Monday, 6 August 2012



It's very tempting and very easy to dismiss this Finnish/German/Australian fantasy comedy as a one-joke movie, but that would be doing it a disservice. Firstly, that simple one-joke premise of Moon Nazis is so utterly brilliant that it generates enough goodwill to get the film through its stickier patches - a stroke of genius up there with Snakes On A Plane or The Human Centipede as a great idea that you just can't hate even when it doesn't entirely work - and secondly there is more to the film than merely the Moon Nazis.

In 1945, the Nazis went to the moon, and in 2018 they're coming back. That's the tagline for Iron Sky and it's pretty much the plot. On the dark side of the moon there's a swastika-shaped base housing the elite of the Fourth Reich and the masters-in-waiting of the Earth: when an American lunar expedition chances upon their presence, the lead astronaut is immediately captured. Not only is he a shock to the Aryans, being black, but his mobile phone contains more than enough computing power to complete the programming of their fleet of flying saucers and warships. Can the Earth, led by America's President Sarah Palin, defeat the invasion?

The Moon Nazis stuff is the film's trump card: the Earthbound caricature of Palin as a warmongering whackjob feels lazy and more importantly isn't funny. There's also some dubious race-based material as well as our hero is turned white (this brings back memories of the unsuccessful Lenny Henry movie True Identity). But the CG effects work is perfectly decent (especially considering the budget), Udo Kier is always good value, there's a lovely nod to Chaplin's The Great Dictator and I even liked the budding romance between the once-black astronaut and a blue-eyed blonde Nazi schoolteacher.

In truth, it's roughly a 50/50 split between the things that work and the things that don't. But there's such an irresistible idea at the back of the movie that you end up feeling positive towards it even when it's gone off track, which it does for much of the middle section of the film. Hardly Earth-shattering (or even moon-shattering), but it's still actually far better than you'd expect. Hey, it's got Moon Nazis in it!


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