Officially Iron Sky (plot description contains spoilers!) is a comedic film. This is probably due to the fact that it is not based on a book such as Starship Troopers. It certainly has loads of comic moments, as all satires should. However, it comes loaded with messages and social criticism (and not just the one directed at Nazis).
I won’t include any spoilers as the movie is still in the cinemas.
A word of warning: if you don’t know German and English, make sure that the movie comes subtitled in a language you can read and understand well. The entire movie is – I would say about 50:50, perhaps 40:60 – German:English. So if you’re a foreigner in Iceland and happen not to understand both, wait for a version with English subtitles
Either way, a few hints – in particular about the film quotes I recognized off hand (unfortunately most people in the cinema took a while to recognize these – no one seemed to recognize the last one):
- if you don’t know “The Great Dictator” with Charlie Chaplin, make sure you watch it or get acquainted with its contents. And I mean the long version (you’ll get what I mean after watching Iron Sky).
- if you don’t know “Der Untergang” (“Downfall”), make sure you are acquainted with it. Alternatively watch one of the “Hitler (is) not amused” meme videos on Youtube.
- if you haven’t watched “Dr. Strangelove” with Peter Sellers, make sure you do. Actually this is a movie worthy watching in its own right. Both because of a brilliant Peter Sellers and because it is a satire, too. In Iron Sky watch out for the scene where a man sits in a chair and tries to constrain his hand 😉 … that’s the film quote I mean.
Cast (in no particular order)
Peta Sergeant brilliantly plays Vivian Wagner, advisor to the campaign of a Sarah Palin-like president caricatured in the movie. It is one of the most important roles in the film aside from the Nazi roles. Even the US president is somewhat secondary to this role. My favorite quote: (grinning) “He fell for the ‘one last blow job’ trick. Nazis are so stupid.”.
Udo Kier, one of the old timers those in the know will recognize from films such as Mark of the Devil or a lot of horror movies, plays Führer Kortzfleisch, which is particularly funny because of the sound of that name in German. Aside from that no one really bothers to greet him with the Nazi salute referring to him, but still referring to Adler. My favorite quote: “Die Zeit ist die Sünde” (the time is a sin). All Germans reading this, watch out for Kiers Cologne accent. It shines through a few times, which makes it even funnier.
Julia Dietze plays Renate Richter, a lovely and somewhat naive young teacher of “Earth Sciences”, which in this context (with Nazis on the Moon) has of course a slightly different meaning, and English. My favorite quote: “… the way you are meant to be”.
Christopher Kirby plays the astronaut James Washington. He was sent to the Moon as a campaign feat for the president because he’s black and this supposedly would look good. Campaign poster on Times Square: “Black to the Moon? – Yes she can!” 😆
Götz Otto plays one of the main antagonists Nachrichtenübermittlungsoffizier (literally: message delivery officer) Adler, an ambitious Nazi who is set to become the next Führer after Kortzfleisch and wants to speed up the process. My favorite punchline – not to say knockout line (pun intended): “As they say in English: you’re a knockout” …
Tilo Prückner, one of my favorite German character actors and known from many TV series and movies, plays the mad scientist and father of Renate, Dr. Richter. My favorite quote: “zis is not a Computer”, holding up a smart phone and stepping over to the wall with blinking lights and stuff, exclaiming: “zis is a computer!” 😆
Stephanie Paul plays – quite nicely – a Sarah Palin-like president whose campaign is grinding to a halt and who is in desperate need of some miracle to get reelected. Despite the character caricaturing Palin, there is some historic knowledge such as the Nazis being the only enemy the US beat in a fair fight (which, I suppose, especially Russians would contest). However, this ignorance is part of the story and actually plays a role in the meetings of the UN security council that we get to witness as viewers. This character would have had a bit more potential all in all.
The lovely details
Except for the German writing on the black board in one of the introductory scenes, everything is authentic. The reason they used Fraktur to write this text, is because even most Germans these days cannot read the (non-Latin) writing that has been used in these days, such as Sütterlin. So the choice is purely for dramatization, which I can readily accept. Side-note: Nazis prove how stupid they are by using Fraktur to write their slogans, even though Hitler himself shunned and actually forbade a very similar style called Schwabacher as “Judenschrift” (i.e. Jewish, implying bad).
The German spelling as far as I could see it in many of the cut scenes looked perfect (given the German cast, this should be a given, but I remember otherwise from too many movies).
Even the style of the spoken language was pretty much authentic. I didn’t notice any glitches that didn’t owe to the plot.
All in all I will go and see this movie again. It’s great fun and I warmly recommend it to everyone who can read (the subtitles) and won’t be offended by a satire that doesn’t stop at mocking the Nazis 😉
There is one glitch in the film when Adler receives an electric surge through his leather gloves …
PS: one last thing. This movie, despite minor imperfections shows again that European films can certainly keep up with Hollywood movies without the same huge budget. It doesn’t take a Michael Bay and more than 250 million US dollars to make a great film. Thanks Timo Vuorensola and everyone who participated.