Iron Sky is a mad fever dream made celluloid, given a budget and actually allowed to run to its logical conclusion. As a concept “Moon Nazis” is wonderfully deranged, but the film decides that it isn’t going to rest on a single high concept and gives us forced Albinoism, Sarah Palin as US president, Space arms treaties, people breaking arms treaties, an allegory for the race for oil in the middle east, inter racial romance, fetishistic imagery and the power of propaganda. It’s really efficient, has a lot of mad ideas, is well made and really enjoyable.
I have to admit, I expected far less. I thought the production values would be suspect, the acting campy, and the film would run out of steam very quickly. It starts strongly, with an American moon landing that is largely an attempt by the incumbent president to get re elected. It’s also an energy grab, which is where they discover that the Nazis have been on the moon since the second world war.
There are some great extrapolations of 40s technology, with jokes about the sizes of computers and lots of mechanical technology. There is also a serious plot point disguised as a good joke about Chaplin’s the Great Dictator. The Nazis have been building for conflict but not at conflict, growing up, multiplying and growing old with Nazi propaganda and no outside contact to challenge or correct it. There are the delusional and the warlike, and there is a definite distinction between the two. It’s a neat idea, and well realised.
Then the outside world comes crashing in, and the Nazis decide to visit Earth. One of the party is a zealot and the other a pragmatic warmonger. They are insinuated into the President’s re election campaign where their imagery and rhetoric strikes a chord with the President’s largely religious base and helps to sway the populist vote. The remaining Nazis then decide to invade, with the President delighted as they make the perfect fall guys in a war that will guarantee her popularity.
The special effects throughout the film are very good. They mostly being to mind those in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but are better handled here. Actually, the film compares very well overall, with acting that shows nuance when needed and a script that is both funny in places and able to make clever and subtle points. And still manages to shoe horn in some huge explosions and great imagery.
The film doesn’t lag and makes full use of its running time to tell the overall story, be very funny, and give all the characters their own distinct motivations and arcs. And it makes some very salient points along the way.