In 1945, many Nazis escaped to the dark side of the moon, now, in 2018, they intend to return to Earth with their message of peace and an invasion fleet.
Sometimes you’ve got to applaud the sheer tenacity of independent film producers, especially those who are backing a film of ambition that requires a reasonably large budget. Often we are presented with films whose opening credits commence with a seemingly endless list of production companies and funding bodies who have all given a little to make the film happen, and as anyone whose tried to generate a budget for an indie film will know, securing the money from each and every one of those companies would have been like pulling teeth, so you can only assume the script must be pretty incredible, right?
Well, no, not really, as is proven by the ambitious sci-fi indie, Iron Sky, whose budget of around €7,500,000 ($9,500,000ish) was generated by such an endless list of companies from the world over. It has a terrible script, terrible! So one can only assume that the presentation was pitched with some wonderful visuals, and if so would be a perfect encapsulation of the finished film.
The idea is, of course, preposterous, the dialogue is daft and the plot has holes in it the size of the moon, but it’s obvious from scene one that we are watching an exploitation film of sorts, all be it a rather bloated one, so taken in that spirit it can be viewed as trashy fun. Unfortunately, even within those parameters Iron Sky often falls very, very short. Yes, the premise is amusing and when the film holds to it with a straight face, it too is amusing, but when it openly tries to be funny it’s actually a little embarrassing, like watching a small child at play, when they’re doing their own thing unaware of your amusement it’s heartening, but when they start playing up to it, it gets old pretty quickly.
So the humour is handled terribly, much of the physical action utilising the actors is sloppily directed, the obvious swipes at world politics are ham-fisted, many characters are miscast and the mood of the production swings in extreme directions seemingly at random, so your could be forgiven for drawing the assumption that Iron Sky should be firmly placed amongst the overly ambitious train-wrecks such as The Mutant Chronicles, but that’s actually not the case, it has a few saving graces.
First, while, as stated, some of the characters are presented poorly, some of the cast are a lot of fun, the up and coming French/German actress, Julia Dietze, for example, is a delight.
But the major saving graces of the production are the visuals and visual effects. The film is wonderfully designed, holding a kind of cold, industrial retro look throughout. The switches from sets to green-screen are imperceptible, Earth’s warships are truly original style wise, but are obvious in a way that makes you think “why has nobody designed armed spaceships like that before?”, the costumes are manga-camp, the CG totally sells and the space battles and destruction are executed better than films with many times the budget.
Indeed, the budget has been stretched very effectively, yet again throwing up questions of where all that money from many of the huge summer blockbusters is actually going. Visually you won’t go far wrong by comparing Iron Sky with such films as Sky Captain, but in actual fact looks better.
But, alas, come the end you can’t help but feel that all the visual efforts have been wasted on a mediocre film, the sum of its parts not amounting to a whole lot. Shame really.
C- grade – for storytelling
C- grade – for direction
B+ grade – for design
B+ grade – for CG
Overall grade – C+
Iron Sky is now available on Region 2 DVD and region free Blu-ray in the UK but is yet to secure a release date in the US.