Hello, dear friends. I have some bad news.
Iron Sky sucks.
I’ve monitored the movie about moon Nazis since early this year. It seemed right up my alley: an independently-made action movie with political overtones and a touch of humor. The premise is straightforward: Nazis fled Germany to the moon after World War II, and plan on conquering the Earth with a big ass space ship. An American moon mission discovers their plans, and triggers an invasion ahead of schedule.
The plot seemed so paint-by-numbers from the trailers that I thought this would be a slam dunk. Unfortunately, Iron Sky gets in its own way and winds up being more in the “stupid” column instead of the “campy” column.
“Don’t do two things half-assed. Do one thing whole assed.”
Wise words from my friend Bert. Iron Sky didn’t quite have the oomph to pull off action, camp, humor, and politics, so it failed at all of them.
The actors were either completely wooden or hamming it up. It felt like a high school play, where half the kids are afraid to be on stage in front of their friends, and the other half are hopping around like needy toddlers. “It was like an actor’s workshop,” Sedagive? later said.
I’m not one to pound a smaller budget film for its special effects, but I knew we were in trouble when the opening scene was done in mid-90s era CGI. One of the American astronauts gets executed, and it looked just like a cut scene from Wing Commander or TIE Fighter. Okay, maybe one step up from TIE Fighter. Imagine if you had the TURBO button pushed in on your computer.
The storyline was disorganized and the sub-plots unnecessary. There’s a love triangle (kind of), an internal plot to over throw the Nazi leader, and one of the main characters is “Aryan-ized” and there’s a little bit about racial identity. None of these things are important to what should have been a simple story: space Nazis. Nazis. From space. That’s it.
The political satire was predictable and amusing. A Sarah Palin-esque American president is an ignorant warmonger quick to blame subordinates for her mistakes. A public relations executive berates her employees and has a garbage mouth. American journalists are over-eager to report on the Nazi attack and wind up getting killed for the cameras. I smiled, but I also smile at fart jokes.
There’s probably about ten minutes of action in all of Iron Sky, and they are pretty damn good. There’s a scene where space zeppelins are towing moon rock, and they unleash the rocks at the Earth. Awesome. There’s a scene where an “unarmed” US space station punches up a bunch of Nazi warships and hits them with rockets. Awesome. There’s even a scene where the Earth’s forces counter-attack the moon with nukes, and despite the Return of the Jedi ham-fisted emotional plea about the horrors of war, it was still awesome.
The problem? Iron Sky is about 90 minutes long. By percentages, that’s a terribly low amount of action. If the movie had more action and the rest was the same, I would have liked it a lot more. After all, the trailers really hyped up the invasion of Earth, not a shoe-horned in sexism subplot or a commentary about racial superiority. I’m not sure how it is in Europe, but in the United States we’re already aware of — and pretty fucking tired of hearing about — those common themes. Moon Nazi flying saucers battling A-10s in New York City, though … that’s something I don’t think about on a regular basis.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you were expecting an all-out Nazi vs the world slugfest with some camp, satire, and humor thrown in you will be disappointed with Iron Sky. If you want an awkwardly acted retread of obvious social commentary, it may be the swastika-shaped moon base you’re looking for.