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October 23, 2012
Iron Sky Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
10/5/20123/10/2012Sony UniversalTimo Vuorensola
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MJulia Dietze

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Swastika shaped Nazi moon base in Iron Sky.

What a concept for a movie... During World War II the Nazi party set up a base on the far side of the moon to build an army of soldiers and numerous war machines in anticipation of a return to Earth in 2018. Now the time has come, somewhat prematurely, after two American astronauts discover their base and set in motion a series of events that have worldwide implications - for the American President and the United Nations.

Directed by Timo Vuorensola the lean 93 minute runtime for Iron Sky means this film keeps a brisk pace and as a result never bogs down or becomes boring. Be it the on the Nazi moon base, with Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch preparing to invade Earth, on Earth with Stephanie Paul playing the President and Peta Sergeant (whom some of you may recognise as Cat from Winners & Losers recently) as her advisor this film always has great visuals, and a few interesting twists and turns to keep you watching.

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Julia Dietze is superb in Iron Sky.
Leading the cast however is German actress Julia Dietze as Renate Richter who goes from the moon base to Earth with the equally impressive Götz Otto as Klaus Adler to, well, I won't spoil the plot. All the actors do a fine job with dialogue that often misses the mark, but does have some great moments as well. The only part of the story which I wasn't overly keen on concerned an African American being turned into a white man chemically and thereby struggling to regain his identity. The movie didn't really need this side-story.

While the early segments of the film are fairly slow it does set up the story well, and throws in some decent but not over-the-top comedy including some great lines from the leaders at the United Nations - including a great moment with the North Korean representative. When, approximately half way into the film, you see the Nazi war machines in full flight, the film really livens up and the visual effects really are extremely impressive for a low budget film (which we must add was partially crowd funded and "developed" apparently).

Just like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and 300 this film contains a massive amount of CG instead of sets - even scenes in small rooms were often shot on blue/green screens and then had the backgrounds added in digitally later. Given the small budget of this film - under $AU10 million - the final result is truly outstanding and the sets, even in virtual form, really are superbly designed.

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For a "budget" film visuals are impressive.
This film is a mixture between political comedy, action and drama, but from the opening scenes this is very much recognisable as a B-Grade film. Iron Sky was very much a film we enjoyed. It's different from so much of the other "fluff" released these days that it's refreshing. Not award winning by any stretch, but definitely worth checking out if only for the unique premise.

Iron Sky is presented on Blu-Ray with an AVC MPEG-4 codec and, for the most part, the film looks very impressive with plenty of fine detail evident, despite the rather dull and drab look to the majority of the film. In fact, with so many greys, this is almost a black and white film in many sections - primarily when in the moon base, but even on Earth the colours are muted. It's a deliberate design decision, but one that works perfectly for this film, and the Blu-Ray video transfer, which generally hovers above 20Mbps for most scenes, ensures it always looks very solid. Sure, it's not one filled with Hollywood gloss, but it doesn't need it.

While the transfer is quite good overall, we did notice some areas where black levels weren't as deep as we would expect, and we also noticed some colour banding, particularly early in the film in some of the scenes on the moon.

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Iron Sky's costume design is also fantastic.
As with so many other Blu-Ray releases Iron Sky arrives on Blu-Ray with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24- bit/48Khz) track and while the surround sound channels and sub-woofer are fairly subdued for a large part of the film, when the action heats up in the latter stages the sound field comes alive and the room shakes suitably with the explosions and space ships flying past.

Dialogue is given good prioritisation while the subtitles during the German speaking sections (and much of the film is in this language) are clear and easy to read. Music and sound effects are pretty good, often over the top, but very much suitable to an action-packed, occasionally comedic film such as this. A prime example is when the Nazi's first meet the American President in the (not) oval office.

There are no other audio tracks on this Blu-Ray (besides the 2 channel commentary - more on that in the Extras section), while the disc only contains a single English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track which is accurate to the dialogue and gets the job done for those requiring subtitles.

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The Nazi leaders plan to invade Earth.
There are actually a few extras on this disc, the highlight for us being the commentary. Here's what to expect.

Audio Commentary: This is a fairly interesting commentary which includes the Director/Writer Timo Vuorensola and Producer/Visual Effects Supervisor Samuli Torssonen. The discussion is pretty non-stop and while they describe this as "the greatest film in the universe", they spend plenty of time detailing the creation of the story, and production, of the film. It's certainly a highlight of the extras on this disc, and well worth a listen.

Making of Iron Sky (16:38/HD): This featurette is a pretty nice look at making Iron Sky following the filmmakers previous effort, the free to download hit film Star Wreck (yes, a spoof of Star Trek. This is a honest, but far too brief, look at the creation of the film that goes beyond a promotional piece and definitely worth checking out.

Behind the Scenes (17:25/HD): Here we have 18 "Fly on the Wall" styled clips from the set of Iron Sky which shows various moments during the filming. There's no commentary but it's pretty clear what's being shot, and the intent of the segment. If anything it certainly demonstrates the amount of green screen used in the film (and therefor CG backgrounds).

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Peta Sergeant (right) is the President's Advisor in the 2012 film Iron Sky.
Photo Gallery (3:33/HD): Here we have a series of 30 still images from the film.

Theatrical Trailer (1:47/HD): This is the pretty cool Theatrical Trailer for the film - although don't watch it before the film as it shows some of the best, and key, moments - still it sells the film well.

Teaser Trailers (5:25/HD): Here we have three teaser trailers for Iron Sky, the second of which is quite impressive.

There's no doubt that many people will despise every aspect of Iron Sky - it's certainly not going to win any awards, but will have its fans, myself included. Bizarre, often brilliant, often horrible this is B-Grade cinema at its best, and it knows it too.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are CopyrightŠ Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.