It’s undeniable that the premise behind sci-fi comedy Iron Sky (2012), from Finnish director Timo Vuorensola, has the power to immediately grab an audience’s attention. The arresting and potentially hilarious central concept sees a group of Nazis leave earth in 1945 for the dark side of the Moon, only to return to conquer the Earth in 2018. Yet despite its amusing, 1950s-style B-movie plot, Iron Sky is a surprisingly dull affair that lacks any genuinely funny moments or real lasting appeal.
Belying the fact that it’s a Finnish-German-Australian co-production, Vuorensola’s Iron Sky opts for low-brow, Hollywood-style sense of humour that relies on racial cliches and, equally as worrying, sexed-up female Nazis in push-up bras to entertain. Putting these concerns aside for a moment, it’s worth noting what makes this film at least a little more interesting from a production perspective – namely how it came to be made on a relatively low budget of €7.5 million.
The majority of the funds were drawn from traditional sources, but €1 million of it was sourced from online fans of the project involved through Facebook, YouTube or the film’s site ironsky.net. This collaborative element is certainly an intriguing approach to filmmaking, but not necessarily a fool-proof one. Whilst Iron Sky certainly looks impressive (particularly some of the sets and CGI space battles), it remains a highly generic film that lacks a sense of direction throughout.
Iron Sky far relies too heavily on its initial premise (essentially the film’s original tagline, “In 1945 The Nazis Went To The Moon. In 2018 They Are Coming Back.”) and fails to develop it into anything audiences can sink their teeth into. The overt political parody of a gung-ho, Sarah Palin-esque US President, aided by a bunny-boiler designer, quickly becomes tiresome. The rest of the characters are all horribly one-dimensional, meaning that watching them becomes something of a chore, as does having to trundle through its highly predictable plot.
Perhaps Iron Sky can be best appreciated as an experiment in filmmaking, but as a film to watch for entertainment value it fails almost completely. Hats off to Vuorensola and his production team for their efforts, but audiences would be better served by any other of this week’s other releases.
London’s Prince Charles Cinema will be exclusively screening Iron Sky for a whole week, beginning on 23 May. Book your tickets at princecharlescinema.com.