Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Iron Sky

Lowdown: The Nazis haven’t been defeated, they just retreated to the dark side of the moon.
There are many reasons why Iron Sky will leave a lasting impression on me, chief among which is the fact it turned out to be the first movie I ever got to watch on Netflix. The other reasons probably matter more: this is a movie flogging a crazy idea, a movie that’s crazily works its way through to making a very viable statement. Crazy is the key word, because even defining Iron Sky’s genre is a tough call: is it science fiction or is it a comedy?
We discover the truth about the Nazis right from the start, when American astronauts land on the dark side of the moon and find themselves confronted with that age old nemesis. A nemesis that, even on the moon, wears those classic goggles, leather jacket and submachine gun we associate with World War 2 films.
One astronaut, James Washington (Christopher Kirby) survives and is taken captive, which gives us an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the contemporary Nazi machine. This includes the lovely and naïve schoolteacher Renate (Julia Dietze), her ambitiously Nazi man to be Klaus (Götz Otto), and even the current Führer (Udo Kier). The men are not particularly impressed by the fact this astronaut they caught is black, but they are impressed by his smartphone: it is powerful enough to run their spaceship of ultimate destruction, with which they can make a comeback and conquer the earth.
The only problem? The smartphone’s battery ran out, and they don’t have a charger cable. Now, in order to fulfil their plans, they have to infiltrate the earth and put their hands on a USB cable. It won’t be easy: opposing them will be the American female president and all the might of her marketing/propaganda department.
The above is just the beginning. Iron Sky goes deep into the crazy as it progresses, sometimes crazy funny but too often just plain silly. On the way it borrows scenes/cliches from plenty other science fiction movies and then some. One can easily dismiss it on the basis of its silliness and lesser special effects than the average Hollywood blockbuster, but I won’t. Sure, there is plenty of room for improvement; but in that razor edge equation dealing with whether the end justifies the means or vice versa I will go with the former on this one, because what Iron Sky is trying to tell us is worthy of its silly means: it tells us that, when looking ourselves in the mirror, our society did not learn much from its escapade with the Nazis. In other words, unless we do something quickly, we are doomed.
Best scene: The head of the US government marketing team (Peta Sergeant), the only government group that actually does something, reproduces that famous scene from Downfall where Hitler goes crazy. Very well done!
Overall: A good idea goes a long way even if the execution occasionally stumbles. I liked Iron Sky for its originality and daring and I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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