Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Iron Sky

When it comes to Nazis-on-the-Moon movies, I can't finish that sentence.

Iron Sky involves a colony of Moon Nazis who get discovered by near-future astronauts, capturing one and accelerating their Earth invasion plans as a result of the encounter. They are opposed by the U.S. president (an unnamed Sarah Palin analogue), her campaign manager, the captured astronaut (he escapes—not a huge spoiler), and the "nice Nazi," whose existence is again not much of a spoiler.

Obviously I was in the mood for "dumb fun" when I selected this title on Netflix Instant, and on that score, Iron Sky succeeds. I'm happy to say that there was little cause for my initial terror that it would just end up boring and weak (like Silent Night), budgetless and therefore pitiable (like any of those Sci-Fi Channel efforts), or so deeply idiotic as to be totally unfunny (like almost all of Mega-Shark vs. Crocosaurus). Many of the more obvious Nazi gags are in play here, but some jokes really work, and the limitations of the concept (and the cast) don't really start to drag down the fun level until near the end.

Even if you don't pay attention to the opening credits, it doesn't take long to figure out that this is a foreign movie. Though its visual style is a good imitation of modern American blockbusters (putting aside loooots of obvious bluescreen), the editing choices and world-building suggest either a non-American cultural angle or the work of some ambitious but bizarre producer/director/writer auteur. Maybe both, for all I know—maybe they just cancelled each other out.

Still—I'm totally baffled by the costume on the campaign manager in the final battle scenes, and almost as baffled by the occasionally lyrical dialogue and voice-overs (did they forget this was a Moon Nazi movie?). Less baffling, yet striking enough to merit comment, is the scathing political commentary on U.S. foreign policy. I can't say it's totally out of place here, and some of it is genuinely funny, but it's definitely clumsy—and if the filmmakers' goal was to ensure a few completely negative Netflix member reviews, then I'm sure they got their wish.

Maybe that was actually the plan. One or two rock-bottom reviews might be just what a movie like this needs for the "right" people to want to see it, because Iron Sky is so surprisingly competent that we might not take notice of it if it had nothing but fair-to-good reviews. I mean, I didn't see Green Lantern, but this is probably better. Even though it has no right to be.

Star Score: 2 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment