The concept for Iron Sky, the Finnish comedy/sci-fi/action/Nazi mash-up, was borne from the dream of writer Jarmo Puskala and a subsequent conversation with the eventual director, Timo Vuorensola, in a sauna. Not surprising really, for a film that is utterly ridiculous, completely nonsensical and absolutely brilliant for it.
Set in the not-too-distant future, Iron Sky sets out an alternate reality whereby the Nazis retreated to the dark side of the moon after defeat in World War 2. Following 70 years of lunar exile, they plan to return to Earth and finish what the National Socialist Party started with their newly manufactured armada of Nazi-space ships. Yes, it’s that ridiculous.
Right from the off, the film is fully aware of what it is and has no aspirations of being anything other than an absurdly raucous action comedy that never takes itself seriously (how can it? it has Moon Nazis). While it’s well and truly a modern B-Movie affair, complete with hammy acting, one-liners and a crappy soundtrack, the action scenes look pretty damn cool. With some exceptional craft design, particularly on the Nazi’s behemoth of a war ship, almost all of the sci-fi CGI is none too shabby at all. We’ve got some more than convincing looking space battles, an epic earth invasion and some really crisp green screen compositions. Yes it may sometimes look like an internet/made for TV movie, but for it’s modest budget, it makes the most of its truly outlandish ideas and presents them with a wonderful sense of self-awareness.
As mentioned earlier, the performances have more ham in them than a European continental breakfast, but this is by no means a bad thing. As each character knowingly lampoons current and historical figures, it only makes sense for the actors to be gross exaggerations of the characters they are playing. Be that Stephanie Paul’s quite blatant and superb impression of Sarah Palin or the consistently brilliant Udo Kier as the Führer, each performance has its tongue very firmly in cheek throughout. The partnership that develops between Julia Dietze’s innocent Nazi teacher and Chris Kirby’s quite hilarious black astronaut is charming without ever being overly schmaltzy or forced. Peta Sergeant’s stylist-cum-Secretary of Defence makes a constant mockery of the Western worlds obsession with style over substance, and does so with completely over the top bravado; a style very much suited the movie itself. It is however, Gotz Otto’s superbly devilish turn as the movie’s villain that steals it. Always smarmy and consistently evil, his performance as the Führer to be is every Indiana Jones villain rolled into one, with a little bit of Roger Moore era Bond villain for good measure. He’s brilliant.
Occasionally the jokes fall a little flat, but on the whole the film is littered with straight up hilarious moments and brilliant one-liners (the best is saved for the very end). As a commentary on the nature of war, and the reasons behind such, it is surprisingly quite clever in places offering political jibes at almost all the major world leaders somewhat reminiscent of Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove. As a result, the film very much feels like something from the Matt Stone and Trey Parker School of comedy; anyone and everyone is fair game as the subject of unabashed parody. Even the Finnish get a roasting at one point.
You won’t find Michael Bay’s overly bombastic production values, or Oscar worthy performances, but Iron Sky never intends or aspires to be that. Put simply, it’s as ridiculous as it is entertaining. It pokes fun at people who deserve it, while never becoming overly offensive or cheap. The jokes are funny and the action holds up despite not being the most polished film ever made…but most of all, it’s fun.
Taken for what it is, then, Iron Sky is a hilarious slice of Nazi action cake and thoroughly entertaining for it’s entire 93-minute duration.
Iron Sky is in Cinemas nationwide on the 23rd of May for one day only and available on DVD and Blu-Ray from the 28th of May.
If you’re in London however, The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square has a full run from Friday the 25th of May. (For more details visit www.princecharlescinema.com)