When I first saw the original teaser trailer for Iron Sky (2012) several months ago, I could not contain mein excitement. A sci-fi movie about a secret moon base full of Nazis? Ja! Ja, ja, ja! And even better was the fact that it looked great. It seemed by all accounts to be a legitimate and well-funded movie (about moon Nazis!!!)
After finally watching Iron Sky, I can unequivocally say that the teaser trailer was fantastic.
Iron Sky is a Finnish-German-Australian co-production that was partially crowdfunded, was filmed in English, and directed and co-written by the lead singer of a Finnish industrial-ambient-noise band. Yea. I didn’t know any of that beforehand.
Der movie opens with a pair of American astronauts discovering a secret moon base set up by a group of Nazis who fled the Earth in 1945. We soon learn that they have been hiding out on the dark side of the moon, building, plotting, stockpiling, and reproducing ever since.
Iron Sky is set in the year 2018, and the United States is being led by a president who for all intents and purposes is Sarah Palin. In a bid for re-election and to show that the USA is still capable of achieving awesome things, she sends a black guy to the moon. “Black to the moon? Yes she can!” is emblazoned on her campaign posters. It was at this point that I started to worry.
Der rest of the movie revolves around the lives of four main characters. The first is the aforementioned astronaut, James Washington, who spends the entire movie shucking and jiving in a Wayans-esque parody of an African-American man. His sad, clichéd dialogue is made worse by the actor’s completely horrible delivery.
We also follow the story of Renate Richter, an enthusiastic, misinformed, but well-meaning teacher of Earthology on the secret Nazi moon base. She’s played by German actress Julia Dietze who is easy on the eyes and does a surprisingly good job in her role.
We also have the Klaus Adler, our villain, an up and coming Nazi with his sights on the Führership and an invasion of Earth.
And there’s Vivian Wagner, the president’s PR mastermind whose passion for winning campaigns gets her entwined with the Nazis.
Eventually the Nazis get around to invading Earth. There’s some scheming, a secret super weapon, whiteface (yep), space battles, and a lot of wacky hilarity.
Der movie is an intended comedy. The humor relies on fairly accurate but stale and unoriginal pot shots at the United States. Oh, people think the US enjoys warmongering? They think we’re dumb, too? I hadn’t heard that. The writers had clearly just finished the Anti-American Joke Writing for Dummies book. Budget money well spent.
There are a few technology jokes, and your other basic people-from-another-era-thrust-into-modern-times-type gags (Look at this crazy phone thing!). There’s even a ridiculously outdated shoe-throwing reference. All of the jokes are painfully unfunny.
My only laugh during the film (more of an exasperated groan) came at the end during an obnoxiously heavy-handed finale that is so trite it must be seen to be believed. I can only imagine the director surveying the closing scenes with complete satisfaction that his razor sharp social critique had been made.
Der acting is abysmal. The thespians playing the president and her aide, do so with the skill of the finest softcore pornography actresses. Every scene with the two of them together felt like a prelude to some hot lovemaking that we’d never get to see. I can’t tell if they were acting terribly on purpose or not (my suspicions point to not). Either way the performances were neither funny nor enjoyable.
Der film does have some things going for it. The moon base, the costumes, the battle scenes, and the spaceships all look great. That is the exteriors of the ships look great. One interior scene looked like someone simultaneously sweding an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Xena: Warrior Princess.
Iron Sky was a frustrating disappointment. A really fun B-movie idea with a great A-movie aesthetic and a lifeless F-movie screenplay. Perhaps if the director played guitar in a Swedish funk-grunge-dubstep group, or perhaps if the writers had met a black person or were all native English speakers or had seen a comedy production made within the last 20 years, things would have been different and fantastic.
You know how long I’m gonna have to wait for another big budget secret Nazi moon base movie?!
Nein! Nein! Nein!