Yet Another Finnish / Australian / German Nazi Space Opera

Iron Sky ***

Iron Sky, a Finnish – Australian – German co-production, shot in Australia, Germany and New York by a Finnish team of central creatives, with actors from all of the above nations and then some, is nothing if not ambitious. Made for only ten and a half million dollars, of which one and a half of that was crowd-sourced over the internet, the film boasts special effects (lots and lots and lots of ‘em) that are extremely impressive for that budget but also extremely charming in their DIY way. It’s really fun to watch the filmmakers squeeze every last dollar / euro out of their meagre budget, and knowing the budget is key to enjoying the film, because you have to approach it on its own terms, as a deliberate B-Movie with Cult Film ambitions.

The plot is ludicrous, of course, and deliberately so. It seems the Nazis went to the moon in 1945, with plans to one day re-invade the earth. Up on “the dark side of the moon”, they’ve built a huge base in the shape of a swastika and are mining something called Helium 3, while working on their Big New Weapon. When, in 2018, the US lands another moon-shot – solely to promote the re-election of a Sarah Palin-inspired President – the Nazis discover the wonders of the iPhone, and send a party down to get hold of some. Intrigue, sexual longing, and intergalactic battles ensue.

It’s an intriguing film because it’s not striving for the “exploitation” label. Although the whole Nazi thing is definitely of very questionable taste (as is the subplot involving said Nazis turning a black astronaut “Aryan”), the movie doesn’t trade in outlandish gore, salacious sex or other exploitative elements. Although it’s definitely camp at times (mainly due to Australia’s Peta Sergeant, who goes all out for the cause), it feels less deliberately jokey and actually more earnest: “Let’s make a HUGE science fiction film for the kind of money it takes to make a contained family drama!”

I’m pretty taken with director (and co-writer) Timo Vuorensola’s chutzpah. He’s really tried something big and weird, and he’s really pulled off something big and weird. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you like your sci-fi strange, and if you appreciate “little films that can – and do”, you just might groove to this. I did.

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