If you have not seen Iron Sky (dir. Timo Vuorensola, 2012), march (there is no real goose-stepping in it or I would make that bad joke) to the nearest rental store or your favorite on-line streaming source and get it. Don’t read the negative reviews about it or go its Facebook site until you have seen the movie, or you will fall into the kind of Weltschmerz despair that will keep you from enjoying the ride. And what a ride it is: Nazis flee to the Dark Side of the Moon in 1945 and spend the next 75 years preparing their return to (yep, take over) Earth. The headquarters/fortress looks like the Pentagon, except it is in the shape of a swastika; a blonde beauty (Julia Dietze) with perfect skin prepares her students for the message of friendship that National Socialists will bring with their invasion, err, triumphant home-coming; the African-American model/astronaut falls into the Moon Nazis’ hands and gets “albino_ized” – whitened – against his will; two Nazi soldiers stare at the centerfold of an Earth porn magazine and try and figure out why the hair “down there” on women looks like “our great Führer’s mustache.” If there is a bad joke or science fiction film allusion or a scene in poor taste that the movie misses, it’s probably in the director’s cut. At least I hope so.
The movie was several years in the making, a Finnish-German-Australian co-production that relied heavily on Wreck-a-Movie – an early crowd-funding site that asked anyone and everyone for suggestions on what should be in the movie, and for donations while they were at it. It is a small wonder that the film is not the length of Wagner’s Ring Cycle (don’t worry, the reference makes it into the movie). So perhaps fans of an idea are not the best source of good filmmaking…but I fear that a critically-acclaimed version of a film on Moon Nazis would have been, well, either uncomfortable or boring. Maybe both. Reviewers’ complaints about bad acting and a failed plot line missed the rather tricky sleight-of-hand that it took to make a movie born of a persistent campy-fascination with Nazis that cinema audiences and an awful lot of people in general hang on to. Even a cult film like Starship Troopers (dir. Paul Verhoeven, 1997) only dared dance on the edge of Nazi allusions, with cinema-goers fighting for the right to be the first to point out the Gestapo-like uniforms here or the references to war propaganda movies there.
So, to summarize: Iron Sky is not subtle. Any jokes anyone has ever made about Nazis abound – but then the same goes for the films’ Americans, whose only positive contribution to humankind was apparently Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 The Great Dictator. Spoiler alert: The Moon Nazis don’t win, primarily because every country in the United Nations (except Finland) has a secret spaceship program ready to nuke any and all impending threats to Earth. Second spoiler alert: After defeating the Moon Nazis, the Earth’s nuclear powers turn on each other, a scene in outer space that it is not nearly as exciting as the fisticuffs action in the UN conference room after the U.S. lays claim to the vast, untapped resource of “helium-3” on the moon. The crowd-funded sequel to the movie, Iron Sky: The Coming Race assures me that all I need to know about it is the title. Nay-sayers might read the lack of a script, contracts for actors, or the general absence of a plan into that statement. I can’t think of a more winning combination.