Nazis! On the Moon!
By J.B. Rockwell
Nazis. Everybody hates them. Especially if they’re from Illinois.
But wait! Nazis on the moon? WUT? Space zepellins, flying saucers, diesel punk stormtroopers and a super secret weapon designed to kill everyone on earth?
HELLO, MOVIE, I MUST WATCH YOU!
I know, I know. I shouldn’t—I mean…they’re Nazis—but, ermagerd, I just couldn’t resist. And ya know what? I’m glad I didn’t, because this movie kicked ass.
Right, so first thing you need to know is I didn’t expect that. The ass kicking part, not the Nazis (the movie poster makes the Nazi part pretty clear). Going in, I expected something mildly entertaining—on the good side of bad but mostly the same old sauerkraut and hand grenades schtick.
Boy was I wrong. So very, very wrong.
Thing two to know is this movie has a somewhat… interesting pedigree. The promos list it as a “…Finnish-German-Australian comic science fiction action film.”
Woah. That’s… well, there’s a lot going on there. Finnish, German and Australian? How—Why—When did—Yeah, I can’t explain it. That’s just really weird.
But, to my delight, it somehow works. Despite the material and my suspicions, this movie is both entertaining and surprisingly funny. In part, I suspect, due to those sneaky Australians, and also because it’s a foreign film re-released in the US, not a SyFy original, which means it comes with a relatively big budget—not blockbuster big but big enough to merit a better script, decent acting and, most importantly, some pretty cool set and costume design enhanced with surprisingly decent special effects.
Okay, better than decent. The-World War II-but-in-space-and-grittier aesthetic of this flick was frankly pretty darn cool. I mean, sure, they borrowed some of the design from Star Wars—who doesn’t, after all? And Lucas’ stormtroopers? Pretty sure he borrowed some of that look from the Nazis.
I mean, c’mon, when it comes to evil, the Third Reich is the mack daddy.
Oh, oh oh! And there’s this! Lookit the super cool flying saucer these guys get to toodle around in!
Guys, guys, guys! I know I’m not supposed to, I know how terrible it sounds saying I enjoyed a sci-fi film about Nazis, but… but…
This movie, OMG, this movie. I seriously, seriously think I’m in love. And I want you to be, too, so I’m going to do something uncharacteristic and stop blathering on up front. Instead, I’m gonna cut the intro here and jump right into…
In 1945, the Nazis establish a secret base on the dark side of the moon. There they hide out for the next…
*quickly does the math*
… 73 years, planning their return to power. In 2018.
Julia Dietz (Best known for… German… things? Sorry, I’m sure most of these actors al well known in their respective countries but I don’t know most of them.) as Renate Richter: Hottie Nazi teacher. Turn ons includes tight uniforms, Arian domination, and American astronauts.
Christopher Kirby (Best known for uhhh… also things?) as James Washington: Black model turned astronaut turned white Nazi—don’t worry, if you watch the movie this will all make sense. Kind of. In a way. Alright, not completely, but it happens.
Gotz Otto (Best known for being another German actor) as the Klaus Adler: Uber bad Nazi bent on (1) invading Earth, (2) bedding many women and (3) assuming the mantle of Moon Fuhrer. Possibly in that order. Also, looks like a Nazi version of Patrick Swayze.
Udo Kier (Best known for being an actor I’ve actually heard of) as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch: Moon Fuhrer and evil ordained ruler of the Fourth Reich.
Peta Sergeant (Best known as… uhhh… pass?) as Vivian Wagner: A not-quite-on-the-up-and-up campaign manager who’s loyalties waffle more than… well, waffles.
Stephanie Paul (Best known as—PASS, PASS, ALSO PASS) as President of the United States (no specific name given): A Southern-fried, Sarah Palin look-alike who’ll do just about anything to get re-elected, including adding a couple of Moon Nazis to her campaign team to boost her ratings with the fringe constituents.
Budget & Box Office Info:
- Release Date: 4 April 2012
- Budget: $8.4M
- Box Office Sales: Limited release—total sales not reported
Sequels & Crossovers:
A video game adaption, Iron Sky: Invasion was released in 2012 and—surprise, surprise!—a sequel entitled Iron Sky: The Coming Race was crowdfunded and is supposed to release in May 2019.
Wait! That’s this month!
The Story (in a Nutshell):
In 1945, the Nazi’s established a secret base on the dark side of the moon where, over the course of the next 70+ years, they build the ultimate weapon. With the fall of the Third Reich, the base was forgotten and, cut off from the planet, the Moon Nazis of the Fourth Reich lost track of what was happening on Earth. Nobody knew the base was there, until a PR stunt to support the President of the United States’ re-election sent two astronauts to its surface.
One died, the other lived, and soon plays a pivotal role in the Nazis’ reinvasion.
*cough* Right. That was inappropriate.
The Rest of It:
The year: 2018
The location: Dark side of the moon
The happenings: Imminent Nazi invasion, US President actively campaigning for re-election.
The slogan: Black to the Moon. Because, you guessed it, our hero, James Washington, just happens to be black. And wears a black spacesuit. And the Nazis have no idea what black people are.
Getting a sense for how this movie’s gonna go?
so. After obliterating Washington’s white boy partner and the lunar module they
rode in on, the Nazstronauts take
Washington captive and haul him back to their swastika-shaped secret moon base.
That’s it, down there.
Inside, the Third Reich’s next generation (conveniently called the Fourth Reich) are busy building world domination machines and teaching English to their young and impressionable Nazi Moon Youth, all in preparation for their master plan:
Return to planet Earth and restore the Nazi Empire. Up with whitey, down with everyone else.
Something like that anyway. They’ve got a hottie Nazi Frau named Renate teaching these kids so who wouldn’t want to learn English from her?
See? Hottsie Nazi. Very instructive and inspiring
Right, right, right. Movie. Okay, so let’s talk aesthetics (because, honestly, they do a pretty fab job here). As you’d expect of a secret Nazi moon base established in the waning hours of World War II, everything is pretty much frozen in the 1940s (clothes, hairstyles, music) and the diesel punk complex is all concrete, metal and big machines with clankity-clank gears. Also, they have cars, for some reason. And motorcycles. Doesn’t quite make sense—I mean, the base isn’t that big, is it?—but it’s kinda cute watching the Grand Moon Fuhrer make his grand entrance by showing up in a chauffeur-driven VW Beetle.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
So, safely inside the atmosphere-controlled confines of their Moon base, the Nazis knock Washington around with their bratwurst to show how BIG AND POWERFUL they are, before ripping off his helmet and staring in shock at his opposite-of-white-and-Arian face. Apparently, his black spacesuit didn’t tip them off that there was a brother man inside even though his dead partner, in a very Spaceballs moment, was wearing a more traditional white get-up. Even more apparently, this Fourth Reich seems to have erased and/or forgotten (I was gonna say whitewashed but that seemed a bit too on point) a lot of their Earth facts and, as a result, no one in Moon Base Swastika has any idea there that are anything but white people living on the Earth.
All that aside, they declare Washington a spy sent to destroy them (or steal their secrets, or their Hottie Frau, or their recipe for borscht) and haul him away for interrogation.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the President of the United States (no name given, just President of the United States) is kind of a bitch and also self-serving.
Surprise, surprise. Oh, wait. We’re back on the moon again.
As he’s being led away, Washington pulls a fast one and busts up a whole buncha Schlotsky’s Nazis with his helmet before making a run for the border. In this case, that means heading deep inside the Nazi Moon Base.
‘Cause it’s on the freaking moon. Where else ya gonna go?
Conveniently, this little escape
attempt lands him in the arms and bosom of Frau Hottie Renate and, through a
series of prat falls and bad decisions, he manages to both ‘accidentally’ strip
her mostly naked and simultaneously save her from getting sucked out into the
cold, cold depths of space. Brave (and slightly gropery) as his deeds may be, they
unfortunately don’t earn him any points with the White-on-Rice brigade. After
restoring Hottie’s clothing, Washington is once again taken prisoner, hauled
away for a second time, and tossed into grim as death and damp as a cold noodle
interrogation room buried in the bowels of the secret base.
BTW: remember my earlier comment about humor? Yeah, pay attention to what’s in the background of this film. Like the ‘Black to the Moon’ posters. And the swastika-shaped hopscotch board chalked onto the floor of Moon Base Nazi. There’s a lot of subtle little touches like that scattered throughout the flick. Subtle is good. I like that very much.
*awards one thumbs up*
So, where was I? Oh, right. While interrogating Washington, it becomes abundantly clear that these Nazis have been completely isolated from Earth and all the people on it since World War II ended. They have zero knowledge of modern technology, politics, etc. in addition to being ignorant of Earth’s multi-culturalism.
Side note: At one point, I made the mistake of wondering why, if this was true, they were bothering to teach their children English. And were so fixated on the United States. Then I remembered that this was a Bad Movie Review, which means not all plot points need to make sense.
*squints hard, willingly suspends disbelief*
Elsewhere, and also meanwhile, Frau Renate the Hottay receives a marriage proposal (of sorts, it’s actually more of a certificate of racial purity and genetic match—how very, very romantic) from the Moon’s creepiest SS stormtrooper dude, who also happens to look like a Nazi version of Patrick Swayze.
With apologies to Patrick Swayze, I shall henceforth call him Nazi Swazye. That’s him over there, by the way. Tell me this doesn’t look Swayze.
Why the proposal now, you ask? What prompted this sudden outpouring of… procreation negotiation? Well, turns out the super weapon the Nazis have been working on for the last 70 or so years—the Gotterdammerung (which, for all you super smart bibliophiles, draws its name from the last cycle of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungen—see? Culture!)—but hadn’t yet found a power source strong enough to make it go. Well, as luck would have it, Washington and his cell phone fortuitously solve that problem.
Yup, that’s right: 70 years of engineering, and all their big-ass Machine ‘O Death needed was a little lithium-ion love.
So, in goes the phone, and with the throw of a mighty lever, the Nazis’ FrankenMachine roars to life!
Briefly. Until the cell phone’s battery dies.
But wait! What’s this? The Nazis have another plan! To fuel their machine, Herr Moonen Fuhrer (okay, so I don’t know German) selects Nazi Swayze (also known as Brave Sir Robin… I’m confident a few of you will get that) to lead a mission to Earth to collect more phones.
That’s right: Nazi super weapon, powered by phones.
Back in the interrogation room, Frau Hotness arrives for a little interrogation of her own. Seems that chance meeting-cum-striptease in the hallway got her all hot and bothered and the only cure to treat her fever is some Washington. Never mind the (creepy, so very creepy) proposal from Nazi Swayze—she’s sampled and it’s clearly left her wanting. Like Dante, she’s descended into the bowels of Nazidom to get her motor running, but before she can seal the deal, Doktor Richter (who I believe is also her father?) barges in and foils all her plans. Even worse, he injects Washington with an ‘albinism serum’ that, you guessed it, turns him lily white, blond-haired, blue-eyed and (debatably) compliant to anything and everything his Nazi overlords demand.
Kind of. In a general. Okay, he does what the Nazis tell him to sometimes to move the plot along and does what he wants to the rest of the time because, Bad Movie.
Anyhow, White Washington (Get it? Did ya get it?!) joins up with Nazi Swayze who’s been selected to lead the Fourth Reich’s planetary invasion, so it’s off to the Earth in a 1950s vintage flying saucer to claim, reclaim, and/or conquer the world!
For reasons that are never explained, the Nazis opt to land outside New York City and promptly order Washington to take them to the President. Now, I’m no geographer, but wouldn’t it make more sense to land near Washington, DC if you want to see the President? Yeah, it would. It totally would.
Right, right, right. Bad Movie. Bad Movie’s do nonsensical things.
In a (not at all surprising) twist, we learn that Frau Hotness hitched a ride to take part in the Earth invasion (obviously because of Washington). So, there they are, toodling around downtown NYC in their Nazi uniforms and VW bus when Washington, unaware that he’s de-melanized against his will, learns the horrid, horrid truth about the Nazi’s cruelest of uninvited experiments.
And when he does find out, man is he pissed. So wickedly and understandably, super-duper pissed.
Despite that, and presumably because of the serum and brainwashing or something, Washington continues to helps the Nazis with their evil plans, going so far as to kidnap the President’s campaign manager, Vivian Wagner—a most sordid and un-American act for which he’s rewarded by promptly getting kicked to the curb.
That’s right, the Nazis bleached him and then dumped him. What a bag of dicks.
So Va-Va-Va-Va Wagner turns out to be as manipulative and self-serving as both the Nazis and the President (oh, I forgot to mention that, having gotten to Earth, Nazi Swayze promptly decided he’d take it over himself and then overthrow the Moon Fuhrer once in power) and quite readily agrees to introduce the Nazis to the President. In fact, she designs an entire re-election campaign based on Nazi rhetoric and symbols—a carpet bombing of imagery that, apparently, does quite well.
If anyone’s shaking their head over that, remember: people voted for Trump.
Flash forward 3 months and Nazi Swayze is well and truly embedded and finally getting around to the whole ‘Nazis take over the world’ thing, when—surprise, bitches!—the Moon Fuhrer himself shows up to stick a schnitzel in his plans. Seems Boss Kraut’s grown wise to Swayze’s double dealing and shenanigans and hopped a sauce to the planet to kick off the Nazi invasion himself.
Unfortunately, Swayze kills him, steals his flying sauce and Va-Va-Va-Va Wagner’s tablet (remember, this all started from needing more batteries to run the Gotterdammerung—at this point, we still don’t know what that is, by the way. Don’t worry, though, we’ll find out soon enough) and beats feet back to space to get the Nazi invasion party kicked off.
Meanwhile, back on earth, Hottie Renate is wandering the streets of NYC having been dumped by Nazi Swayze for Va-Va-Va-Va Wagner (whom he later dumped in favor a Nazi super weapon and an army of men in uniform…) Ahem. Yes. So, to Frau Hottie’s amazement, she runs into Washington on a street corner—the former astronaut now living large as a street bum spewing out warnings about the Moon Nazis that are coming to take over the Earth. Well, guess what? Nobody fucking believes him. Is he bitter? Well, maybe. After all, white girl pitched him out like a bag of trash and her father jacked up his fine African heritage with an injection of White-Out goo, so yeah, he deserves to be bitter. Who wouldn’t be in his place? So when Frau shows up and is all, ‘Hey, dude! Long time no see! How’s about we get our freak on?’ and he’s all, ‘Hell no, devil woman!’, after which they have a little tussle and end up getting arrested by the police.
Note: there’s some other stuff that follows after where they wander around town, chit-chat with some neo-Nazis and see a movie, all of which open Hottie Renate’s eyes to the ugly side of the Nazi Kingdom, but none of which really fits in with the rest of the movie. It’s all a little too preachy and lesson learny for my tastes, so…
Back on the Moon Base, the Nazis launch a fleet of flying saucers and space zeppelins–that are SUPER EXTRA WICKED COOL, SEE?—and come equipped with slings designed to haul meteors they intend to fling at the unsuspecting planet.
I should probably pause here and mention the fact that the Nazis obviously haven’t quite thought this whole invasion through. I mean, I’m no astro-geologist, but seems to me one of the leading theories about why all the dinosaurs went tits up is A WHOPPING BIG METEOR STRUCK THE EARTH’S SURFACE AND PLUNGED EVERYTHING INTO THE ARCTIC DEPTHS OF NUCLEAR WINTER.
Well, not nuclear maybe, but you get the idea. Earth + meteor strike = bad and no planet left to conquer.
Also, they call this the Meteorblitzkrieg. *snicker*
Abandoned by their Nazi collaborators, under heat from the UN, the President appoints Va-Va-Va-Va Wagner as commander of the USS George W. Bush—a secretly militarized spacecraft—and launches her and it into space to kick some Nazi tail. Soon after, every other nation in the UN unveils their own secretly weaponized spacecraft (that they all staunchly denied owning) and they all start knocking holes in Nazi blimps.
Oh, also? Washington and Frau Hottie made up and headed to space as well. Their goal? Stop the Gotterdammerung! Which is launching right about… NOW!
See that? Big ass ship. Also, big ass guns. Lucky for Earth, Hottie’s got big boobs and Washington’s all kinds of wicked pissed—between the two of them they can stop the Nazis from destroying Earth, right? RIGHT???
Well…. Kinda. Just hang with me a minute.
So, Frau and Washington reach the Moon Base and, not long after, the Earth fleet finishes destroying the Nazi fleet and turns their nukes on the moon’s surface, knocking the snot out of the Nazi’s swastika though the base below ground is barely touched. That’s when Gotterdammerung busts free—a super fucking big ship 10 times larger than any other vessel out there—and starts kicking the shit out of everything in sight.
Including the moon—fucker takes a BIG chunk outta that.
Meanwhile, in the Gotterdammerung’s sub-levels, Washington wrestles with and eventually overpowers Doktor Richter in order to sabotage the Gotterdammerung’s systems and disable it, while Frau distracts the Nazis from what he’s doing by hitting the Emergency National Anthem button, making the entire Arian brotherhood drop what they’re doing, brace up and salute.
And while they’re distracted, she
goes after Nazi Swayze, her one time love. To kill him, not lay down by the
fire and make bebbehs. And since shooting him’s just too easy, she gives him
the old on-two whammy: trick him into electrocuting himself by Heil Hitlering
into a broken lightbulb receptacle and then fatally lobotomize him with a
high-heeled boot to the brain.
Bravo, Frau Hottie. That’s some quality killin’ there.
Elsewhere, Washington successfully shuts down the Gotterdammerung. Separately, he and Frau hop into pods and escape as the Nazi super weapon, now powerless, crashes nose-on into the moon.
Back on earth, everyone celebrates a great victory, after which the President claims the moon in the name of the US (because she wants the Nazi fuel on it or something) and incites a brawl among the UN representatives that prompts all the countries they represent to turn on one another. Blissfully unware, Frau and Washington re-unite in the sub-levels of the ruined Nazi base, she tousled and showing much boobage, he newly re-melanized thanks to a bottle of de-albinizer he found lying around.
Okay, okay, okay, I gotta say it. If the Nazis don’t know about Black people, or Asian people, Hispanic people, whatever, why would they (1) invent, manufacture and stock an albinism serum, and (2) carry an inventory of de-albinizer to undo the thing they shouldn’t know they might wanna (but definitely shouldn’t) do? Anyone? Anyone?
Right. That shit doesn’t make sense.
Anyway, back to finishing this movie… Newly restored to his prime, hot-model astronaut-ness, Washington swaggers in and Frau Hottie promptly jumps his bones. In front of the Fourth Reich’s schoolchildren. Giving them an education the Moon Fuhrer probably never intended.
As the movie draws to close, the camera slowly pans out, revealing the damaged moon with a huge chunk missing while, in the distance, missiles launch from various places on the globe, and as they detonate, the Earth slowly goes dark.
There are a lot of things about Iron Sky that I appreciated, not the least of which is the fact that it didn’t try to punch above its weight. This movie is a perfect example of how to make lower-budget sci-fi flick: you either strip it down (like Prospect—hands-down one of the best movies I’ve watched in a decade, possibly ever) or add humor and use CGI sparingly.
Wisely, given the script, Iron Sky went the second route. Going in, I had concerns about the mixed German/Finnish/Australian influences, but to their credit, they pulled the story off well. I mean, Nazis: who doesn’t love to hate them? And bumbling, diesel punk, constantly tripping over their own egos Nazis? The best kind. Which means the worst kind. Which means no one at all feels bad that most of them end up dead.
- Bad Moving Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
- Regular Movie Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Quotes! (I know, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?)
President of the United States: Okay who didn’t arm their spaceship?
[Finland’s representative slowly raises his hand]
President of the United States: Great, great. That’s just great…
President of the United States: It was your bad idea to send those idiots to the moon.
Vivian Wagner: No disrespect madam president, but I’m pretty sure it was your idea.
President of the United States: It was my great idea have they succeeded, now it’s your stupid idea. Got it? I didn’t hire you for stupid ideas I hired you because of your Midas touch.
James Washington: Remember me? The moon spook you turned into a snowflake?
Doktor Richter: [referring to the Smartphone obtained from Washington] I invented this cable to connect this machine with our main computer. I call it Universal Systematic Binding – USB for short.
J.B. Rockwell is a New Englander, which is important to note because it means she’s (a) hard headed, (b) frequently stubborn, and (c) prone to fits of snarky sarcasticness. As a kid she subsisted on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore, mythology augmented by generous helpings of science fiction and fantasy. As a quasi-adult she dreamed of being the next Indiana Jones and even pursued (and earned!) a degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, those dreams of being an archaeologist didn’t quite work out. Through a series of twists and turns (involving cats, a marriage, and a SCUBA certification, amongst other things) she ended up working in IT for the U.S. Coast Guard and now writes the types of books she used to read. Not a bad ending for an Indiana Jones wannabe..
J.B. also writes a once monthly Bad Movie Mayhem review for Sci-Fi & Scary.