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Iron Sky

Iron Sky

Go back to where you came from, space Nazis

dir: Timo Vuorensola

What the hell was all that about?

At first I was disappointed because I thought it was going to be a biography about actress Ione Skye, the 80s / 90s It Girl, daughter of folk singer Donovan, former wife of Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, current wife of irritating Australian singer Ben Lee (!), star of such beloved classics as Say Anything and Gas Food Lodging, and mother to several hundred children. Surely that’s more important than Space Nazis?

But there is absolutely nothing about Ione Skye in Iron Sky. Iron Sky might have benefitted a little by including something about her, since it contained almost everything else in the known universe in its running time. Nothing about wavy-haired ingénues from another time, though, sad to say.

Instead it has a premise that’s pretty much the beginning and the end of the entire thinking behind the entire film that employed hundreds of people for several months: Nazis on the Moon. What else do you need when you’ve got such a ‘killer’ idea?

Apart from the premise, which isn’t as outlandish these days, since everything’s seemingly up for grabs, in fact it seems downright quaint in comparison to much of the filth that comes out these days, the movie (if such a descriptor is applicable) doesn’t have that much else going for it other than what I’m sure the people making it thought was satire. I can’t really imagine what else a flick would be trying to do if it has a lead character in it trying to portray a President Sarah Palin.

Sure, she’s not called Palin, she’s just called the President (as played by Australian actress Stephanie Paul), but it’s glowingly obvious. The glasses, the hairstyle, the Oval Office stuffed to the eaves with bear pelts and hunting trophies: it’s not grand subtlety we’re talking about here.

However, what you’re thinking, as an intelligent and highly sexually desirable reader of one of my reviews who hasn’t seen this and will never pay good money to see it (like I did, much to my regret, even with a membership discount at Cinema Nova), is this: what’s the point of Palin ailing and flailing here, and indeed the entire existence of this movie?

Nothing. There is no point, they just thought it would be funny.

If it is funny, it’s funny in some way not immediately discernible to the non-Finnish or non-German eye. This flick is a collaboration quite extraordinary in its realisation (at least its existence is more interesting than the flick it produced, akin to finding out Stephen Hawking, Nick Cave and Germaine Greer collaborated on an erotica e-book called Fifty Shades of Just Stop Already), if not its end product. Australians. Germans. Finnish people. All banding together for the common good.

If this is what happens when our great nations work together, then let it not happen ever again. The money surely is not worth it, and it spits in the eye of collaboration and cultural melting pots and technical diversity and all that jazz hands stuff.

The aforementioned President, concerned about her re-election chances in 2016, organises the sending of astronauts to the moon again. Her campaign slogan, Yes She Can, refers to her plans to put an African-American man on the moon, which, apparently, is more of an achievement than putting an Asian up there or an Inuit. When the astronauts get there, they are horrified (well, the one who survives) to learn that the place isn’t as barren as any sane person could have expected.

In fact, the Nazis have somehow been there for the last 70 years or so. They have a moon base. They have the same uniforms, but powerful technology they didn’t have access to then, and wouldn’t have now. They still believe in their inherent awesomeness, and that the Aryan Way should be the Only Way. They indoctrinate their children into the same bullshit, frozen as they are in a kind of Teutonic amber.

Whatever the beauty of their existence on the moon, it has always been understood that one day they will come back. It’s not obvious at any point whether they know that the Nazis lost the war 72 years ago, or that Hitler is dead. They have no communication with Earth, and as such have no idea what’s going on down there.

Being Nazis, though, they don’t care. Whatever shape the world is in, they intend to conquer it like they planned way back when. Presumably that’s where the fun really starts, but only for the people who match the master race profile.

When they capture the astronaut James Washington (Christopher Kirby), they can’t believe that one of the untermenschen (sub-humans) has somehow made it to the moon, and so they think it presages an invasion by the unGerman hordes they fear so much. What will become of their holy racial purity then? Not to mention their precious bodily fluids?

The Nazis still say ‘Heil Hitler!’ in the tradition salute, only to be reminded constantly as to who the moon Fuhrer is, a guy whose name probably translates to Cornhole (the always reptilian-looking Udo Kier). He seems somewhat unwell, often coughing. No-one ever coughs in film without being well on the way to dying. No-one ever recovers from it. The slightest cough is always lung cancer or AIDS or leprosy.

So the Moon Fuhrer coughs, and his second in command, Adler (Gotz Otto) smells a promotion in his sickly leader’s breath. Adler wants to be the one ruling the moon, and who can blame him. It’s the moon, after all.

Who wouldn’t want to say to other people at a cocktail party, after the inevitable question of “so, what do you do for a crust?” to respond with, “well, I rule the moon. Tough job, but someone’s got to crush the slaves whose labour keeps everything, including the trains, running on time.”

The evil Nazis, as if there’s any other kind, even have a process by which they intend to make Washington, the astronaut, an Aryan. With just a couple of Albiniser injections, they turn him into a pale, pasty blonde blue-eyed chap more concerned with knotting a sweater over his shoulders and eschewing the hot sauce in preference to sauerkraut when next he eats.

The astronaut comes back to earth in a Nazi flying saucer in the company of the number 1 Nazi pretender Adler, his genetically superior girlfriend Renate (Julie Deitze), and their ambitions to prepare the way for the moon blitzkrieg that will doubtless follow. They’re not even vaguely phased by the world they encounter.

To say the newly white-African-American chap is the worst actor in this production underplays all the bad work done by everyone else. Everyone is mostly terrible in this, so it would be hard to differentiate between the levels of shiteness. Of course, no-one with any working knowledge of the world or movies expects either the Spanish Inquisition or the acting to be good in something with Moon Nazis. It’s not going to be forced onto high school classes after they’ve slogged through Schindler’s List.

The issue is you expect it to be terrible in a different way from what they offer here. It’s cheap and cheesy, but there’s nothing transgressive about it. It might be camp and deranged, but it’s bloodless, harmless stuff. It’s doing nothing naughty with a premise that’s meant to sell us on itself just by yelling “It’s NAZIS! IN SPACE! C’mon, what’s not to like?”

I wasn’t exactly expecting something along the lines of Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, but something that deliberately repugnant, trashy and racy would have justified at least some of my time and money. Instead, the real target of this weak satire is, um, Sarah Palin? American unilateralism? The greed of governments in pursuit of energy, fuel, lebensraum? North Korea and its horrible dictatorship and delusional claims to greatness?

About the only moment of wit comes from true believer Renate catching a screening of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. On her home turf, The Great Dictator is held up to be a loving tribute to their beloved spiritual leader, being the man with the stupid moustache and aggressive public speaking manner and ambivalent relationship with the tribes of Israel, but that’s only because the only copy of the film they possess has been cut down to a short film. When she sits through 2 hours of the real deal, she realises that perhaps National Socialism isn’t the wonderful ideology she long believed it to be.

There’s plenty more to criticise and mock about it, but there’s really no point. It wouldn’t be fair. If it had been smuttier and crazier, perhaps I’d care enough to label it the kind of thing you could drunkenly watch on SBS or World Movies on a Saturday night and derive some enjoyment from it, guilty or otherwise.

As it stands, it’s just a cheesy movie with what it thinks is a killer premise in search of a genuine justification for existing, which it definitely doesn’t have.

And, to add insult to boredom, it threatens, at movie’s end, a sequel set possibly on Mars. Nazis on Mars! How excite-zzzzzzzzzzz

5 reasons we should forget about getting the Nazis off the moon, why not devote time and energy to getting the Golden Dawn Nazis out of the Greek Parliament out of 10

“Are you aware that you are kissing a black man?” – yes, you Kraut cracker, we’re aware that we’re kissing a black man – Iron Sky