Movie Review: “Iron Sky”—You don’t know the power of the dark side…of the moon

Written by Brent Holmes June 05, 2012

Warning: This review does contain minor spoilers.

 

“Iron Sky” is similar to “Osombie” in the preposterous nature of its premise. Over 60 years before Newt Gingrich could dream of a moon colony, the Nazis established a base on the dark side of the moon through which they intend to invade the Earth. After an African-American astronaut discovers the base, the board is set for a meteorkrieg. Unlike “Osombie”, “Iron Sky” is a completely ridiculous, but hilarious film that provides a satirical look at how the 21st century handles war.

Yes she can

“Iron Sky” is set in some kind of alternate reality. The President of the United States (Stephanie Paul) is a southern Sarah Palin seeking re-election as her first term is drawing to a close. Presumably this is some kind of alternate history where John McCain won the election and then immediately died in the horror of realising that Palin could be the next President.

As a part of her campaign strategy, she sends James Washington (Christopher Kirby) to the moon to support her “Black to the Moon” campaign, as well as hunt for a valuable resource called Helium 3. When Washington stumbles upon the Nazi base and the Nazis destroy New York (proving that even Moon Nazis have no originality). The President is ecstatic as she believes that a President who starts a war will get elected for a second term.

Hitler finds out about the base on the moon

However, much of the plot is not focused open the war-mongering President Palin 2.0. Most of the film follows four individuals focused on manipulating the revelation of the Nazi moon base.

Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) sees the arrival of Washington as an opportunity to seize control of Nazi Moonany and invade Earth. Schoolteacher Renate Richter sees hope to establish long lost contact with the rest of humanity. Vivian Wanger wants to use the arrival of the Nazis as a means to accelerate the President’s election campaign. Meanwhile, James Washington struggles to return to the Earth after the Nazis change his skin colour to make him Aryan. (Sadly, no Michael Jackson jokes are made during the course of this film.)

Holy Moon Nazis, Batman!

Unfortunately, much of the film is hard to follow. Wagner manipulates the Nazi visitors to help develop a campaign for President Pitbull. She is somehow unaware of the serious nature of the Moon Nazis and her relationship with Adler is bizarre and unresolved. Save for a hilarious parody scene, Wagner is frustrating and confusing.

Adler’s plan to take over as Furher makes about as much sense as Emperor Palpatine’s plan to wipe out the Jedi in the prequel trilogies. But like how President Palin seems to handle everything, the priorities in this film are shoot first and ask questions never!

The timeline for events is confusing, an arbitrary jump three months ahead raises many questions about where the characters are and what they are doing. Characters act in often bizarre ways and the plot is a mess.

 

Mein Führer! I can walk!

“Iron Sky” is complete through a series of hilarious intertextual references. In Wagner’s opening scene, she parodies the infamous scene from “Der Untergang” where Hitler laments to his highest-ranking officers losing the war, his X-Box Live Account, the ending of episode 9 of “A Game of Thrones”, and Facebook Timeline. References to Charlie Chaplin and Dr. Strangelove provide other surprisingly high-brow moments of comedic parody.

Like “The Simpsons”, “Iron Sky” is a film where a lot of the jokes are hidden in the background. Not even the Gestapo could find all of the hilarious asides and witty references within “Iron Sky.”

Saving Private Red Shirt

This Finnish/German/Australian film directed by Timo Vuorensola has surprisingly well-done special effects. Rarely would a film of this nature have such a wide array of over-the-top battle sequences to feature, but “Iron Sky” manages to make a visually impressive film with what seems to be a minimal budget.

 

Warring with Americans

What makes “Iron Sky” smart is the fact that its ending provides a bit of a critical approach to the American understanding of World War II. Here, there is a recognition of how in the American cinema, the Nazis come to represent nothing more than a entertaining idea for video games and movies: token bad guys with amusing accents and good fashion sense for the Yankee heroes to find glory in blowing up and then going home with no consequences.

“Iron Sky” almost makes the viewer wonder if modern American society is any less fascist as the pseudo-antagonist Moon Nazis. Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” played off of this idea too, but while “Basterds” was a smart movie poking fun at multiple cinema’s approaches to World War II, “Iron Sky” is an outright stupid movie that is often smarter than one expects. While its plot and characters are weak, Iron Sky has many surprisingly witty moments that make it worth a look.

 My Rating: 7/10

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About Brent Holmes

Brent Holmes is a Film Studies and English Major attending Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario where he is working towards a PhD in Film Studies. He currently writes for We Eat Films and The Western Gazette (on the latter, he serves as Arts & Life editor).

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