Iron Sky – Review
June 13, 2012 12 Comments
Review by FilmFellaDarren – 8/10
If you are one of the many thousands of people who have been tuned into the significant viral buzz surrounding this uniquely produced Finnish production, you will no doubt be incensed at just how poorly treated if has been by the distributors, particularly in the UK by Revolver. Initially, this was going to be released in early May in the UK; Revolver, the UK distributors, then decided to limit its release to just one day – a week day at that – in one cinema in the UK – much to the dismay of the production crew of Iron Sky and the army of people who demanded to see the film on the Iron Sky website. You have to wonder if there was some foul play involved in denying this a full feature release.
Even with such a ludicrously limited release schedule, the film found an audience on that Wednesday. A handful of cinemas then gave it a run for a week, and it subsequently packed out enough screens that it broke into the UK box office top ten last week – proving that there is definitely an audience out there for Iron Sky.
As well documented on this website, the film was organically funded using a website that utilized donations from fans of the concept via a process called ‘crowdsourcing’. The Iron Sky production team even advertised for technical expertise. Had it been a success, it could have revolutionized the way films are made and given the ordinary movie fan a chance for creative input in future productions. This was set to be the people’s Nazi invasion movie – the sky was the limit for it in terms of potential success, and the fact it has been shot down, without even being allowed to find its audience, is both infuriating and suspicious.
Ok, so the pitch does look like a B movie, which has led some people to believe that it wasn’t worthy of a theatrical release. Well, there are countless films that could be considered B movies each year that get full theatrical releases – barely a week goes by which doesn’t feature some shoddily thrown together invasion movie, or some awfully derivative exploitation nonsense straight off the Hollywood machine. Some big questions need to be asked as to why this was denied a release as if it’s a B movie, the Nazis invading from the moon concept is about a billion light years ahead of most ‘A’ movies in terms of inventiveness.
It’s delightful to find that not only does this film have an original idea – it also has a smart, savvy and satirical direction in which to take the creative idea at the centre of the film. This is not a B movie. It’s delightfully difficult to pigeon hole as it cannily crosses genres taking in as it goes, sci-fi, quirky comedy, blockbuster invasion movie to name but a few. If you had to pin it to a genre though, it would have to be, surprisingly, political satire. There is so much biting political satire in this film and some well observed social commentary. As you’d expect there is a fair bit of humour at the expense of the Nazis, but what is surprising is the scathing satire also targets the outright idiocy of recent U.S foreign policy, The Americans, or more specifically, the U.S government come in for a hilarious bashing at the hand of these Finnish filmmakers. The film is full of sly, savvy political satire and derisive dark humour at the expense of recent American political strategy. The film has an influence in terms of tone: it is obviously in debt to another biting political satire Dr Strangelove: or how I stopped worrying and loved the bomb. The fact that it is definitely worthy of mention in relation to Stanley Kubrick’s film is a testament to just how well-crafted this film is. So just to reiterate the early point, why on earth is it not playing in a cinema near you right now?
‘In 1945 the Nazis went to the moon… in 2018, they are coming back’, reads the tagline for the film. Since building an infrastructure on the dark side of the moon, The Nazis have regrouped, and they now have a new leader and civilisation. They are surprised to encounter a U.S led moon landing which leaves them wondering whether their cover has been blown and earth will soon attempt to blow up the moon to wipe out what remains of the Nazi stronghold. Fuhrer in waiting Klaus Adler, decides to go against the current wishes of Hitler’s successor and organize a trip back to earth….
IF you don’t want to know anymore plot details look away now…
Comically, his Nazi identity is mistaken to be some sort of modelling persona, and for reasons that become apparent, he finds himself in a meeting with the current U.S president – a sly parody of Sarah Palin – who finds his rhetoric and passionate speech delivery so inspiring that she takes the speech for herself, and uses it to hook the American people into thinking she’s a powerful figure.
Nobody connected to the U.S government are aware that they have unwittingly embraced the influence of a Nazi; and he’s a Nazi that plans a war with earth. The Nazis are set to invade from the moon. Will their technology eclipse that of the U.S and U.N forces? If so, what will become of earth during this unorthodox alien invasion?
You plot detail dodgers can you can come back now…..
If you read that plot summary, you’ll start to get an idea of why the distributors might not have been that enthusiastic to give Iron Sky a full release. The American government are mercilessly ridiculed by director Timo Vuorensola. The comedy works off the proviso that American politics has become so idiotic, superficial, right-wing and imperialistic that they wouldn’t be aware of it if they accidently adopted a Nazi attitude to their politics. If you think that the American government might be prone to a little bit of the ole warmongering – like most Europeans do – you will probably find Iron Sky daring and hilarious. If you are say, a member of the republican party or in favour of invading Iran or something, you might find the tone of Iron Sky over-the-top trashy nonsense. I think it’s fair to say, if UK distributors didn’t fancy giving it a fair run in cinemas, it ain’t going to see the light of day in the U.S.
That’s a real shame, because the script is sharp, funny and cutting throughout; golden comedy lines, dripping with derision towards U.S affairs, that are absolutely as quotable as ‘no fighting in the war room’, from, of course, Dr Strangelove’, come thick and fast.
The fact the money generated for the production was raised by ’crowdsourcing’ means the budget for the film was very low, around 6 million dollars. This might be another reason why the film was denied a full release. The filmmakers have done a wonderful job with the budget. Doing an invasion sc-fi on a shoe-string budget must have caused major headaches during production. They used the budget well and although, the actual invasion part of the film is somewhat reduced in timescale due to budget constraints, it looks like the film had a multimillion dollar budget. There are a few references to Plan 9 from outer space, but it certainly doesn’t look as rough or kitsch as that film. It’s a surprisingly polished production, considering the budget.
Some critics out there have poured scorn on the film on the claims it is racist. Well, there are some terrible things done to a black character in this, and a lot of comedy arises from just what happens to the black guy, but come on, this is the Nazis we are talking about. It wouldn’t make sense if the Nazis politely took the black guy for tea. It’s all about context and the film humourously mocks the Nazis backwards attitude to race; what’s more, the black guy in this is a really strong character –the jokes are not made at his expense and they don’t exactly endorse what the Nazis do to him, but ridicule it, so if this is considered to be racist then the film industry might have to stop making movies about Nazis altogether as you, know, they were kind of racist.
Iron Sky had a humdinger of an idea, which is one of the reasons it attracted so much online attention. It’s much more than a high concept B movie though. The film has an original direction in which to take the concept and it has considerable satirical intent. Not only is it the most daring, bold, biting and anarchic political satire in years, it is also one of the funniest films of the year. Originality should be highly regarded in an industry that should pride artistic value above commerce, but in a film industry now dominated by marketing, old recycled stories are treated better than films with fresh ideas – this is one of the many problems with the film industry. Iron Sky has now been fast tracked to DVD, when it should be enjoying a long run in cinemas, partly because no one new how to market it. This, and the way Iron sky has been handled, is a travesty. Fans of the film must keep the buzz going to make it a word of mouth success and the biggest cult of film of the decade. Let’s do for this film what people back in the nineties did for The Shawshank redemption. And if you haven’t seen it already, DEMAND TO SEE IRON SKY – it will definitely entertain you.