Saturday, March 16, 2013

Iron Sky

Over the past few weeks, I have reviewed nothing but the 2012 Oscar nominees.  I need a break, and I am dubbing that break "Iron Sky."  I stumbled across this movie thanks to Netflix, and IMDb claimed that people who liked Iron Sky also liked the Men in Black trilogy, Galaxy Quest, Dredd and, uh, Tank Girl.  Those are surprisingly likable "similar to" picks, so I decided to read up on Iron Sky a little.  I got as far as the first half of the first sentence of the Netflix description before I hit "play."
Secret moon Nazis attacking Earth?  That sounds positively amazing.  Sign me up.

The year is 2018, because this is a historical document from our future.  Take note, students!  America has sent a manned flight to the moon because the President, a Sarah Palin analogue (), decided that the easiest way to gain minority support was to send a black astronaut to the moon.  I don't necessarily follow that logic, but in all fairness, the film doesn't address how successful that plan is.  It should be noted that the astronauts did not land on the sunny, closer side of the moon; they landed near the dark side of the moon.  That turns out to be a bad idea, for reasons that do not include prog rock or laser shows.
Yes, that is an astronaut being executed by a Nazi stormtrooper
It seems that the Nazis sent a group to colonize the moon in the last days of World War II because of course they did.  In the intervening 70 years, they have built an advanced society that honestly believes that they are going to invade the Earth and bring peace to the planet.
How?  Military-grade cleavage.
Apparently, there has been some disconnect over the years between the military branch of the moon Nazis and the propaganda branch.  Klaus (), the heir apparent to the Moon Führer (played by because why not?), is well aware of the horrors that the Nazis will drop on Earth, but his prospective love interest/Earth expert/propaganda teacher, Renate (), actually believes that Nazis will improve the world.  She believes that the Nazis were well-loved, and references the "ten-minute" film tribute, The Great Dictator, as proof.  However, once the Nazis are face-to-face with modern Americans, they realize that they might be a little outclassed; the surviving astronaut's smartphone is a more powerful computing device than the room-sized computers that the Nazis have.
Of course all Nazi scientists look like Einstein
To gain the necessary knowledge and materials to conquer the world, Renate and Klaus head to Earth.  But how will Renate react when she sees that the world isn't eagerly awaiting the return of the Nazis with open arms?  And what will happen when Klaus decides to rain hellfire from space?
Answer: B-movie space battles, that's what

When you watch a movie about Moon Nazis, you can be reasonably sure that the acting will not be a main priority.  To its credit, Iron Sky's acting isn't painfully bad.  is actually pretty decent as Renate, even though her character is (arguably) the stupidest person in the film.  She had a silly role and didn't do it half-assed, so kudos to her.  How dumb was her part?  She was undressed by a depressurized hull.
Dietze's role was pretty thankless, but the rest of the cast had even less to work with.  got to speak in stereotypical black slang and was the butt of very generic black jokes.  It gets worse when his character is Aryan-ized; if you thought the jokes about black people were weak, wait until you get the jokes about someone who used to be black.
"Nein!  I do not want to wait for pain!"
was mediocre as the main villain; he was unlikable enough, but the gags kept him from coming across as truly evil.  was actually a pretty good choice to play a creepy German character, but his part was small and underwhelming.  was...well, she was an obvious analogue to Sarah Palin, so your appreciation of her depends on how funny you find broadly drawn Palin jokes.
I am jealous that Fake Palin talks to holograms, though
Rounding out the cast, was almost fun as a somewhat skanky political advisor.  Almost.

The main problem for most of the cast was that the script for Iron Sky is pretty awful.  There's not much you can do when you're in a movie about Moon Nazis and the film isn't very much fun.  The script is certainly to blame for most of that --- the "jokes" barely deserve finger quotations, much less actual ones --- but the general plot was also underwhelming.  Iron Sky is about Moon Nazis invading Earth.  There is no excuse for extended chunks of boredom.  And yet, the audience is subjected to sub-SNL-quality political satire to fill the gaps between astronauts getting shot and space battles.
That is, ultimately, the worst thing about Iron Sky: it should be a lot of fun, but it thinks it is being clever.  It is not clever in the least.  Director and co-writer is mostly to blame for this clusterfuck, but when you have characters acting like complete jackasses, with zero chance of any comedic return, that blame deserves to be spread out a little.

I was legitimately excited to watch Iron Sky, and the first few scenes on the moon didn't disappoint.  Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is fairly slow and tedious.  I wasn't looking for Shakespeare, but I was hoping for something gleefully stupid.  Instead, Iron Sky is filled with characters trying to be funny, but not quite understanding how to make that happen.  You might think that such a drab effort would sour me on stupid Nazi movies, but that is not the case.  In fact, one of the worst movie studios working today managed to make a far more amusing stupid Nazi movie at almost the exact same time as Iron Sky...and I'll review it tomorrow.  Meanwhile, Iron Sky gets a little credit for its premise and the opening scenes, but it was a sincere disappointment from a "laugh and drink to this" perspective.

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