Iron Sky


Written by Robert W. Monk
20 Sunday 20th May 2012

Well, they have – and it's finally here. In a happy ending for Internet marketers everywhere, the result is a genuine success story, for what is, after all, a small movie with a tighter-than-tight budget. But while the budget was necessarily low, the concept is unmistakably high.

For the benefit of the uninitiated, the plot outline is set at the end of WWII, following various high-ranking Nazi officials setting up a well-equipped (and very smartly polished and decked-out) base on the moon. Jump forward to 2018, and NASA's first landing on the moon for decades leaves black American astronaut James Washington (a charismatic and amusing Christopher Kirby) on the rock at the mercy of the followers of the so called 'Fourth Reich'. The Nazi big guns, including Moon Führer Wolfgang Kortzfleiche (aka the magnificent Udo Kier, camping it up as ever), and protégé-turned-rival Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) are dead set on the idea of invading Earth. Taking Washington's surprise visit as an act of aggression, they prepare their forces for attack...

Featuring a string of strong performances, ranging from Kirby's punchy turn as Washington to Stephanie Paul's thinly-veiled 'tribute' to Sarah Palin as the President of the United States, Iron Sky is an engaging slice of B-movie action, with plenty to recommend it. Somewhat surprising then that the movie has attracted some barbed criticism, which to my mind seems unwarranted. Taken as a not-entirely-serious Saturday night popcorn flick, the film scores highly for laughs, shocks and surprisingly well-realised special effects. Given that the movie was funded by charitable donations, this is all the more impressive.

Let's face it: academically insightful historical and political analogy probably is not top of the priorities for a movie about Nazis on the moon, and nor should it be. Rather, it's a glossy sci-fi action film, with more than enough to keep the fan-boys and girls happy for the length of its lean 93 minutes.

A stirring and unobtrusive soundtrack from the Slovenian art-industrial band Laibach keeps things moving along at a steady pace, and certainly fits the militaristic mood very well. This, along with sharp and snappy dialogue such as: "The world is sick, we are the doctors", pushes the story along smoothly.

If the movie falters a little in the second act when the action moves to Earth, it quickly recovers for an explosive, rousing grand finale, which satisfies all expectations.

Recalling elements of previous examples of sci-fi parody Starship Troopers and Mars Attacks, Iron Sky ultimately succeeds in what it sets out to do very well. As a clever spin on the invasion of Earth theme, it is a well-executed and amusing take on familiar territory for geeks of all ages. True – not all the gags come off, and Julia Dietze's Renate (the Nazi who develops a conscience), despite a solid performance is not a sufficiently rounded character. However, when the jokes do hit their mark, it's a very funny movie indeed, with many more hits than there are misses.

Overall, Iron Sky is a confident and lively film which manages to transcend its exciting yet humble origins, and put in an interstellar performance of attractive, camp good times. If you are after a movie with thrills, spills and sharply-pressed uniforms, then this is the movie for you. If approached with an open and receptive frame of mind, it is an Earth-shaking slice of entertainment. Alright, so it isn't going to change the world (or indeed, end it), but as a neat, clever/dumb chunk of fun, it doesn't disappoint. Also, just as a heads up – be sure to hang around for the end of the closing credits. Jus' sayin'.

Iron Sky is out in cinemas on 23rd May and on DVD and Blu Ray 28th May.

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