Friday, October 03, 2014

Iron Sky (2012)

They say ignorance is bliss.  I find this to be most true while watching movies.  When I notice scientific errors or when someone uses the wrong word to describe something, it sticks with me.  Iron Sky starts by explaining that the Nazis have a lunar base on the far side of the moon, which is described throughout the movie as the dark side of the moon, but more on that later.

The year is 2018 and an unnamed American president is thinking about reelection.  (Throughout the movie, she’s referred to simply as the President of the United States.)  As a publicity stunt, she sends two people to the moon.  It’s something that hasn’t been done in 50 years and is bound to get her name in the press.  Shortly after landing, one of the two astronauts discovers the aforementioned Nazi lunar base.  They’re planning to return to Earth, biding their time by mining Helium-3.  (Yes, that’s a real thing.)

That astronaut is shot, leaving the other astronaut to be captured and brought into the base.  As luck would have it, the captured astronaut is an African-American model named James Washington.  Washington is experimented upon while the Nazis prepare to invade Earth.  (They think that Washington and his fellow astronaut are an advance team as a prelude to invade the moon.)

Their new war ship isn’t quite ready, but it’s discovered that Washington’s phone has more processing power than all of the Nazis’ computers combined.  Klaus Adler kindly insists on going to Earth to get more such devices.  He brings along Washington, who claims to know the President personally.  (His fiancée, Renate Richter, secretly tags along.)  When they meet up with the President’s advisor, Vivian Wagner, both Adler and Wagner realize the opportunity that they’ve just been given.  Adler ditches Washington and hooks up with Wagner.

The movie is listed as a comedy, but it’s probably more appropriate to call it a satire.  In this regard, I can forgive a few mistakes.  2018 isn’t an election year, but the President strongly resembles Sarah Palin.  She’s not presented as being very bright.  Also, manned lunar missions are usually about a three-day trip one way.  I can forgive this as technology may progress in the next four years and it was never explicitly stated that it didn’t take 3-4 days.

There were a few things that the movie got right.  As I said, Helium-3 is a real thing that is actually found on the moon and could be used for nuclear power.  One possible reason to go back to the moon might be to mine Helium-3.  Also, the swastika has been used by many cultures, including Hindus.  It’s conceivable that an Indian representative to the UN would be wearing a ring with that symbol.  It’s unfortunate that the Nazis used it as a symbol of hate.

I don’t think everyone will be interested in this movie.  That‘s not to say that most people won‘t like it.  A lot of this has to do with the use of Nazis.  The swastika and other propaganda is featured prominently in many scenes.  It’s a sensitive subject and with good reason.   There are a few people I know that might like it, but I wouldn‘t necessarily feel comfortable recommending it to them.

This is one of the advantages of having Netflix streaming.  If you’re not comfortable watching it with your roommates or kids around, you don’t have to worry about holding on to the disc for a few weeks until you get your chance.  There’s also a Netflix-exclusive director’s cut, so there’s a good chance that some version of the movie will be available streaming for a while.

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