Most of the Hollywood science-fiction movies I’ve seen recently have had huge budgets, great actors, directors, and writers, however, they have generally disappointed me. Iron Sky is a Finnish science-fiction production with a comparatively tiny budget, and a virtually unknown cast and crew. How does it fair when compared to its Hollywood counterparts? Surprisingly well.
The story in Iron Sky revolves around the last remnants of the Nazi regime, who somehow made it to the dark side of the moon in 1945. An American crew are sent to the moon over 70 years later under the pretense that this journey will help the US president get re-elected. Once they get there, the audience discovers that the crew have actually been sent in search of something called Helium 3. The Americans detect large amounts of Helium 3 not too far from their ship, and two of the crew leave to go investigate. They discover not only the Helium 3, but a giant Helium 3 mine as well. Before they can send word of their discovery, their ship is destroyed and almost the entire crew killed by a Nazi security patrol. One American is captured alive and taken in to be questioned.
Iron Sky, staying true to its B movie heritage, never takes itself seriously – It understands that the idea of Nazis living on the moon is quite ridiculous, and the script for the movie is written with this absurdity in mind. All the characters are paper thin stereotypes – whether it’s the pompous Americans or the straight-laced Nazis – but the writers take full advantage of this. This results in some hilarious (although they’re not very politically correct) one liners and situations which had me in stitches. The writers also make use of these stereotypes to write in a social critique on man and his pursuit for power.
The acting, while I would hesitate to describe as good, is definitely far from bad and is entirely suitable for Iron Sky’s B movie feel.
The special effects for Iron Sky are also incredibly well done, which is really surprising due to it’s budget constraints. Iron Sky had a production budget of approximately $10 million dollars, which is far less than most Hollywood science fiction movies are shot for. To put things into context, Super 8 had a production budget of $50 million dollars.
Unfortunately Iron Sky does have a few flaws.
The main weakness of this movie is its pacing. The beginning is rushed and filled with expositional dialogue to get the audience up to speed with what has developed and why certain events have occurred. It’s only once the story is established that it settles into a much more suitable flow.
A few of the comedic elements just aren’t very funny. There are lines and situations which simply failed to get me laughing. Unfortunately these moments make it seem like the writer was trying too hard.
While the special effects vary from awesome to effective, there are a few scenes that were quite weak. For example, the wirework used to portray the Americans walking on the moon was quite poorly implemented, and a later scene where the Nazis land their ship in a field outside New York, had some poor CG and less than stellar green screen effects.
Iron Sky is very clearly aimed at B movie fans, even though the level of production is far above the standard set by most B movies.
The Bottom Line
Iron Sky starts off less than perfectly, but definitely finds its feet as the movie progresses. It’s a decent mix of comedy, action and social commentary, all wrapped up in a silly science-fiction theme. However, Iron Sky will appeal more to fans of comedy than it will to fans of serious science fiction.
About the writer
Rowan Govender, a writer and artist who is more commonly known by his pen name Rowango, graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with an Honors degree in Media in 2006. He relocated to Cape Town in 2007 to pursue his interest in writing and film. He is currently employed part time in the Technical Writing industry, while he pursues personal creative projects.