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Can you say "space Nazis from the dark side of the Moon" without bursting out in laughter? No? Are you sure? Congratulations, you have a sense of humor and should thoroughly enjoy Iron Sky!
We need to get this out of the way quickly. The year is only half over but it already looks like Iron Sky is the best movie of 2012, although there are a few more competitors pending release, one of which is another independent film which will be covered here later on. Either way Iron Sky is certainly the most awesome movie we've seen this year so far, one which we highly recommend to everyone who likes dark humor. Should you need a little more convincing, read on.
Iron Sky, in case you don't know, is an independent film made by the creators of Star Wreck. Director Timo Vuorensola and his friends are back with space Nazis and they're blowing our minds away with panzerfausts. That's German for bazooka, in case you are wondering. The story is that in 1945 some of the Nazis escaped to the Moon and there they built a base and space fleet with which they plan to invade the Earth. Then all of a sudden, an American Moon exploration mission discovers the base and forces the space Nazis to launch the invasion ahead of time, leading to space Zeppelins and Nazi flying saucers launching an attack on the Earth. Is that awesome or what? There's a lot more to the story than that over-the-top premise but we'd prefer not to spoil too much. Suffice to say that the story has plenty of twists to keep you interested. Let's talk about the humor instead.
Iron Sky is relentless. Its uncompromising dark humor is absolutely brilliant. Nothing is sacred to the filmmakers and we wouldn't have it any other way. For starters, the idea of having Nazis on the Moon, while not as new as some might think, is so absurd it's absolutely awesome. The experimental Nazi spaceship Götterdämmerung makes the Death Star look like a toy. The jokes the film makes with the astronaut James Washington go well beyond anything Hollywood would ever dare to do these days, and they probably would have gone even further if a certain singer hadn't sadly passed away a few years ago (you'll know what we mean when you watch the film). The president of the United States is a woman with a striking resemblance to Sarah Palin and her right hand Vivian Wagner is basically a horny bitch who is introduced to us with the meme of memes (and let's face it, it fits perfectly into Iron Sky). The invasion mercilessly pokes fun of Independence Day and the subsequent space battle involving the quite aptly named American spaceship brings back beautiful memories of Star Wreck. The squabble between the delegates in the U.N. is ruthlessly satirical and profoundly entertaining. References to classics like Planet of the Apes and the father of dark comedies Dr. Strangelove are all over the place. The ending of the movie dots the i flawlessly, though it's perhaps a bit too dark for some people. We liked it.
The characters are a ton of fun, especially the space Nazis. Our lead is Renate Richter, a teacher and Earth specialist among the space Nazis who is naive to the true nature of her people and actually believes the Nazi propaganda, but when she realizes what the new Fuhrer is up to she tries to stop him. Speaking of the new Fuhrer, our lead villain is Klaus Adler, an ambitious officer in the Nazi war machine who wants to be the new Fuhrer, while the Moon Fuhrer himself, Wolfgang Kortzfleisch is an elderly, "classic" Nazi, played by the ingenious Udo Kier, who sees through Klaus's schemes and has no intention of stepping aside. Rounding out this cast of Fourth Reich key players is Renate's father, the eccentric scientist Dr. Richter who pretty much makes Dr. Mengele look like a hack. Of course we have our "heroes" as well such as James Washington, a black model who was sent to the Moon only to get the President of the U.S. reelected, the President and her clueless attitude towards the space Nazi conflict, her right hand Vivian who gives a whole new meaning to the classic saying about the woman scorned, and let's not forget the Secretary of Defense who seems to keep his calm in almost every situation and seems to have a little too much influence over the President. All of these characters provide the viewers with countless entertaining moments, but perhaps the best one is the aforementioned introduction of Vivian Wagner. If you watch just one clip from Iron Sky, watch that one, it's pretty much assuredly on youtube by now, for obvious reasons. Probably subtitled.
Now the spaceship scenes make for the most spectacular part of the movie and it is there where Iron Sky goes where no indie production has gone before. For the spaceship animations are absolutely magnificent, truly impressive for a low budget film. It is important to note that the film was co-funded by the community and it's wonderful to see the film completed and being able to achieve the goal it set out for itself. If there is anything we have to complain about it's that the space battle is far too short for this epic dark comedy. It's a shame that there weren't enough resources to make it bigger, we would have loved to watch space Zeppelins and Nazi flying saucers fight the secret space fleet of the Earth for a lot longer than what we got to see. Still, we were thoroughly entertained by this film and we hope it will be successful enough such that the planned sequel and prequel get made.
We do have to mention that we have a bone to pick with the British distributor of Iron Sky. The film was given a very limited theatrical release here in the UK with an even more limited run planned originally which resulted in us not seeing Iron Sky at the theaters, which is a damn shame as the movie was clearly meant to be watched on the big screen. Yet British distributor Revolver Entertainment decided to screen it for less than a week in a small number of cinemas and subsequently release the DVD immediately after the last day of screenings. Obviously we do not know the reason behind this decision, we can only speculate that they had no faith in the movie and did not want to invest in a wide spread theatrical release, but whatever the reason we are very unhappy that they robbed us and many other fans of the pleasure of watching Iron Sky on the big screen. The filmmakers were none too pleased with this either mind you and it took them plenty of effort to have Revolver at least extend the short theatrical run just a little bit, and we feel with them. Iron Sky would have deserved a full theatrical release. This is a movie that exemplifies how much potential lies in the independent scene, and it should have been showcased at the cinemas throughout the country.
In summary, Iron Sky, the movie about the "motherfucking space Nazis" from the dark side of the Moon is absolutely awesome. It's among the very best indie productions out there. If you liked Star Wreck, you'll love this movie. If you like dark comedy in general, you should certainly give it a try, you will not be disappointed. Finally, a word of advice: sit through the credits, it's worth it!
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