is produced by the makers of Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. It was produced by Tero Kaukomaa of Blind Spot Pictures and Energia Productions, co-produced by New Holland Pictures and 27 Films, and co-financed by numerous individual supporters through their web site. Director Timo Vuorensola, who also directed Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning (2005), does an admiral job of keeping everything from getting too silly and causing Iron Sky to go from satire into over-the-top parody. Samuli Torssonen, who was responsible for the computer generated effects in Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, gathered a young team of European CGI effects people, who stepped up the quality to the level of much more expensive Hollywood productions. The fantastic orchestral score of Iron Sky incorporates elements from the operatic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, music which was favored by the Nazi leaders and the Slovenian industrial music group Laibach also adds some cool futuristic music to the film.
Iron Sky is not a film for everyone, but if you are able to appreciate a science fiction satire that delves into politics, Nazism and some other uncomfortable areas, than I recommend giving it a try.
TECHNICAL: Acting – 8 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 8 Script – 9 Special Effects – 10
VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 8 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 10
TOTAL - 90