Iron Sky DVD Review
Directed by Timo Vourensola
Written by Timo Voursensola, Johanna Sinisalo, Jarmo Puskala
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 93 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 28 May 2012
Julia Dietze as Renate Richter
Peta Sergeant as Vivian Wagner
Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch
Christopher Kirby as James Washington
Stephanie Paul as The President
Gotz Otto as Klaus Adler
It's very fitting that the UK DVD release of Iron Sky came within a few weeks of Father's Day. Nazis on the Moon – it's a film very much geared towards fathers everywhere. I managed to see Iron Sky in a packed cinema with my own dear pops – it was a father/son bonding session like no other. Thankfully it holds up just as well on DVD.
In 1945, as the tide of World War II turned against them, Hitler's armies turned tail and fled. Unlike most Nazi war criminals, they ran further than the grim America of Apt Pupil, and set course for the dark side of the Moon. There they set up a secret base and hid, waiting until the time might be ripe to strike again. That time is 2018, when President Sarah Palin (not credited as such, but it is) sends a crew of astronauts to the Moon on an all-important PR mission (“black to the Moon!”).
Astronaut James Washington is captured by the Moon Nazis, who discover that they can use his iPhone to power their attack ships. Led by ambitious soldier Klaus Adler, a Nazi team is sent back to Earth to gather more 'futuristic' technology. While Adler's Earth invasion doesn't quite go to plan, he learns that his ambitions might be better realised by taking a more subtle (well, as subtle as one can be while doing the goosestep) tack. Now dyed white, it's up to Washington to save the world from a secret Nazi invasion.
Like cinematic Marmite, the average viewer will either love Iron Sky or hate it. The plot makes it sound like the sort of thing that wouldn't go amiss somewhere on Uwe Boll's IMDb page but is distinguished by a passion that is evident in everything from the script and FX to the acting. The plot is appealing on a very basic level – like that of Snakes on a Plane and Hobo With a Shotgun – but backs it up with a constantly inventive streak and some very good gags. At times, the jokes strike with the frequency of Airplane or Naked Gun, while some surprisingly polished action sequences fill the gaps in-between. Udo Kier camps it up as Fuhrer Kortzfleisch, his presence yet another indication of the sort of audience Iron Sky is aimed at.
I personally thought it hilarious, although I am admittedly biased towards anything which puts Udo Kier in a Nazi uniform and pits him against President Sarah Palin. It's utterly outrageous in the same manner as a Mel Brooks movie or more focused version of Team America: World Police. The more patriotic Americans out there certainly won't be impressed by the US's depiction here. Nobody comes out of Iron Sky unblemished though, with the best joke coming at Finland's expense (it's okay – the director is Finnish). The Nazis are impossible to take seriously, dressed in silly fetish gear throughout and depicted as being entirely out of touch with both the modern world and their own history. Amidst the chaos, there's a sweet romance between Washington and confused Nazi Renate Richter (played adorably by Julia Dietze). Looking distractingly like Patrick Swayze, the charismatic and sinister Gotz Otto emerges as a thoroughly memorable villain. It takes serious chops to beat Udo Kier in a scenery-chewing competition, but he pulls it off with panache.
Towards the end, the emphasis shifts from comedy to more straight sci-fi action, but there are still many laughs to be had. With such a rate of fire, it's inevitable that some of the jokes should fall flat. There's a feeling that it could have been tighter and less scattershot, particularly around the halfway mark. Keir is underutilised and Peta Sergeant (playing the President's right hand woman) is rather annoying. Such qualms are quickly dismissed though. It's hard to stay mad at a movie as camp and chipper as this.
Provided you get the joke, Iron Sky is a lot of fun. It might just goosestep itself into becoming the cult hit of 2012.
Video and Audio:
Fantastic. The music is entirely appropriate, and even quite stirring at the end. Under The Iron Sky is the big number from the soundtrack, and is very good in its own right. The video is much better than anyone had any right to expect, given the film's soundtrack. The special effects are slightly cartoonish but look great nevertheless.