Directed by Finnish filmmaker Timo Vuorensola, Iron Sky nails down all the blockbuster tropes in a ludicrous tale that actually packs a political and social punch. Vuorensola, along with some friends, had made the parody film Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning in 2005 and enjoyed considerable success on the Internet. That movie was actually the seventh in a series but the first of theatrical length. It certainly laid the foundation for what Vuorensola and Co. were able to do with Iron Sky.
The movie works because it combines the abject absurdity of moon Nazis with some surprisingly cogent points about the spread of damaging political philosophies and the concept of social awakening. It paints an accurate if somewhat overt picture of American politics in the process and may be a tough Finnish pill for some to swallow, but its criticism hits as hard as its nuclear missiles.
Iron Sky opens in 2018 with an American mission to the moon. They’ve sent two astronauts, one of whom is an African American male model named James Washington (Christopher Kirby). He’s been sent there because he’ll make the President of the United States (Stephanie Paul) look good. Before anyone can say “Sarah Palin,” it turns out that there are Nazis on the moon!
Washington is captured, his astronaut partner is killed and a Nazi scientist (Tilo Prückner) is put to work to try to make the black man more Aryan. Nazi commander Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) is set to become the next Führer. He is also set to be married to Renate Richter (Julia Dietze) for genetic purposes. When the outdated moon Nazis find Washington’s smartphone, they discover its computing power and send a mission to Earth to retrieve it.
This leads to a series of events that sets the moon Nazis up as political opportunities for the President of the United States. It is this point that touches on the idea that many politicians will harness themselves to any group, no matter how dangerous or sickening, to further their political agendas. In what is admittedly a rather obvious swipe, the President uses the moon Nazis’ destruction to push for a second term because “war presidents” always win a second term.
Vuorensola and his team have certainly been paying attention to blockbuster culture and they excel at driving home a lot of its clichés. The picture was shot mostly in front of greenscreen and it has the look of a matinee serial, but there’s no mistaking the tropes employed. From the sassy captain of the USS George W. Bush to the high-tech surroundings at the updated United Nations, the flick certainly oozes Hollywood.
The acting falls in line with this, with many solid character actors playing their stereotypes well. Kirby is particularly entertaining as Washington, especially after he undergoes a ridiculous transformation that alters his pigment and gives him a shock of blonde hair. It’s a humiliating ordeal for both character and actor, but he plays it with aplomb.
There are lots of good bits to Iron Sky, including a hysterical conversation between two moon Nazis when they discover a porno magazine on Earth. They question why the women inside are either hairless or have pubic hair that resembles, to their dismay, the moustache sported by their Führer. Confused, they admit to being somewhat turned on and get on with their day.
There are also some nice touches at the UN, including a moment toward the end of the picture when the Russian representative (Claus Wilcke) prepares to throw his shoe at the Palinesque President of the United States. This comes after the surprise discovery of Helium-3 on the moon and the American pronouncement that, yeah, that moon is US soil because…it just is. And a running gag about Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, including a Nazi version that is only a few minutes in length, is very funny.
Iron Sky is an entertaining film, but it’s also a surprisingly bright one. For all the madness about moon Nazis and Palin parodies, there’s a message about our self-destruction at play (check out the closing credits) that hits home when the amusement stops. It’s a well-made, well-intentioned motion picture that reaches beyond the substance of normal blockbusters to offer just a little bit more.
The Blu-ray release presents Iron Sky in 1080p high-definition. The slightly faded visuals are par for the course because of the style of filming used, but the picture is still crisp in all the right places. The audio is presented in either DTS-HD master audio or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Both do well to hammer home the sounds of space warfare and moon-nuking.
As far as features, the release is pretty basic. It provides a set of trailers, an audio commentary from the director and producer Samuli Torssonen, some behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a Making Of featurette that follows the journey of Vuorensola and Co. from Star Wreck to Iron Sky.