When I first heard of Iron Sky I figured, well, sounds like fun: Nazis on the moon, and whatnot. I only saw it years later on DVD. And yes, it’s fun. But it also hits home disturbingly close to current realities.
Fuckloads of spoilers ahead.
When you watch Finnish-German-Australian scifi movie Iron Sky you initially can’t stop laughing: The movie opens with slow scenes and cozy late-40s music, to be replaced by Wagner’s “Wer meines Speeres Spitze fürchtet / durchschreite das Feuer nie” theme from Die Walküre and, aptly enough, Die Götterdämmerung. The Nazi moon base looks like a swastika, Nazi astronauts run around in pimped stormtrooper uniforms, the captured “Earthling” is referred to, not unkindly, as “Mr. Untermensch”, as he’s black. Politically-incorrect humour with Nazis in it. What’s to hate?
And it goes on; the Nazi invasion force is made up of zeppelins hurling astroids (the “Astroid Blitzkrieg”), the ultimate weapon is called the “Götterdämmerung”, and the new Führer is electrocuted because he automatically executes a HEIL HITLER! into an open mains line. And killed by a Nazi stiletto (in)to the head.
But, well … First thing the US astronauts need to do once landing on the dark side of the moon is rolling out banners with a Sarah-Palin-Lookalike on it, inscribed with “Yes SHE can!”. We learn pseudo-Palin is the current President of the United States, and as a campaigning spiel for her reelection she hired a male fashion model to be shot to the moon. A black model to boot, as the “Black on the moon?” in later campaign posters suggests. The marketing girl in charge of this stunt is later put into charge of pseudo-Palin’s campaign, turning the campaign into something like Himmler 2.0, and made a General when the moon Nazis threaten to destroy planet Earth.
She’s also the captain of the Mars explorer “USS George W. Bush”. Which is heavily loaded with nuclear warheads. In the UNO’s war room, the president asks for support: “Has anyone NOT armed their space ship???” Only the Finnish dude raises his hand. When the first Nazi UFO hit earth, North Korea claims these are their attack forces – to the laughter of the plenum.
The “Götterdämmerung” is smashed by above mentioned black fashion model astronaut (having been “albinised” into a white person) by pulling out an iPad copy from the space ship’s guts. Which prompts the whole of Earth to launch nuclear warheads at each other because there’s some incredibly powerful energy resource on the moon the Nazis had tapped, and now everybody claims for his/her own country. Fuck former alliances or common foes!
This is what good Science-Fiction has been about for since its inception: extrapolate from current happenings and trends, with a scientific-futuristic twist. Scifi isn’t about funny-looking aliens shooting each other, it’s a reflection of the human(e) condition. It should discuss issues, fears, possibilities. Granted, Iron Sky isn’t something that realistically will happen. The Nazi UFO-on-the-moon conspiracy theory of Wilson/Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy made form on digital cinema cameras.
But what this movie does is to move our current consumerism and political landscape only five years into the future. A future where heads of states hire fashion models and promoters for their campaigning and don’t fear to employ rhetorics that seem to hit the populist nerve. And where untapped energy resources can – or could? – drive whole countries to war. Does this look too unrealistically futuristic to you? Too scifi? Or worthy of comedy?
Perhaps this is where Iron Sky works the best, as a movie – sugar-coating the bitter pills of reality, by going over-the-top so far you can enjoy this as popcorn cinema. Don’t quote me on this, but I think Stanislav Lem, William Gibson and Greg Egan wouldn’t disapprove. At least not too much.
Addendum: I got some flack for not mentioning Laibach. Yes, the soundtrack is by Laibach. And it bloody rocks your socks off, in addition to making the movie even more ironic. I didn’t think of writing it down as I went “Yay, Laibach!” during the first 30s or something, so yeah. Slipped my mind. Pologies.