A satire of enduring Nazi mysticism, conspiracy theories and science fiction exploitation culminates in absurd tongue-in-cheek racial stereotyping and nuclear war.
In 2018 the President of the United States of the Americas, a Sarah Palin expy, sends two astronauts to the dark side of the moon to generate publicity for her upcoming re-election campaign. Shamelessly titled ‘Black to the Moon’ the landing team comprises of astronaut Sanders and African American male model James Washington. While Washington has an altercation with the American flag Sanders ventures off, taking high readings of Helium-3, until his graphic demise at the hands of Nazi stormtroopers. As revealed later, the ostensible reason for the publicity stunt turned out to be a ploy to land American astronauts on the moon to search for Helium-3. Captured and taken to Moon Nazi Headquarters, Schwarz Sonne (Black Sun), Washington is questioned on his intentions and who sent him. The klatch of baffled Nazi faces when the helmet is revealed is a particular highlight.
As the Fourth Reich high command squabble and ultimately conclude Washington must be a scout for the impending Earth invasion of the moon Washington escapes with typical American patriotism. Full of ill-conceived heroism, and brash spontaneity Washington slams around the ventilation until reaching a dead-end and grappling with survival while a half naked Nazi female clings on for dear life after the air lock is opened.
Said female is one Renate Richter, played by the stunning Julia Dietze, truly one of the major draws of Iron Sky and she puts in a half decent performance as well given the ludicrous plot. Renate is an Earthologist, or to those of us who aren’t brainwashed Nazis living on the moon, someone who has read a lot about Earth. Her idealism, granted, misplaced idealism, is laughable but also sympathetic of actual historical events. By no means justifying Nazi policy or ideology, but giving the viewer a sense of life inside Nazi Germany, albeit under greatly exaggerated circumstances and set to a comedic beat. When Klaus Adler, the Führer to be and captor of Washington informs Renate that there is an earthling in Nazi custody she is greatly distracted from her teaching (polluting) of ze young Übermensch and keen to make his due acquaintance.
With Washington finally strapped to Doctor Richter’s (Renate’s mad scientist father and Einstein doppelganger) experimentation table the Nazis set about discerning Washington’s purpose for landing on the moon and simultaneaously begin the process of Aryanisation, through Nazi propaganda and “albinism serum”. During this bizarre turn of events Washington’s smart phone is discovered amongst his person which capriciously plays catalyst to the ensuing hilarity.
Iron Sky thrives off of its unashamed ingenuity and explicit whimsical exaggeration that leaves no room for nuanced stereotyping, instead opting for an ironic tongue in cheek approach that never takes itself too seriously.
"So...you are a formerly dead black model who is now suddenly a living white hobo after spending a weekend on the moon."
When it is decided more “telephone computers” are needed to power the Nazis’ secret weapon, Adler and the now ‘Aryanised’ Washington embark on a mission to Earth. Stowed away in the bowel of a Nazi UFO Renate sultrily emerges when the, now trio, of invading Nazi’s, plus cannon fodder stormtroopers, land in a marijuana plantation located in the outskirts of New York City.
The bemusing dichotomy of cute idealist Renate and power hungry Adler set off to ‘educate’ Earth to the imminent Moon Nazi invasion. After dumping Washington, sporting Sturmabteilung brown and now a curious shade of albino white, Renate and Adler are employed by Vivian, the President’s campaign manager to wax Nazi. Disguised as capitalist rhetoric in true selfish capitalist fashion to sway the masses and guarantee the President re-election and Vivian her job. Ideologies and political satire are toyed with relentlessly throughout which only adds to the alluring charm of shameless whimsy.
Stripped of everything, Washington is now one of those crazed hobos you find on street corners warning of impending doom and the dawn of the apocalypse, only this time he’s telling the truth. By chance Renate strolls past Washington’s corner and they have themselves a little bust up only to be cuffed up and taken to the police station for questioning. Released for both acting nuts Renate attempts to convince Washington of her beloved Nazism by taking him to a full length showing of Charlie Chaplin’s A Great Dictator. For years Renate’s ignorance has been bliss, believing Chaplin’s greatest satire was a factual 10 minute propaganda film on Nazi idealism. Alas, her principles are shattered and her mood dampened by a run in with some local Neo-Nazi’s; exactly what remains of her beloved Third Reich.
It’s difficult to feel sympathetic for Renate, the Nazi’s were a confused bunch of evil miscreants responsible for some of history’s greatest catastrophes, and so the film doesn’t dwell on her misplaced idealism, instead opting for a more revenge based save-the-world final act.
The orchestral industrial soundtrack of Slovenian band Laibach is rooted in historical accuracy, often incorporating recognised leitmotifs of German composition to create a wholly stylistic framing of the space Nazis. This accretion of Moon Nazi mania and plan to emancipate Earth of ze Untermensch culminates in a humorous satire of Nazi extravagance.
At a certain point Iron Sky becomes a wet dream of immoderate escapism, feeling like an extended mission pulled straight from a Command and Conquer storyboard.
Looming over North America in Earth’s atmosphere, are the Siegfrieds. Zeppelin-esk warships carrying countless smaller aircraft and towing meteorites to enact the Meteor-Blitzkrieg. Meanwhile, on Earth Nazi UFO’s whip around upstate New York in a whirlwind of Diesel Punk, pursued by a show of American military prowess. All culminating in an excessive boss battle involving space warships and a typical Nazi expression of Wunderwaffe.
Iron Sky is a romp of science fiction extravagance and exploited esoteric Nazi mysticism that errs on the side of substance to sacrifice for a more stylistic affair with a free reign on artistic license. Littered with historical references, slapstick comedy, humorous, if slightly cheesy, dialogue and the stunning Julia Dietze, Iron Sky is easy on the eye if you can just see past the absurdity of it all. This experimental case of participatory cinema was Worth my Time and will no doubt become a guilty pleasure in years to come.
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p.s. if you think my four star rating is generous check out my rating system to quell your bemusement.