For those who don’t know, Iron Sky is a film that was made possible with a significant amount of crowd funding. Apparently around 10 per cent of the 7.5 million Euro budget was sourced from online fans, and if you’ve followed the production’s online presence in the past few years, you’ll know it’s been a labour of love. The results are rather mixed.
Iron Sky concerns itself with that Nazi moon base that WE ALL KNOW is on the dark side of Luna. I’m someone who likes my conspiracy theories as extreme as possible, so the ‘Nazis on the moon’ thing is up there with The Philadelphia Project, Vril Society and New Chronologies. In this movie, for the first time in decades, the Americans return to the moon, only to discover a huge lunar colony where everyone’s favourite villains have been preparing for their return to Earth.
On paper, this sounds fantastic. In practice, it’s disappointing. What promises to be a ridiculous B-grade sci-fi romp ends up aiming for thought-provoking satire. I went in expecting Dead Snow, but what I got was an attempt at Dr. Strangelove. This variation in tone simply does not work. The funny bits aren’t funny enough, and the serious moments just feel… kind of shallow.
The visual effects are wonderful. A huge portion of the film was shot in front of a green screen (in Australia) and the digital sets look fantastic. The costumes and the practical parts of the set look great also. In fact, I have no problem with the production values whatsoever. In a stroke of genius, the soundtrack is provided by Laibach, a band who have long known how to confuse the general public with their deliberately confusing (mis)appropriation of fascism, nationalism and Nazi aesthetics.
Udo Kier – owner of the film industry’s scariest eyes – is in attendance, though he doesn’t achieve anything particularly special. Julia Dietze effectively plays the Nazi with a heart of gold, Stephanie Paul is the President of the USA (aka Sarah Palin), whilst Christopher Kirby plays astronaut James Washington, the only character that seems to embrace the true b-grade spirit of the film’s premise.
I was really surprised by Iron Sky’s strangely schizophrenic tone. Where it should have gone for out-and-out idiotic sci-fi exploitation madness, it instead wavers between crappy comedy and not-so-effective satire. There are moments – mere glimmers – of what could have been, and the production values are impressive considering its genesis, but this film is simply a passable distraction rather than anything particularly memorable.Rating: