By Chris Rebholz
Oct 15, 2012 10:41 AM EST

Iron Sky Blu-ray Review

Iron Sky is worth at least one watch, preferably when you have nothing better to do...
Iron Sky Blu-ray Review
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For sheer audacity of premise, you'd be hard pressed to come up with a more outrageous setup than that which is front and center in Iron Sky. In this film's (literally) lunatic alternate universe, a horde of Nazis has managed to get to the dark side of the moon during the closing days of World War II, building a swastika shaped moon base while raising several generations of Aryans who are primed to return to Earth to instill their particular brand of order. In the meantime, a Sarah Palin-esque President of the United States has decided her best chance of getting reelected to a second term is by sending a new mission to the moon, complete with a handsome black model as one of the astronauts. When these two radically different world views collide, you get the weird and wacky world of this film.
A lunar landing module makes its way toward the surface of the moon, where it sets down and there unfurls a couple of banners that proclaim "Yes She Can", with a brunette politician who bears a striking resemblance to a certain former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate. Two American astronauts dismount and begin tromping across the moonscape, where one stumbles upon the rather incredible discovery of a huge pre-existing moonbase manned by German soldiers. That astronaut meets a quick demise, but the other astronaut is captured and taken inside the moonbase. It turns out this man is in fact not a real astronaut, but a towering African American model named James Washington (Christopher Kirby) who it turns out was chosen by the Palin-esque President (Stephanie Paul) simply for the marketing opportunities it provides for her reelection campaign. Washington is therefore spectacularly ill equipped to handle anything, now having been captured by a bunch of Nazis who are actively plotting a return to Earth to inaugurate what one supposes would be a Fourth Reich of fascist rule.
Washington is prodded for information by a crazy Nazi scientist whose daughter Renate (Julia Dietze) is primed to become the wife of the man scheduled to be the next Führer, Klaus Adler (Götz Otto). The scientist injects Washington with a solution meant to turn him into a true Aryan, which only has the effect of morphing Washington into one strange looking quasi-Caucasian. In the meantime it becomes blatantly obvious that Renate finds Washington, in whatever color he may currently be appearing, far more attractive than her future Nazi husband-to-be. With this bizarre set of circumstances set in place, Klaus decides to return to Earth to retrieve a bevy of cell phones, a technology Washington has introduced them to, to use the devices' minicomputers to power their space blimp, to get the Nazi hordes transported back to Earth.
When Klaus and Washington return to Earth, with the promise that Washington will get Klaus to the American President, it turns out that Renate has stowed away. Though she insists she's there to support Klaus, she's at least as interested in being with Washington. Klaus and Renate end up meeting the President's smarmy publicity director, Vivian Wagner (Peta Sergeant), who is initially in damage control mode since it has been assumed the moon mission has ended in disaster, but who then sees Klaus and Renate as an exciting new marketing opportunity. Iron Sky is perhaps at its smartest, if also its scariest, in this aspect, as Wagner slightly changes their swastika logo, subtly rewrites their National Socialist talking points, and then appropriates their "peace and security for all Mankind" messaging for the President to deliver. In the meantime, Washington has been sidelined and has become a street person carrying around a warning sign that an invasion of moon Nazis is imminent.
Things devolve rather quickly after this, especially once Klaus' superior, the current Führer (Udo Kier), shows up to make sure his underling is doing what he's supposed to be doing. The film starts to stumble more seriously here, with some tonal imbalances that tend to undercut the already bizarre humor. When you have a supposedly major character dispatched by gun toting Nazi storm troopers it tends to put a damper on any incipient hilarity. But the film has already teetered precariously in trying to be provocative without delivering enough gut busting humor. In fact the most effective bits here are smaller moments, as when Washington and Renate are taken in by the police after an on street scuffle, and Washington, who looks exactly like every frightening street person you've ever seen, goes off on a rant about having been on the dark side of the moon with a bunch of Nazis who are primed to invade the Earth.
Iron Sky benefits from its completely unique and unabashedly wacky premise, but it's also never quite as funny as it should be. The film has a number of really excellent ideas, and in fact some of its social and political commentary is fairly on point, but there's something that's just slightly off here, something that keeps the film from completely bursting through to the heights of good satire.
On Blu-ray there isn't much to say about the film. It certainly looks and sounds alright, but given the low-budget nature of the movie, it lacks the usual punch that favors most blockbuster films. As for special features, they are all packed onto one disc, starting with an audio commentary with Producer Samuli Torssonen and Director Timo Vuorensola, a making of featurette, behind the scenes footage and the theatrical trailer as well as some teasers.
Iron Sky has a fun premise and it works in some areas, but there's a lack of tonal balance here that tends to undercut the film's humor. This is a film that may have sounded great on paper or in the planning stages, but just slightly misses the mark some of the time. Still, it offers some flat out funny scenes, even if one feels the actors are generally trying way too hard to compensate for half baked writing. Despite not quite being as funny as it really should have been,  Iron Sky is worth at least one watch, preferably when you have nothing better to do..
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MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 93 minutes
Distributed By: Entertainment One

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About Chris Rebholz

FlickDirect, Chris  Rebholz

When Chris was but a wee lad growing up in the slums of suburban New Jersey, he happened to rent a little movie called Tron. Then his head exploded. It was at the moment that he realized that he loved movies, and since then Chris has made it a habit of renting movies, going to the movies, discussing his favorite movies, and anything else in between when it comes to that genre. Read more reviews and content by .

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