out of Five
Running time: 93
Iron Sky has a brilliant central idea and the occasional amusing moment, but it completely fails to deliver on its basic premise and is ultimately disappointing, thanks to a lazy script, poor performances and ham-fisted direction.
What's it all about?
Directed by Tim Vuorensola, Iron Sky began life as a beautifully shot teaser trailer revealing that a colony of Nazis escaped to the Moon in 1945 and have been secretly plotting a revenge invasion ever since. The teaser was enough to secure funding for the eventual film, so Iron Sky begins with that premise, of US astronaut Washington (Christopher Kirby) being kidnapped by Nazis when he lands on the Moon as part of a promotional campaign to re-elect the suspiciously Sarah Palin-esque US President (Stephanie Paul).
When second-in-command Klaus (Gotz Otto) travels to Earth for some pre-invasion work, Washington comes with him, along with Klaus' idealistic schoolteacher fiancee Renate (Julia Dietze), who believes Nazi ideals will secure world peace. However, when the President's scheming press agent (Peta Sergeant) learns of the imminent invasion, she sees it as the election winning opportunity they've been waiting for and soon all hell breaks loose.
The initial set-up is extremely enjoyable, with the excellent premise promising all manner of gleeful B-movie thrills and some great moments, such as Renate drilling a room full of Moon Nazi schoolchildren in preparation for living on Earth. Similarly, the detailed production design is excellent (especially the Swastika-shaped Moon base, the main reveal of the teaser trailer) and the CGI effects are surprisingly good, considering the ultra-low budget.
On top of that, Dietze is excellent and a perfectly cast Udo Kier is good value as the Fuhrer, while the script has a handful of nice satirical jokes, even if they're not especially subtle, such as the Republicans essentially being bigger Nazis than the Nazis.
The main problem is that the script completely fails to exploit its own premise, as if the filmmakers somehow forgot why people wanted to see the film in the first place. As a result, instead of clever sequences involving the Nazis infiltrating Earth (as suggested by the classroom scene), the script gets bogged down in unfunny slapstick and a series of increasingly tedious sub-plots, while the invasion itself is reduced to pointless, un-engaging spaceship battles.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the rest of the performances range from wooden to downright dreadful, while a central plot device involving black astronaut Washington being “Aryan-ised” (turned albino-white) seems badly judged and never really delivers.
Iron Sky is ultimately something of a disappointment, thanks to uninspired direction, dodgy acting and a dismal script that fails to understand the potential of its own brilliant premise.