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rochefort [Film Festival 03.16.12] Finland scifi action comedy



Year: 2012
Directors:
Writers:
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
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Rating: X out of 10

Unapologetically corny, "Iron Sky" looks quite a bit like "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", but feels a whole lot like "Mars Attacks". And if neither one of those films is at the very least a guilty pleasure, you'll probably have a hard time swallowing all the goofiness on display here. Me personally, I'd never try to defend either as a great film, but I've still watched both multiple times, and "Iron Sky" has a lot of the same retro charm.


In "Iron Sky", a new sci-fi comedy directed by Timo Vuorensola, Nazis have been living on the moon since the end of World War II. Sequestered away in Schwarze Sonne, a swastika-shaped moon base on the dark side, they have been rebuilding their war machine and plotting a triumphant return to Earth. Convinced the time has come, Fuhrer Wolfgang Kortzfleisch (Udo Kier) sends a recon team to bring back the final piece of technology needed to launch the invasion, the computing power that will return the Third Reich to its former glory: a cell phone. Only James Washington (Christopher Kirby), an African-American model moonlighting as an astronaut, can save the world from the horde of Nazi Moonians.

Unapologetically corny, "Iron Sky" looks quite a bit like "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", but feels a whole lot like "Mars Attacks". And if neither one of those films is at the very least a guilty pleasure, you'll probably have a hard time swallowing all the goofiness on display here. Me personally, I'd never try to defend either as a great film, but I've still watched both multiple times, and "Iron Sky" has a lot of the same retro charm.

The concept is clever enough that we're willing to forgive the fact that all but one or two of the jokes inspire at most a mild chuckle, and the fish-out-of-water angle is both underdeveloped and a tad lazy. Hero Washington spouts an unbroken stream of cliches, and most of the best lines surprisingly come from Vivian Wagner (Peta Sergeant), the President's publicist. The film's greatest strengths are clearly not in its script, but rather in its visual flourishes, most of them not only inventive but also consistently funny. The filmmakers understand that the aesthetic of Nazism has an undeniable cinematic allure, and they inject just enough into the sets and costumes, balancing things out with a more "Matrix"-y production design full of iron gears, vacuum tubes and clockwork contraptions. And while the designs of the many spaceships, moon-suits and bases are often played for laughs, the special effects, done mostly on the cheap, are really good, and a third act space battle is thrilling enough that I'd have loved to have seen it last quite a bit longer.

Even the more obvious green screen shots are forgivable; physics and scientific accuracy don't matter one bit here, and the comedic hyper-stylization throughout earns the effects team a free pass on the handful of flubs. Basically, what works does so thanks mostly to the gleeful refusal to ground any of the events in anything remotely resembling plausible science; engines and machine guns rev and whine loudly in the vacuum of space, motorcycles travel smoothly along moon highways, and two characters fly out of an airlock and pull themselves back in, the only damage done the heroine's shredded clothing. It's like they're constantly saying, "Geez, you already bought into the Nazis on the moon part".

The score by Laibach works like gangbusters, full of variations on Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelungen" and other recognizable German classical and operatic works. Much like Elfman's score for "Mars Attacks", the music acts as a character in its own right and helps to constantly reiterate "Iron Sky"s balancing act, a blend of the retro-majestic and the outright bonkers. Come to think of it, that's probably the best way I could describe the film anyway. Good-looking enough to please sci-fi fans, and fun enough for everybody else, "Iron Sky" is pretty much guaranteed to be a future guilty pleasure.

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Jonny (6 years ago) Reply

It was horrible. Nonredeemable.

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masque36 (6 years ago) Reply

Your joking right? Worst movie I have seen since the House of the Dead. Movie had no pacing whatsover and characters and story were lacking. It could have been a great movie with an interesting concept but the directors had to put a liberal spin on it that dragged the movie down. A better movie would have been how they ended up on the moon to begin with and why we haven't discovered them from day one. I give the film an F for all involved. If the director wanted to make a worse film than Uwe Bolli congratulations then.


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