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Iron Sky (2012)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

IRON SKY (2012)

Starring: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby. Gotz Otto, Udo Kier, Peta Sargeant, Stephanie Paul

Written By: Michael Kalesniko, Timo Vuorensola, Johanna Sinisalo (story), Jarmo Puskala (concept)

Directed By: Timo Vuorensola

The Short Version

Four words: Nazis from outer space!

On the one hand, that is just as cheesy as it sounds.

On the other hand, it is also way better than it sounds.

The satire is as shallow – or as deep – as you choose to make it.

If you believe that “so wrong” can be “so right,” you’ve got to check out Iron Sky.


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

CHEDDAR.

Nein, it’s not traditionally German, but it is the master cheese. Put it on a cracker.


Pairs Well With...

RUMPLE MINZE.

A few shots of this stuff, and you’ll think you’re from the moon, too!

All presidents who start a war in their first term get re-elected.”


At the intersection of “so wrong” and “so right,” there is Iron Sky.

Your litmus test for which of those two streets is the real home to the movie is how you react to the premise.  It turns out that just before the end of World War II, a significant number of Nazis managed to escape the Allies by way of flying to the dark side of the moon, where they went on to establish a secret base (shaped like a gigantic swastika, of course).  Ever since, they have been preparing for the day when they would take their fleet of flying saucers and space zeppelins back to the fatherplanet and conquer the Earth.  When the President of the United Sates (Stephanie Paul, Separation City) decides to land a pair of astronauts (okay; one astronaut and one more suitably photogenic model) on the dark side of the moon as a publicity stunt, the Nazi moon base is discovered, it becomes clear that the time for that invasion has finally come…

The way I see it, there are three possible reactions to that premise.

1 - “That’s ridiculous.”

2 - “That’s awesome!”

3 - “That’s ridiculously awesome!”

If you fall into the first category, turn back now.  Iron Sky is everything you’re expecting and less.

If, however, you fall into the second or third categories (I fell into the third, in case you’re wondering), then Iron Sky – specifically the extended Director’s Cut (also referred to as the Dictator’s Cut) – deserves a spot near the front of your “to watch” queue, or even on your permanent collection shelf.

How can these seemingly contradictory conditions be true?  Because Iron Sky is one of those pictures that’s very good at reflecting back exactly what the audience expects of it.  If you want to see dumb, you will see dumb, and lots of it.  If you want to be offended, Iron Sky has about a zillion ways to push your buttons and trigger your switches.  (Instant “black-guy-to-white-guy” surgery, anyone?)  Similarly, if all you’re in the mood to see is a silly comedy based on easy laughs that don’t require too many firing neurons to appreciate, Iron Sky can wear that mask, as well, and leave you happy at the end.

But if your mind is really open and your eyes have come along for the ride, you just might discover that there’s way more to Iron Sky than its wacky premise initially suggests.  It is, indeed, a well constructed and often (though certainly not always) very sharp bit of satire.

The most obvious examples are also among the most brilliant.  An ongoing reference to Charlie Chaplin’s anti-Hitler classic, The Great Dictator, is central to the story of Iron Sky, beginning with its being creatively edited down to a ten minute short film that is sold to young moon Nazis as an endorsement of der Fuhrer.  (This “creative editing” speaks not just to Nazi propaganda, but also to modern media, if you’re paying attention; neat trick, that.  A similar one gets played later on, as well.)  There are also a plethora of parallels to Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Dr. Strangelove, both overt and subtle, that signify Iron Sky as not just a far flung adventure comedy, but a movie with a message.  And that message has more than one target; just count the number of different personalities from widely variant political viewpoints that went into the character of the President, and the no-cows-are-sacred nature of the satire is clear as day.

With that said, depth though there is to this pool, it is, as the poster and premise promise, a whole lot of fun to play in.  Space Nazis goose step, American warmongers ham it up like an Easter dinner, and wacky mad scientists are wackily mad.  And hey: the producers demanded that the legendary Udo Kier (Johnny Mnemonic) be cast as the Fuhrer of the moon Nazis, so you know that however serious things might be getting in the background, there were no illusions about the fact that at its core, Iron Sky is still a major hunk of cheese.  (It’s only conspicuously avoided nudity – there are several missed opportunities for it – away from hitting every wedge of a full cheese wheel.)  Even the deeper humor plays well for cheap laughs, and there are more than enough standalone cheap laughs to go around, as well, covering lots of comedy styles.  Sure, there are plot holes, but for a story like this, that’s part of the entertainment.  If the concept of moon Nazis doesn’t make you cringe on its face, this flick’s just plain funny; it’s as simple as that.

To say much more about Iron Sky would belabor the point; it’s one of those movies where you pretty much know whether you’re going to love it or hate it from the moment you see the promo art.  The good news is that there’s no downside here if you didn’t start out deciding that you’d hate it; if anything, it’s better than any reasonable person could hope to expect.  Bottom line, Iron Sky is definitely worth the time… and for me, it sure beat It’s A Wonderful Life as a choice to watch on Christmas.  (Yes; I really did that.  And I had a blast, too.)

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, January, 2015


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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