Review: Iron Sky

The story…

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.

 

The review…

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.

 

Conclusion…

C- grade – for storytelling

C- grade – for direction

B+ grade – for design

B+ grade – for CG

Overall grade – C+

 

Release info…

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.

 

Watch the trailer.

Richard
A UK based Contributor; Richard Reynolds splits his time writing articles and interviews for Fanboy Confidential with running his own comicbook shop, Ground Zero Comics, as well as sticking his thumb in far too many pies, including illustration, writing and filmmaking, he also consumes fiction in all its forms like its going out of fashion.

1 Comment

  • June 11, 2012

    Rainbow 64

    Yes, the effects and design are pretty good but they can’t come anywhere near saving this incredible and tawdry mess of a film. There’s a lot about Nazis which is hilarious, but exploiting the ludicrous aspects of the nature of the German strain of Naziism (obviously???) requires the kind of exceptionally fine judgement which is entirely lacking here. If those responsible have ever seen Kubrick or Mel Brooks on the subject they certainly didn’t absorb much. Perhaps the view from Finland is rather different from that in countries which fought against or suffered under the Nazis, but the clunking and juvenile attempts at humour (and acting!) in Iron Sky made me cringe and even left me with the suspicion that the film’s makers had a sneaking admiration for the kind of Hugo Boss chic which enabled the Germans to carry out their atrocities in style. That style is lovingly re-imagined here to the point of fetishism.

    The kind of moral equivalence which equates Tea Party politics, appalling though one may find it, with Nazi methodology and ancient dreams of domination at any cost, is sickening. Were this a British or American film, I would say that it were aimed squarely and cynically at the terminally ignorant – who will, no doubt, enjoy it thoroughly. As it is, I’ll just have to (generously) suppose that something has been lost in cultural translation. And claiming the sanctuary of B-Movie tradition (which many will) is simply lazy and dishonest.