Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: IRON SKY: Tales from the Argy Bargy Bunker

Present day. A lunar module is gliding into land on the dusty sattelite's surface. Something about activity on the dark side of the moon. But all is not as it seems. Once landed the astronauts emerge from the module but not before two huge banners shuck out of their furls either side of the craft. YES WE CAN! yells each one.

Before the senior of the pair of moon explorers can get a few slow bounces in he ... explodes. Reverse shot. A world war two soldier in a coal scuttle helmet is aiming his space mauser at the remaining crewer. A slow crane shot lifts us over the ridge to reveal the biggest swastika in creation, Moon Base Nazi. That's where we're going.

Inside Swastika City it's all Metropolis and metal. Moon Fuerher, Udo Kier steps out of a 40s era car to inspect the prisoner who is obviously the vanguard of Earth's impending invasion. The coal-scuttled goons wrest the captive's helmet off and GASP, he's black. Some funny banter later, he escapes their clutches with a neato low G freefall.

Meanwhile we're in school and the little heiling kids tell us by Q&A how they all got there to their teacher, the honeystunner Renate Richter. Soon they are speaking English because and are briefly interrupted by Adler, young buck officer with designs on the big job and Renate's herz. Anyway, she's wanted for her English skills.

The Astronaut is captured, insisting that he knows nothing about any invasion, that he's just a model and got caught up in the President's election campaign. Ah .... Some technology jokes later and they're all on their way to Earth to meet the President of the United States of the Americas. The Astronaut is yet to find out but they have made some changes to his appearence. This is going to be fun.

And it is, consistently. A few sharp lines about US foreign policy from members of the Security Council aimed at a Pres who is basically Sarah Palin with a different name and a little (and really only a little) satire is thrown into the mix. The rest is the kind of action comedy in the trad of Ghostbusters or ... well Ghostbusters will do, if this flicker reminds me of anything it's that one.

Iron Sky is the low-end-market Prometheus. A growing fan base has been waiting for this film from the mid-2000s when it was just a poster. Then it was a teaser with some unexpectedly slick CGI. But mostly it was vapourware until this year. The Blair-Witchy campaign pushed the game changing production history forward, announcing a kind of Endseig for crowd funding. From a few bedrooms in Finland this became an International co-production with a lot of it shot up north in Queensland. So it was hotly anticipated.

It has divided its anticipators the same way that Prometheus has. But the fact is that it is more than just competently made. It uses a good contrast of scale to create a world where the big black cosmos really is waiting outside the rooms, offices and cars. The jokes work and the performances are appropriate to the material.

And it's fun.

What about the Moon Nazis being, you know, Nazis? This is kept soft with references to racism and some admitedly mild ridicule of the nazi racial ideal. It's pretending to be neither Holocaust nor Triumph of the Will. (Well do the nazis at least get their arses kicked? What do you bloody think?) What you do get is a series of pretty well-aimed digs at the current state of realpolitik and the perennial problem of spin: the sight of Sarah Palin Stand-in being cheered by a speech given her by a nazi apparatchick is funny and sobering in much the same way as the number 57 is used in The Manchurian Candidate (that's really worth discovering for yourself.)

For all my reservations I ended up enjoying Prometheus. I dug Iron Sky, though.

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