A few months ago I posted the trailer for a little movie called Iron Sky and swore that some day…some day…I would see this film about Nazis from the Moon that try to invade Earth.
Today was that day.
Iron Sky opens in the year 2018 as a new manned mission to the Moon touches down. In search of Helium-3 (and presidential approval ratings), the astronauts find something else entirely: NAZIS! Nazis who live in a gloriously-overwrought swastika-shaped fortress on the Moon. Nazis who still drive motorcycles with sidecars. Nazis who still “Heil Hitler!” and drop everything when their national anthem plays. Nazis who are rendered speechless when the American astronaut they’ve captured turns out to be…GASP…a black man!
Meanwhile, Renate Richter, the lovely young resident “Earthologist” and schoolteacher of the Nazi Colony, shows her children one of the most brilliant “short” films in history: Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. She’s the wide-eyed idealist of the bunch and believes they can bring peace and harmony to the Earth…even after the black astronaut accidentally opens an airlock that nearly tears off all her clothes. (Does it really work like that?) Klaus Adler, her intended, genetically-compatible husband-to-be, on the other hand, has dreams of becoming the new Fuhrer and crushing the Earthlings under his heel.
After discovering their American friend’s cell phone has more computing power than everything in their entire base, the Nazis decide to launch a scouting mission to retrieve more of the devices and gain a foothold on Earth. With the astronaut serving as a semi-willing guide, they land their saucer-shaped craft in the middle of a marijuana field and get shot at by a farmer. Their luck improves when they track down the President’s Campaign Manager. She’s like some bizarro version of Don Draper, and she berates her staff for their shitty ideas just before the Nazis whisk her away. But instead of being terrified or appalled by what The Reich is selling, she finds a way to spin it, and before long the Sarah Palin-esque President is spouting National Socialism ideals in her speeches and appearing with her tarted-up new friends in print advertising.
Even better, Adler can promise the ultimate boost to approval ratings: a war! But as he launches a massive fleet of saucers and space-zeppelins, Renate has grown disillusioned with the Nazi cause (especially after seeing the “long” version of The Great Dictator) and turns on her former intended. The devastating results play out over both earthly and lunar skies with the great USS George W. Bush charging into the fray.
And honestly, that’s only a fraction of the glorious ridiculousness you can expect to find in Iron Sky. It really is a brilliant B-movie camp-fest, but is self-aware and smart enough to know that what it’s doing is completely absurd. References — both visual and in dialogue — abound. An early sight-gag that played off Dr. Strangelove sold me right away, and there were plenty of subtle nods to old sci-fi films. That, and they go ahead and use Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries to score the climactic battle. I know, it seems so obvious, but that’s exactly what makes it perfect.
The idea itself is something that even modern day comic books won’t touch anymore, so it really is amazing this film got made at all. Let alone with what are surprisingly good production values. The space battle scenes are very well-rendered. Perhaps not quite as polished as a big-budget Hollywood production, but so close that it doesn’t really matter. And really, whenever you have space-zeppelins towing giant hunks of the moon to launch a “Meteorkrieg” on the planet, I don’t need my disbelief suspended.
All I really need to know is that Iron Sky rocks.