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|Film review: Iron Sky|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Monday, 21 May 2012 09:48|
Director: Timo Vuorensola
Nazis. On the moon. Moon Nazis. Noons. Mazis. However you say it, Iron Sky’s premise sounds brilliant. And it starts off exactly like it should: with the world’s first black astronaut and male model, James Washington (Kirby), venturing onto the dark side of the moon - only to discover a hidden base for the Fourth Reich. So far, so Transformers 3. But with more brains. And breasts.
“Your skin’s all dirty…” says Renate (Dietze), who's never seen a black man before. Her father – mad Nazi scientist Docktor Richter (Tilo Prückner) - swiftly wheels him away to the laboratory to correct his skin colour. It's only a matter of minutes before Washington escapes, followed by Renate, who has taken all of her clothes off. There’s a lot of that. The taking clothes off.
But while Iron Sky certainly puts the T and A into Swastika, it ultimately disappoints. Oddly enough, it’s because it’s actually quite good. Take a lot at the first four minutes on YouTube and you can see just how much work Timo Vuorensola's team has put in: the effects work is impressive, the production design spot-on (the Nazi moon base is bizarrely realistic) and the costume design is superb.
On top of that, the script starts off unexpectedly smart. The Nazis, led by the maniacal Klaus (Otto), are planning to invade Earth - but they want to make it better. Renate, Klaus' future wife (a 96% genetic match), explains to anyone who'll listen that the Nazis believe in peace and love. She shows her schoolkids a clip from Chaplin's The Great Dictator, convinced that it shows the Fuhrer was a kind-hearted man. Meanwhile, Klaus prepares his ship, called the Götterdämmerung, but their primitive power source isn't strong enough for it to take off. Only with Washington's iPad can they power up the batteries for long enough to travel to Earth.
These are all good gags, supported by solid visual jokes and a rather neat make-up job on the "cured" astronaut. But then Michael Kalesniko's screenplay drops the ball. Once on Earth, we meet the ambitious - and stupid - female President (Stephanie Paul, doing her best Sarah Palin impression). It's a lazy, easy target and simply not funny. As Palin gets more and more screen-time, the moon Nazis are left facing a losing battle with duff jokes.
But luckily, the rest of the cast are all up for the fight. Peta Sergeant's scorned White House sidekick is amusing, Götz Otto has previous form as a psychotic German (see Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies and Downfall) and Julia Dietze's wide-eyed innocence keeps the high (or, more accurately, low) concept going, right up to the point where she metaphorically turns to the camera and says: "Hans, are we the baddies?"
There are missed beats and the conclusion makes a failed lunge for Dr. Strangelove territory, but Iron Sky's madcap energy and surprisingly high production values are bizarrely endearing. And in an age where worse B-movies are seeing full theatrical releases, it's a shame that the moon Nazis will only get to march on UK cinemas for one day (Wednesday, FYI).
Iron Sky deserves better than that: not a full Sieg Heil, by any means, but it easily earns a half salute.