'Iron Sky' Review: Wing Commander, Meteorblitzkrieg, and Space Nazis. Oh My!
Today's entry for the Kulture Shocked Sci-Fi Marathon is probably one of my favorite foreign films. While Chris and I were working on the list, I had initially left Iron Sky off the list of films I submitted knowing that there are only so many films we'd be exploring this February. Luckily Chris said, "Wait... Why don't we review Iron Sky?"
This film is absolutely fantastic. You need to disregard any rating that you see from Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, even IMDb. This film has so much going for it that I find it extraordinarily hard to find anything worth shredding. I'm going to try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, purely because I don't want any part of this film ruined for future viewers that haven't seen this film. So let's set this up.
The premise of the film is simple. The Nazis set up a secret base on the dark side of the moon in 1945 where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018. In most sci-fi films the antagonist is some kind of alien, whether humanoid or not, however, in Iron Sky our antagonist are humans. Here we witness something interesting because it ties into some comments I made during Chris' and my discussion about Stargate. Essentially, what would happen if you took a segment of the human population and let them develop independently of Earth? Here we see a little bit of that and similarly to Stargate, we see how easy it is for the interpretation of our history to change. How what we consider to be historical fact changes drastically.
My favorite part of this film has to be the soundtrack. The sampling, reorchestration, and even remixing of some of the most powerful German orchestral literature is amazing and the music fits the mood so well. Wagner has always been able to capture the German spirit in his music and operas. The usage of passages from Götterdämmerung, Die Walküre, Lohengrin, and Tannhäuser communicate the nationalistic pride the German people have had before, during, and after the Nazi party manipulated it. Laibach has created a soundtrack that aides in the social commentaries that film touches and still holds true Germany's classical heritage. It's absolutely brilliant. If you're a soundtrack fan, go find this one.
Visually this is a very striking film. The set design is an extraordinary mix of steampunk and a 2020/30s-America set in the mid-2010s. There's displays of futuristic technology that will probably become an everyday occurrence in the next few years. As well, the steampunk feel comes from a great continuity source in the fact that the Nazis had to construct their invasion fleet with what they brought with them to the Moon. The gothic yet modernistic designs for sets and costumes are well constructed and allow for interesting shot construction that enables good story telling.
The most important aspect of this film is the abundant commentary on society's ability to enable their own downfall and society's desire energy independence. Also, the digs at America are amusing and probably at least half true. It's interesting to note that there is one scene in the middle of the film where the American President's Press Secretary (if that's even her title, the character is some kind of media consultant for a huge firm in New York City...) is addressing her firm's department heads and the scene is identical to the seen from Downfall where Hitler addresses his "cabinet" and loses his temper (even more odd is the fact that you'll see Götz Otto in the now infamous Downfall scene and Otto plays Klaus Adler in Iron Sky.)
All in all this film is fantastic. I'm surprised it's flown under the radar as long as it has and has received as many poor reviews as it has. This film deserves to be watched. Even more so than a lot of the crap that Hollywood produces. Still looking at you, The Pyramid. Still looking at you...
Final Say: Go Watch This Movie, If Only For Space Nazis!
Bonus: If you thought space Nazis was crazy, the directors of Iron Sky have successfully crowdfunded the sequel through IndieGoGo, aptly titled Iron Sky: The Coming Race. I won't ruin the reveal for you, but a concept trailer was released to drum up support for the film, and it looks even crazier/amazing than space Nazis. Check it out for yourself.