Dear Iron Sky producer, you had me at "Nazi's from space."
Proving that effortlessly easy high-concept pitches don't always find their way straight to the screen (despite both Snakes on a Plane and Sharktopus proving otherwise), Iron Sky founded its shaky cinematic feet in fresh waters.
With the zeal of a socially networked Y-gen teen, these filmmakers understood the power of the internet in the same way that Blair Witch got user-generated content before YouTube was even invented - they figured out that the internet can actually MAKE your feature film!
Iron Sky is a watershed moment in crowdsourced, crowdfunded and crowdhyped movie making.
Watershed moments should be incredible, unbelievable and life changing. Poster quotes such as "movie making will never be the same" and "suck these nazi nuts, Hollywood" should be emblazoned upon cinemas across the country.
Alas, for Iron Sky, the best it got was "this film doesn't quite match the genius of its tagline" and "For One Night, One Showing Only" in a hand full of theatres. Not the explosion of big space guns, but the whimper of a timid box office.
The producers and fans alike blasted distributor Revolver Entertainment for their "tight-fisted" handling of the cinematic release, but frankly, they were lucky to get even that. This movie, sadly, is pure sci-fi cult DVD fodder.
Part of the hilarious fallout between distributor and fan resulted in one of the most relevant Downfall memes of all time, proving that there really is no end to the comedy potential of stuffing expletives in Hitler's mouth. What proves so brilliant is that the movie itself memes the meme, in a pure 'pop-culture will continually digest itself back and forth forever' moment.
With all the hoohah about the one night screening selling out (indeed my local, the Hackney Picturehouse, was filled instantly, and so I had to travel all the way to Stratford aka the OlympicWestfield mecha to watch it), I was shocked to find but five people in the screen when I arrived, on time.
It was ten minutes later, when it still hadn't started, a rather nasally gentleman ran into the auditorium and shouted that it was actually showing in a different screen (yeah, thanks Stratford Picturehouse online ticketing!). We hurried into the REAL audience to find them already filling the seats and rolling in the aisles to the barrage of nazi-bashing humour.
Ah - this was the audience we were promised. Now, I'm not saying that it was full of internet geeks, but there were so many people were wearing thick rimmed glasses, I had to double check it wasn't a 3D screening.
Ok. That's enough geek-baiting. I promise.
There are a fair few Carry On Space Nazi moments that fall a bit flat and some of the American-bashing is a little cliche. But while some of the jokes are just plain awful, fortunately there is enough good stuff in there to graduate it to watchable pulp status.
Personally, I hope for films to be more than just 'watchable pulp', though, especially when people have poured their heart and soul into it (which it's quite clear that they have). There ARE moments where I had fun, and kinda liked it, but then there are also others where it feels distinctly amateur.
Since I am still some years away from making my own first feature film, perhaps I should be less harsh?
These filmmakers have pulled together a film that visually matches anything at the multiplex today - indeed it was in the screen next door to Avengers Assemble, and their destruction of New York was equally as, um, well, technically competent but, you know, equally as dull.
Sorry, this is a bugbear of mine: it seems that both Hollywood and independent filmmakers alike are still hooked on blowing the same Manhattan streets sky high, and I'm actually rather bored of it.
Still, they do a mean, smart and mirth-making space battle at the end that, for me, made up for its 5th avenue failings.
I know the audience loved it, though, as a hearty round of applause rang round the cinema as the credits rolled (distinctly un-British behaviour), and on exiting one guy screamed "brilliant".
One woman, however, proclaimed : "well, it's the worse thing I've seen today". Which is a bit harsh. I'm sure it's actually much better than this morning's Jeremy Kyle.
The forthright and verbose preacher lady at Stratford station, who thrust an 'Armageddon' pamphlet in my face, uttering "repent", as I made my way home, was, in a way, correct: Iron Sky is far better than Bruce Willis's asteroid odyssey. Thus, and rather oddly, making my conclusion for me:
Iron Sky was indeed worth it. Worth making. Worth watching (out on DVD and digital download next week, and then maybe the odd extra screening if the geeks continue to revolt). And, surprisingly, even worth going all the way to Stratford for.
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