SXSW 2012: “Iron Sky” — Review by Matt “The Movie Analyst”

Stormtroopers Return to Space

By Matt the Movie Analyst

Adolph Hitler didn’t do a lot of hilarious things when he was alive — he spoke well, became a dictator, and killed a tremendous amount of people related to Woody Allen. Parodies of the man however, ranging from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator to Mel Brooks’ The Producers, became comedy gold by putting such a horrible person into silly situations. Like it or not, Hitler and his Nazis are now here to stay in comedy and can still be seen in more modern examples like Family Guy, Futurama, and hipster Webcomics.

Iron Sky is the latest Nazi-based comedy to grace cinema, offering an alternate take on what really happened after World War II. Rather than hiding in bunkers and losing, the Nazi’s traveled to the dark side of Earth’s moon in 1945 and began building a racially pure space society with just as much diversity as plant life. (Hint: None). While Earth was busy with its hippie protests, disco music, Full House marathons, Hammer pants, and choreographed boy bands, the Nazis plotted their eventual return to seek revenge on Earth. A presidential reelection campaign of sending a black astronaut to the moon triggers a chain of events that ultimately brings the Nazis and allied Earth countries back to fighting one another — this time with more space battles and laser beams.

The humor in the film starts strong with a great deal of visual sight gags such as swastika-shaped moon bases and Hindenburg-like spaceships — each of these should make even the harshest critic smile. Frequently there are so many small jokes on screen at once that viewers would have to watch multiple times to catch them all. Satire runs throughout the whole film with hard-hitting critiques of politicians’ devious plots to get reelected, as well as parodies including a great take on the popular Internet meme ‘Hitler’s Downfall’. (Further explanation alert: People on the Internet take a memorably dramatic scene from the film Der Untergang where Hitler finds out that he is losing the war, but add ridiculous subtitles that make the dictator look like he is ranting about iPhones or getting banned from his Xbox Live account). However, the scenes on Earth are much weaker in their humor —  each time the scenes cut back to Earth it cannot compete with memorable moon scenarios like a low gravity-induced slow motion gun fight.

Throughout the film, the soundtrack merges very old instrumental songs with the epic, driving force of modern cinema. With this new take, The German National Anthem has never been so powerful nor so seemingly fit for space wars. This blend of interesting tunes creates a perfect mechanical, industrial feeling that is enjoyable to listen to and amplifies the lunacy on screen. On the moon and in outer space, the cinematography rivals any serious science fiction film in both its scale and sense of wonder, but just like the humor, the scenes and story seem a tad dull when grounded on Earth in comparison. Even if Iron Sky were terrible, its bizarre concept would be reason enough to watch. However, the film has some very strong parts both as a comedy and as a science fiction adventure — this Nazi moon party should not be missed.

Matt the Movie Analyst’s final verdict: 7/10

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