Monday, August 13, 2012

Iron Sky

Ready For a New World Order?

If too many cooks may have spoiled the broth, then tell that to the filmmakers of Iron Sky. Possibly the first of its kind in successfully crowd-sourcing a portion of its budget from the fans (even before that term became sexy), and also taking on a collective and collaboration approach from conception to marketing the film, Iron Sky milked the Internet for what it's worth, building up a community of collaborators and fans who got involved one way or another. It showed how crowdsourcing can be reality, and arguably how inputs and help from the network at large actually became assets, rather than liabilities.

I mean, a premise that involves Nazis on the dark side of the moon, can't be taken too seriously, with an absurdity approach to the spawning of the narrative. As the story by Johanna Sinisalo and Jarmo Puskala goes, the Nazis of World War II have colonized that area of the moon when escaping Germany in 1945, and plotting a revenge invasion of sorts some 67 years later, if only they have enough computing power to bring their largest warship, the Gotterdammerung, to engineering reality. These Nazis, ever so resourceful, has access to Helium-3, as well as blueprints to crafting equipment and weaponry that make them look very much like steam punk engineers, with incredible attention paid to details.

It's the year 2018, and the President of the United States (Stephanie Paul), sort of like a Sarah Palin lookalike, is up for re-election. Sending an African American male model, James Washington (Christopher Kirby), to the moon may just about excite the entire electorate, but as it turned out, Washington got captured, and the entire effort turned out to be a public relations nightmare. We're introduced to the Germans who seem to be stuck under the 1940s doctrine and mindset, as coached by Renate Richter (Julia Dietze), fiancee of the ambitious Klaus Adler (Gotz Otto) who had set his sights at usurping leadership to become the new Fuhrer, and to invade Earth at first opportunity.

This Finnish-German-Australian production is full on satire, especially when they directly poke fun at all of Nazi Germany's ideology, and mocking their ways from wanting to create the perfect Aryan race, right down to highlighting the absurdness of their beliefs, with plenty of insider references and jokes that will probably make real Nazi sympathizers weep. While comical, it's also fairly serious at times in its treatment, with themes that will resonate in today's world, about those who are easily indoctrinated or brainwashed into beliefs, and how such conditioning by power hungry individuals can be used to build a base of followers who are held back on skewed rationale, being so secular that this in-breeding of sorts become shackles of the mind.

But this is a film that is as much about the United States of America than it is about the Nazis. It takes another satirical look at the US, her allies and traditional enemies, and laughs at the paper diplomacy each country adopts to defend their self interests. The words of the country representatives are just talk, and treaties mean nothing when everyone signs them with fingers crossed behind their backs, with the usual merry go round finger pointing very much reflecting the political situation of today. And the US has gotten the worst of jibes (and perhaps little love there) with the filmmakers making statements about their foreign policy, as led by the President's number one biatch/campaign manager turned Sky Captain wannabe Vivian Wagner (Peta Sergeant), I can't help but to crack up each time these two women break up the mood and starting to make girlie comments on each other.

The Wow factor here is the special effects that can rival the best that Hollywood can rely upon for its blockbusters. Extremely well done whether or not it's involving a small scene, or set against animated backgrounds that don't exist. To learn about how the effects were done is even more remarkable, given the limited resources available as compared to a typical Hollywood blockbuster, but enabling the creators to come up with creative knock offs, and paying homage to, classics from Star Wars to Star Trek, and all the while laced with comedy that even Austin Powers, or the Zuckers would be proud of.

Iron Sky is about cooperation, and testament to the power of the collaborative spirit. On one level, it doesn't take itself too seriously with its number of zany scenes played out purely for laughs, but on another level, it's chock full of issues critical of today's political climate. Recommended!

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