Twitter Plot Summary: The Nazis have been hiding on the dark side of the Moon for 70 years. Now they are returning to have their revenge!
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Key Cast: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby, Götz Otto, Udo Kier, Peta Sergeant, Stephanie Paul.
Five Point Summary:
1. Nazis on the Moon! Genius!
2. Udo Kier! YES!
3. You’ll believe they can make a black man white. Kind of.
4. I like the uniform/outfit designs. Very pulp.
5. Well that was a wasted opportunity.
There’s a great idea lying at the core of Iron Sky, which if pulled off correctly would have made this an essential cult classic. As it is, that initial great idea is lost somewhere along the way, most likely for budgetary reasons. That great idea – after the war ended in 1945 a group of Nazis escape into space and hide on the dark side of the Moon. There, in a moon base that’s shaped like a swastika (just because they can), they build their “perfect” Aryan society and plot their revenge against the world. The story originated from the dream of writer Jarmo Puskala, which appears to be only one of two credits he has on IMDB at the time of writing. Make of that what you will, but seeing as the script calls for a wisecracking black astronaut (Christopher Kirby) to be converted into a white man and indoctrinated to believe in the Nazi cause – all using questionable science, no less – it’s obvious that the script was written following a fevered cheese dream.
Many were initially sold on the pre-release trailer, which made the film look like it would be the cult film to end all cult films. Nazis on the moon, how can it go wrong? The lesson learned here – don’t pay attention to the trailer. Trailers either lie blatantly about what the film is actually like, or they give away all of the set pieces. In this case the trailer hid that the middle act of the film is laborious. The opening and closing acts are excellent pieces of pulp sci-fi – The reveal of the Nazi moon base and establishing the universe in which this story exists, then the reveal of the Götterdammerung during the finale. Expertly done, just on the right side of ridiculous. Especially Nazi warship the Götterdammerung – if at any point during the film you wondered what the Nazis have been up to for 70 years, this is your answer.
If the pulp science fiction concept isn’t enough to pique your interest (and if you’re not sold on that, then there’s no hope for you), then how about Udo Kier playing Der Fuhrer? He’s an excellent piece of casting and, despite the brevity of his appearance, is one of the film’s highlights. He seems to be the only one taking thing seriously whilst everybody else dials it up to 11, but then wouldn’t you do the same if you were in this film?
Of course, it wouldn’t be a cheesy future cult classic if it didn’t have a bit of fun along the way. There are nods to the popular “Downfall” meme (for those of you unaware of what this is – see here), and the US President is a non-too-subtle caricature of Sarah Palin who is a warmonger, to say the least. Then there are some less obvious references, such as the attack on Earth beginning with an almost direct quote of the words Hitler spoke when the Blitzkrieg began in 1939, and a few notes from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ are heard at one point, albeit very briefly.
Comparing the two, The Asylum’s mockbuster “Nazis At The Center of the Earth” (its plot an inversion of Iron Sky’s) feels like a much better film, although the scores on IMDB would say otherwise. If not for the lacklustre middle section of the film it would otherwise be an excellent science fiction romp. It gets bogged down by focusing on 5 characters which, for reasons of budget, is understandable to an extent, but giving the Nazis a stylist? Really? After the ridiculous moon base sections where we are exposed to some rickety German technology and plenty of fun dialogue, going back down to Earth and experiencing its numerous green screen backdrops (was any of this film shot against a real background?) soon grows tiresome. It’s that the excellent concept is lost to 40 minutes of needless comparisons between the Nazis and George W Bush’s administration.
The main problem appears to be budget, and ironically it’s that they had too much to play with. If the budget had been half of the estimated €7.5 million it’s possible that the filmmakers would have had to be more creative and we would have a far better film.
Favourite scene: Finding out that Udo Kier is The Fuhrer.
Quote: “Remember me? The moon spook you turned into a snowflake?”
Silly Moment: There’s a lot of them, but making a black man white (well, kind of) is top of the list.