When I was a kid I read Super Villain Team-Up: Red Skull and Doctor Doom, a comic book where the evil Red Skull sets up a secret Nazi base on the Moon. Since then, I have thought Space Nazis from the Moon would be a wonderful idea for a movie. It’s so wonderfully kitsch, so full of B-movie goodness, it amazes me that it’s not a whole genre by itself. But rather than Nazis with Flying Saucers, Hollywood gives us furious dirtbags with fast cars. Hollywood, missing the boat entirely, left it to a gallant band of filmmaker from Finland to make my campy dreams of Nazi saucer fleets and jackbooted space suits come true.
Readers of the Midnight Monster Show (Hi, Mom!) will be amazed to learn that this might be the last time I talk about Iron Sky. Gasp! I know. You are probably stunned. You should be. I hardly know where to start. I am so excited; I finally saw Iron Sky.
For those of you who have not been following this film’s journey to the screen, I’ll fill you in. Iron Sky is a science fiction comedy about Nazis planning to invade Earth from their secret base on the dark side of the Moon.
In 1945, a bunch of Nazis fled the crumbling Third Reich in flying saucers. Unobserved from Earth, they established a Fourth Reich. Over the next seventy-five years, they built an armada of warships powered by helium-3, an element that produces vast amounts of energy and lies in large deposits on the far side of the Moon. All of this is handled in a neat bit of exposition in grade school teacher and heroine, Renate Richter’s (Julia Dietze) lesson for her students.
Back on Earth, the President of the United States (Stephanie Paul) has spent most of her first term trying to ensure her reelection to second. In pursuit of that, she has sent the first manned mission to the Moon in fifty years. To curry favor with African-American voters, the administration selected (seemingly at random) James Washington (Christopher Kirby), a black guy to put on crew. Publicly, the mission is a “wave the flag” exercise. The President’s advisors sold this trip to the Moon to her as a means have to uplifting her electoral fortunes. There is a clandestine rationale for the mission, to search the Moon for lucrative helium-3 deposits.
The two Americans land and while looking around, stumble on a huge Nazi helium-3 mining operation. Washington’s fellow astronaut is killed and Washington is taken prisoner. Here we get a little tour of the Fourth Reich. There is a weird mix of 1940’s technology and super-science that I rather like. It’s suitably dark, steam-punky, and just the sort of place space Nazis would feel at home. It’s a fun mix of Lilly Marlene and laser guns.
While questioning Washington, Doktor Richter (Tilo Prückner) and the evil Deputy Fuhrer Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) discover Washington’s smart phone, which has more computing power than the Nazis largest computer. Doktor Richter — a mad scientist if there ever was one — hooks the phone up to the Fourth Reich’s ultimate weapon, the Gotterdammerung. Computing power was all that was lacking to fire up the war machine and invade Earth. The smart phone, while able to bring the Gotterdammerung, online, didn’t have the battery power to keep it running. The Fourth Reich needs more i-phones!
Washington also claims to know the President of the United States. This intrigues Adler, who volunteers to go on a mission to Earth for more “telephone computers” and pave the way for the Nazi invasion of Earth.
Iron Sky is a blend of political satire, B-movie silliness and dark undertones. I do have to admit, I was worried going into Iron Sky that premise of space Nazis invading Earth from the dark side of the Moon wouldn’t be meaty enough to carry a full length film. The script is smart. The script is so smart, in fact, that I wonder if some people will miss the satire completely; just like the folks who watch Stephen Colbert and think he’s being sincere.
Like I said, there was a tremendous sense of expectation on my part. I have wanted to see Iron Sky for a couple of years. Did the film live up to the hype for me? Heck, yeah. I have no serious reservations. Hollywood was never going to make a movie like Iron Sky and I’m just glad the film got made.
If you don’t get a chance to see it in the theater, Iron Sky will be released to BluRay and DVD this August.