Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Iron Sky's Political Agendas: A Movie Review

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*spoiler alert!

Director: Timo Vuorensola.

Writers: Johanna Sinisalo (original story), Jarmo Puskala, Michael Kalesniko, and Timo Vuorensola.

Cast: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby and Götz Otto.

Nazis have fled to space! Who would have thunk it? In the movie Iron Sky, the last remaining survivors from this regiment fled to the dark side of the moon and spent the last 70 or so years plotting to take over Earth again. But nobody told them that World War II is over and life has gone forwards ... or maybe not.

But now they want to come back, with no thanks to astronaut James Washington (Christopher Kirby). He found their moon base and that does not bode well for humanity. When this space explorer gets captured, the Nazi's plans are accelerated. That leads to some humourous nods to B movie culture and retro-a-go-go.

The music is what sells this product. The driving magic by Slovenian industrial music group Laibach keeps this film strong. Even the bits of orchestral power numbers from the likes of Wagner give this sci-fi product an operatic feel. Without it, this film is a passer.

The insane silliness of the concept, people lost in space but managing to return to Earth after many years, has been done to death in many a variation. The idea of seeing Nazis re-integrate into Earth society is humourous, but to have an African-American Washington turn Caucasian is wholly misrepresented. His punch does not have the same punch as an Eddie Murphy comedy. But does that mean that some cultures are losing their identity? This idea establishes the tone for the rest of the movie, but with Washington not always in on the action, this message is nearly missed.

The film is designed to be extravagant. To have Nazis be "the alien" is one way to distinguish just how far apart they are in ideology to the rest of the world. Perhaps one of the better moments of this film is in the moment where German instructor Renate Richter (Julia Dietzer) reveals how her Reich thought Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" was insulting. Chaplin's playfulness with a balloon-globe certainly had people laughing and scholars pondering.

World leaders tend to have the weight of the world upon them because of the decisions they make. Even the US President (Stephanie Paul) made the mistake of saying that the type of leaders who are not forgotten are those who can start a war. Big or small, it does not matter. If this political message about greed over land titles is meant to be blatant, this film succeeds.

Instead of Independence Day, this film switches gears to become a product like Doctor Strangelove. The digital landscape of the moon is great. It fits right in with the aesthetics from classic series like Space 1999 and the original Battlestar Galactica. That retro feel only gets better. The space battles are familiar and a few viewers may think of X-wing Fighters getting ready to storm the Death Star. Thankfully there is no trench scene.

More stories are planned for Iron Sky, and producer Tero Kaukomaa says two more films are being planned. Hopefully this trilogy will succeed in where Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow has failed.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

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