Iron Sky (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Iron Sky</strong> (2012)

(On Cable TV, February 2013) I was really hoping that this film would be good.  After all, this is (more or less) the same crew of filmmakers that got their start producing sci-fi parody series Star Wreck in a converted apartment.  To see them ascend to the lower rungs of the B-movie world with Iron Sky is a bit of a triumph for DIY filmmakers; a proof that sci-fi fans with enough drive and talent can end up involved in pro-level filmmaking.  And for a few minutes at a time, Iron Sky is an impressive piece of work.  The special-effects in the film are top-notch, and the ludicrous premise of Nazis hiding in a base on the far side of the moon is good for a few conceptual chuckles.  Sadly, the best moments of Iron Sky are ruined as soon as characters start talking, or when the script starts mugging for laughs.  To put it bluntly, Iron Sky falls into the age-old trap of presenting a bad script with good special effects.  But the bad script isn’t just bad in Hollywood’s charmingly “dumb and generic” way: it’s actively bad in that it’s riddled with dated humor (Sarah Palin jokes in 2012, really?), incoherence, on-the-nose dialogue, meaningless moments and unacceptable racial stereotypes.  (For a film that congratulates itself on laughing at Nazis, Iron Sky has perhaps the single worst jive-talking black character I’ve seen in a looong time.)  The dumb moments extend to a parody of the “Mad Hitler” Internet meme inserted without much grace, extend to a lack of narrative connectivity as events jump all over the place without being connected smoothly, and go all the way to a downer of an ending that flies in the face of the film’s comedy until then.  Not even Julia Dietze as a repentant Nazi schoolteacher can make up for those low points.  To be fair, though, the special effects are very nice, and the film’s most amusing moments come in the last act as a terrestrial fleet of spacecrafts go fighting it out over the Moon, facing an iPod-powered Nazi death machine.  There’s enough here to make a viewing worthwhile (especially to SF fans, special effects geeks or DIY filmmakers looking for inspiration) but Iron Sky simply should have been much, much better than this.

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