Iron Skies is an over-the-top action/satire film that had become quite popular on the internet, especially on YouTube. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here is the trailer to give you a general idea behind the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeIu1FiTTyI. Now for me, I got an odd feeling from anticipating watching this film and I can’t quite explain it. I think it was because of my German ancestry; the idea of oppressive fascist armies marching for world domination just naturally feels all right to me. Actually, If I think back far enough, I think I’ve always been fascinated by Nazis and their culture. Now, don’t get the idea that I’m a Nazi sympathizer though. Nazi Germany was one of the darkest periods of time for humanity, where gross atrocities and evil was committed. At the same time, I couldn’t help feel a large amount of pride for Nazi Germany. I’ve always liked being referred to as an Aryan rather than Caucasian because it’s much more accurate (none of my ancestors came from the Caucasus Mountains). Also, while many consider it to be an evil time for the world, for the Germans it was a golden age and one of their most prosperous times in their history. After a defeat at World War I, two decades previously, they were back to being a world superpower and were at the forefront of technology and science; and Nationalist Pride was at an all-time high. Also, I’ve always felt the Swastika was unjustly demonized because of Nazi Germany. (For those who don’t know, the Swastika was originally a Hindu symbol for peace and is related to reincarnation.) Finally and most importantly, I LOVE Nazi Pseudo-Science and their Neo-Nordic culture! Dieselpunk, Dark-iron structures, Blimp warfare, German Mad Science, occult, raw efficiency, Ultra nationalism, and obsession with Nordic and Viking myth all make the Nazi culture so interesting, unique and equally hilarious. I love the musical “The Producers”, movies like “Inglorious Basterds” and “Indiana Jones” and games like “Castle Wolfenstein”, all which make fun of and exploit the more surreal side to Nazi German culture. I’ve also spent a great deal of my studies on World War II from Germany’s perspective, because I feel like you should understand the enemy to properly understand their motives. Again, I would like to say I DO NOT SYPATHIZE with what the Nazis did, just an admirer and studier of the culture and State; like a detective admires and studies a serial killer, such as in “Silence of the Lambs” or the new Fox show “The Following”. With all this in mind, let’s get to the topic on hand.
Iron Skies is set in the year 2018. At this time, many great changes have happened to the world. First off, the United Nations has become more of a Confederacy of Nations, under the administrative command of the United States, who is led none other by SARAH PALIN! (Note: Although the film does not name the President specifically, it’s very much suggested) I know what you’re thinking right now, “Is this film a horror flick?” Hehehe, no, but keep reading. President Palin, in an effort to raise national pride and help her win reelection, attempts to send Man to the Moon, this time toward the Shadow of the Moon where there are readings of the precious Helium-3 resource that is for some reason ultra-vital. However, once the two astronauts land, they quickly discover that they are not alone; there is none other than MOON NAZIS! (Dun Dun DAAAA) who have built a very robust Moon Station. These Nazis kill one of the astronauts and take the other hostage. This hostage astronaut also turns out to be black. You can start to tell where the comedy hijinks begin. It is later explained that during the final push into Germany by the Allies in 1945, that a large section of the Nazis fled to an Antarctic Space Program facility with the love child of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, and then took off to the Moon to build a facility and wait for the time to come to enact revenge. Back in near-future times, the astronaut bargains that he can get the Nazis an interview with the President of the United States, while the rest of the moon Nazis plot to enact a full on invasion. Two representatives of the glorious Aryan Race, along with the astronaut, then depart down to Earth to formally ask for the full surrender of Earth’s forces. I’ll end the spoilers here.
The film is a great throwback to the cheesy B-movies of the 1950’s and 60’s. However I was surprised to find the film to be rather anti-American (in the most humorous and tongue in cheek ways, of course) , although it’s clued in from the trailer. Much of the center plot revolves around comparing the modern America to Nazi Germany, with strong nationalism, an obsession with strengthening the military and looking down on the other counties as subjects (or babies suckling at the teats of Mother America as Palin describes it) and American self-importance and hypocrisy, such as the fact that the US disobeys international law by having militarized spacecraft then laughing to the other nations “What the Hell are you going to do about it? We’re the ones with the nuclear-armed spaceship!”. There’re also some great gags using many online memes, most notably the ironic Hitler rage scene from the film “Down Fall”. Overall the action scenes are fantastic and the scenes in space could make George Lucas jealous. However, there are some minor downsides to this film as well. The acting is average and story has many clichés and falls apart in the very middle and is only roughly restitched by the end. The most glaring fault is the shoe-horned love story that drags the overall good story down like a Lead Zeppelin. (DOUBLE PUN!) I really don’t understand why every modern story MUST have a romantic aspect to it. I can only imagine this film would have been much better if instead of the dumb romance, they put in more action and/or narrative to fill in those scenes.
So what’s my verdict? Although there are many faults to this film, including a minor political message, Iron Skies still is an amazing movie. Despite being made for only five-hundred thousand dollars, this film manages to have Hollywood-caliber effects and scenes and I think would be very successful if it was released box-office. It’s a great popcorn movie and an okay date movie. It’s definitely not cinema gold, but was still better than SOME of the Oscar “Best-Picture” nominees. I’d give it a 7/10. If you’re interested, you can find this independent film on Netflix and Youtube Rentals.
Writer and Film Buff