Iron Sky is Timo Vuorensolas follow-up to Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. The original idea came from Star Wreck co-writer Jarmo Puskala after he had a dream of Nazi flying saucers. Vuorensola raised the funding for Iron Sky via crowdsourcing. In 2007, he created the website Wreckamovie, which became a collaborative filmmaking site where he and other filmmakers could connect with other fans from around the world and gain input into their projects, including donations and even script ideas. (The site has now become a collaborative workspace for other filmmakers). This allowed Vuorensola and producer Samuli Torssonen to obtain professional backing from several Finnish, German and Australian production companies. The greater budget allowed them the opportunity to film in Germany, Australia and New York City, blending these with their usual digitally inserted sets.
The film has a near perfect opening that juggles Vuorensolas mix of outrageous premise, stunning effects and political satire with clever dexterity wherein we see exquisitely beautiful shots as the lander goes into Moon orbit and makes a landing, before dropping its banners to reveal advertising for an upcoming presidential campaign, then the astronauts discover a crater filled with a mining operation emblazoned with swastikas before a stormtrooper appears and shoots the astronaut in the head. This segues into the introduction to the beautifully detailed Nazi moonbase and Udo Kier as the Moon Führer, interspersed with scenes where Julia Dietze instructs children on the ideals of Nazism, including using a scene from Charlie Chaplins The Great Dictator (1940) wherein he dances with a globe of the Earth as proof that Chaplin was enamoured with the ideal of the Führer symbolically holding the entire Earth in his hands. The juggle of concepts, satire and reversals of the familiar in these scenes is something that all good science-fiction should do.
Despite having only a budget of 7.5 million Euros, Iron Sky has the look and feel of a film made with thirty times that. As with Star Wreck, Timo Vuorensola and his producing partner Samuli Torssonen demonstrate that their forte is high quality visual effects. The ones produced here rival the work being produced by Industrial Light and Magic, Weta Workshop and other leaders in the field. The scenes as we see a flotilla of swastika-emblazoned zeppelins going into Earth orbit dragging meteors behind them and then opening up to launch hundreds of flying saucers from their insides have a dazzling detail and clarity that makes you gasp. The battle scenes between Nazi UFOs, fighter jets, Earth ships and the launching of the massively armoured Gotterdammerung are spectacular. The scenes where the Gotterdammerung fires its missiles and blows an edge of the Moon up in a massive detonation or the final shot pulling back from the Moon around the Earth to follow the tiny trails of nuclear missiles crossing the curve of the Earth are stunning shots. Equally good is the production design, most of the sets being conducted virtually and digitally inserted behind the actors where the crew take their leaf from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) and create an exquisite retro-world based on 1930s era technology.
Timo Vuorensola also willingly leaps in to engage in a good deal of political satire. Stephanie Pauls US President is clearly intended as a caricature of Sarah Palin. Vuorensola has no time for Palin and her policies and one of the films most bitingly sardonic moments is when he has his Palin stand-in unwittingly adopt Nazi propaganda as part of her re-election campaign. Where Timo Vuorensola is less certain is the arena of comedy and plot. Many of the characters in the film, particularly the depictions of the Americans, are broad caricatures and much of the political humour is loud and overstressed, frequently falling into slapstick. There are the times that the plot feels awkwardly stitched together the scenes where the Nazi advance expedition end up becoming advisors to the Presidential re-election campaign are there because the film wants to make some political jabs and has contorted happenings aside to fit them in, more so than they feel like they organically flow from a natural progression of the plot. The film also reaches a surprisingly downbeat ending.
Timo Vuorensola is next planning a sequel Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2017).
(Winner for Best Special Effects, Nominee for Best Production Design at this sites Best of 2012 Awards).