Sunday, February 17, 2013

REVIEW: Iron Sky (2012)

Nazi films have taken the path of bad horror franchises. At first, they were legitimately heartfelt and dramatic, with real weight to them – like Schindler’s List, American History X and Defiance, among numerous others. Then they went down the path of self-parody, as Inglourious Basterds shows us. It got even stupider when we introduced zombie Nazis into the mix, much like various franchises introduced lackluster and often stupid premises. And with Iron Sky, the Nazi film genre has gone completely off its meds and into cartoony nonsense.

I mean it, people; this has to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Nazis on the moon. That’s all you need to know about the plot – Nazis on the friggin’ moon. How could this idea possibly produce anything above wall-banging inanity and drooling ineptitude? It can’t. It really can’t, but hell, God knows it tries anyway. Iron Sky, people!

Director: Timo Vuorensola
Starring: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby

We start off with, what else? Nazis on the moon. We see a couple of American astronauts bumbling around on the moon, barely able to stand up – hur hur, look at the dumb Americans! – when they come across the Nazi moon base. The Nazis kill off one guy, but capture the other one and take him prisoner for some reason – why don’t they just kill him too? Because otherwise there would be no movie, and Lord knows a world without this would truly be a world that nobody would want to live in.

Meanwhile on the moon base, we see Richter, a super-hot Nazi babe teacher who tells the class to talk in English and review how their moon colony came to be: apparently it’s about what you’d expect; they escaped to the moon and are planning to come back and take over the Earth. That’s all we get, and only then so the audience will know what’s going on. Isn’t that just amazing screenwriting? When you just flat out have the characters say the backstory exposition-style in a few lazily done lines? And for that matter, there are a lot of holes in this story. How did the Nazis escape to the moon at all, without anyone noticing? Did they just point over the world’s shoulder and go “LOOK! The imminent threat of a Cold War!” and then run away in a puff of smoke, like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon?

"Now I'm going to teach you kids how to bake Swastika-shaped cookies!"

So it’s revealed that the astronaut they captured is a black man, and since the Nazis are a pure Aryan race, they’ve never even seen a black person. Hell, they don’t even know black people exist. They just think there’s “something wrong with his skin.” That’s just charming, isn’t it? He tries to plead with them by throwing out all the random German words he knows, like Volkswagen and other dumbass American things to say. Because, as this movie will reinforce time and time again, Americans are all friggin’ idiots with no dignity or class at all, with no exceptions whatsoever.

He manages to disarm all the guards, though, and escapes easily. Uh, I’m sorry, how have these guys been self-contained for years with no problems? They get their asses kicked by the first guy they catch! For an unstoppable military force they’re pretty wimpy…these guys ought to be mall cops, not soldiers of the Fourth Reich on the moon! Sheesh.

Anyway, he somehow gets teamed up with that Richter chick and accidentally opens up a gate that will suck them all out into the breathless void of space…

I just love how in every single bad movie ever set on a spaceship, the main characters OF COURSE hit the very convenient switch on the wall that opens up a vacuum into the deadest reaches of space. Like, why put it there unattended at all? Wouldn't it make more sense to just put it in a 'BREAK GLASS IF NEEDED' case like a fire alarm, so that stuff like this doesn't happen every other day? I guess I just don't get the incredible complexities of space nazis.

…it happens! They’re not incompetent, really!

While they’re trying to hang on for their lives, all of Richter’s clothes blow up and leave her mostly looking like a Nazi porn star (see pic above). Nazi pornography definitely isn’t what I thought I’d see when I woke up this morning. If it turns you on, great! But if I see a buff looking stud with the acting talents of Jean Claude Van Damme on horse tranquilizers stumble in and ask this girl to heil his Hitler…I’m out of this flick faster than you can say Nazisploitation.

Meanwhile on Earth, the president of the United States certainly doesn’t look anything like a certain much-maligned political figure from a few years ago…

she hangs out in the Oval Office in sweatpants and workout clothes and does nothing but run on a treadmill all day, while promoting insane propaganda to the masses - HA! How clever of them? No, it's mostly just retarded.

…oh, screw sarcasm; it’s a frigging Sarah Palin reference. It’s so blatant you might as well just flat out have her talk about seeing Russia from her backyard and spoiling her kids with the campaign money and everything. It’s so 5 years ago though! Who makes jokes about Sarah Palin anymore? This is a 2012 movie? Please…I’ve seen more subtle humor in Jim Carrey movies.

So back on the moon, the Nazis tie up that black guy, whose name is James Washington by the way, and force him to listen to loud and annoying German radio broadcasts in an attempt to turn him into a Nazi. He delivers some truly cringeworthy lines that you can really see cause the actor pain. I mean it’s bad; it’s really, really bad. Calling a bunch of Nazis “homey” and using words like “trippin’” isn’t exactly the height of diplomatic relations intelligence, you know. It’s not really the kind of thing the US would pride itself on.

So they turn him into...

…aw, God, really? That looks like what would happen if a snowman and a horribly wet, bedraggled cat fused together into one horribly misshapen abomination. It’s horrendous! If this doesn’t appear in your nightmares tonight…you are a braver man than I.

Oh, and what’s this? A reference to Dr. Strangelove? I’m sure Stanley Kubrick would be proud, yeah. Because this movie and Dr. Strangelove are on the exact same level of comedic wit. Why do I get the idea this is like a monkey paying homage to the works of William Shakespeare?

James, Richter and their commander, Adler, end up going to Earth to meet the President and get into shenanigans that got old in the 80s, retreading ground that isn’t even retro right now; just lame. Is this movie really pulling the whole 'strange looking aliens try to approach a bunch of black dudes playing ball' thing? I thought that shit died 20 years ago. But I guess not. Somehow they find the person they’re looking for in a second: this one chick who has some serious anger problems who seems to run the space missions. They kidnap her and kick James out of the truck, leaving him homeless on the streets.

They interrogate the woman they kidnapped who says she’ll bring them to the President, which she does, promising that they can help her win the election. The President sees the opportunity, too, and starts using Richter’s speeches as her own, which gets a lot of good press. Ha ha. Implying that the current American population is so dumb that they’d fall for the same mistakes that Nazi Germany did back in the day? That’s…actually a little bit clever. It’s not genius or anything – for it to be, we’d have to really see more of the context this world exists in – but it’s a little funny, I’ll give the movie that.

But here’s something that’s not – we fast forward three months ahead and see that James is now a hobo on the streets and the Nazis are involved in the upper class politics. So how is that a big difference from before the time lapse? Everything seems to be pretty much the same.

We see that one chick trying to get it on with Adler, who rejects her because his first love is and always will be the Fuhrer. How heartbreaking. He’s about to call his Nazi buddies when they just show up there…somehow…I’m really not sure how. There’s a lot of boring dialogue and, long story short, he kills his leader and takes over the position himself. He then calls in all his forces to come and attack the Earth, prompting an all-out war. Hooray, violence and destruction!

This still from the new Die Hard movie brought to you by Iron Sky.

The President is happy because “wartime presidents always get elected for a second term.” Isn’t this political satire just the best? Isn’t it so subtle and understated?

They all end up on the moon somehow, and the movie is trying to force upon us a contrived romance between a sheltered Aryan woman from the moon and a man who has been turned into a slightly slimmer version of the Yeti from Ice Age:

Because, yeah, that's a romance that really brings a goddamn fire to my heart. When I think of great romances in cinema I will think of this. Hell, thinking of these two in the bedroom? Totally hot.

Charming, yet again. The US and the rest of the world launch all their spaceships…yes, they all have spaceships now…and fire on the Moon. The US ship is led by that one chick who got rejected by the crazy Nazi, Adler, from earlier – she now wears a costume so stupid that even the worst Power Rangers villains would scoff at it.; I can't take that costume seriously. Every time she's on screen the mood is totally ruined. It's not even funny so much as embarrassing...and I don't get her character arc at all; she got rejected by that Adler nazi guy and so she turns crazy psycho war-bitch on us? It's totally forced, and makes no sense.

To make a long story short, Adler gets axed by Richter, and James fights off a scientist who looks like Albert Einstein’s retarded cousin, and is about as nuts as all that, too. Meanwhile on Earth, the world leaders discover that the Moon Nazis actually have had a resource called Helium-3 for years now that could have made energy infinitely sustainable on Earth, and…what breaks out is honestly one of the funniest images I have seen in ages, as the world leaders start jumping out of their seats and pummeling the shit out of one another:

Okay, that's pretty damn cool. If the whole movie was just cut out and this was given to us as a minute-long animated short, I'd give it five stars out of five.

On the Moon again, it turns out even though the colony just had the shit bombed out of it by the entire world’s space militia, mostly everyone is OK! I guess the US had their nukes set to 'safe' mode. They all wake up just in time to witness the whole reason this movie existed at all, their first sight of a white woman kissing a black man:

Hooray, two characters we don't give a shit about are together at last! My heart soars.

That’s right, James turned himself black again. How did he know what to do, being that he’s not in any way a scientist and had no formal training with any of the equipment in that crazy laboratory? Ssssshhhh.

We end on a very odd image of the sun shining through the hole in the moon and…blacking out cities on the Earth.

What is that supposed to mean? What does it have to do with the rest of the story? I dunno! Hey, for that matter, seeing as this movie is supposed to be set in 2018, how is it even an election year at all? It would only be halfway through a term for the 2016 presidential elect! Do the people behind this just not know basic math? You know, I’m starting to think this movie is just crap.

I guess it had a few funny moments here and there – sometimes the satire, while heavy handed and rather stupid, actually did get a laugh or two in spite of that fact, and I enjoyed the manic energy everything had – certainly nothing felt boring. But Iron Sky is just too shallow to really be a genuinely good film. It doesn’t go deep enough with its themes and isn’t particularly clever or witty, and the jokes are all pretty passé and banal. It’s entertaining at times, and not everything about it is bad, but calling it a legitimately good flick is a stretch. The plot holes are too abundant and the story is mostly squandered in favor of silly slapstick and dated, tired humor that nobody will get in five years’ time. If you really want to see Nazis on the moon…well, this is the movie for you. The rest of us can safely pass on this.

Images copyright of their original owners; I do not own any of them.