Thursday, June 14, 2012

In short: Iron Sky (2012)

Usually, the proper reaction for me when I hear words like "camp" and descriptions like "instant cult classic" buzzing around a movie is to keep as far away from it as humanly possible, even though this goes against the spirit of hopeful masochism I otherwise cling to in my movie watching decisions. Fortunately, I made an exception to this sanity-defending rule for the Finnish, German and Australian co-production Iron Sky, and while my sanity probably is not the better for it, my mood surely is.

For this campy comedy about a Nazi invasion of Earth that moonlights as a silly yet bitter satire on contemporary political culture (and perhaps even human nature, but that does make the film sound rather pretentious, so let's just say that there's a surprising large amount of Dr. Strangelove in its gene pool) is actually good; more surprisingly, it's so funny I found myself snorting, even regularly laughing, about more of its jokes than I usually do when it comes to comedy. Of course not every moment is a hit in that regard, but then, humour tends to be as personal a thing as sexual preferences.

What - besides it actually being funny - differentiates Iron Sky from many other attempts at being consciously camp is its utter lack of laziness. While plot and worldbuilding are patently absurd, they are also pretty damn well thought through, adding fittingly absurd details that logically derive from absurd premises. That seems especially fitting when it comes to Nazi ideology, for what else is it than atrocity based on absurd and grotesque premises?

For a film with a comparatively small budget of 7.5 million Euro (that's what, five minutes of - the of course awesome - John Carter?), Iron Sky also manages to squeeze in a very impressive amount of CGI. Even better, it's the right kind of digital effects work that puts effort into letting objects look as if they had an actual physical presence. Plus, the sense for the funny and telling detail that runs through the film's writing is clearly visible in the designs of moon zeppelins and space ships too.

The effects, like just about everything else in Iron Sky, are the product of filmmakers who care about their film and don't just shrug off problems with a handwaving "it's supposed to be bad".


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