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ENTERTAINMENT ONE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Timo Vuorensola
Cast:
Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby, Götz Otto, Peta Sergeant, Udo Kier, Stephanie Paul
Writing Credits:
Johanna Sinisalo (original story), Jarmo Puskala (original concept), Michael Kalesniko, Timo Vuorensola

Tagline:
Get Ready, The Fourth Reich Is Here.

Synopsis:
In 1945 a secret Nazi space program fled to the Dark Side of the Moon where they constructed a giant fortress and a massive armada of flying saucers. Their plan: travel back to Earth and re-colonize.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English/German DTS-HD MA 5.1
English/German Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 3/11/2014

Bonus:
• “Making Of” Documentary
• Photo Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer, Teasers and Previews
• DVD Copy
• 32-Page Concept Art Book


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Iron Sky: Director's Cut [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 11, 2014)

When the filmmakers pitched 2012’s Iron Sky, I suspect they uttered a mere four words: “Nazis from the Moon!” That’s the tale we get from this high-concept comedy/action flick.

Set in 2018, an American manned mission to the Moon finds a secret Nazi base. We learn that in 1945, Germans sent a crew up to the Moon to hide in the Dark Side and eventually send soldiers to the Earth to conquer the planet.

The Nazis capture Astronaut James Washington (Christopher Kirby) and use the technology in his cell phone to advance their plans. Nazi leaders Klaus Adler (Götz Otto) and Renate Richter (Julia Dietze) take Washington back to the Earth to gain access to more phones and eventually launch the invasion.

When I go into a film like Iron Sky, I don’t expect much. However, I do want it to live up – or down, if you will – to the absurdity of its concept. “Nazis from the Moon” is a pretty basic conceit, and one that would seem to be hard to mess up – all we want is some fun, campy action and we’re happy.

Alas, Sky can’t even get that right. It fancies itself as a smarter movie than it actually is. It wants to deliver a biting political satire and score with its observational humor.

Unfortunately, these elements flop. I figured I was in trouble when I first saw the film’s President (Stephanie Paul), as the movie turns her into an obvious Sarah Palin clone – visually, at least, as for reasons unknown, she speaks with a Southern accent. It’s already a lame gimmick to make “Palin” the President, but if you choose to embrace that notion, why not go all the way and make fun of her actual accent?

Sky inspires a whole lot of “why” questions as it goes, for it makes a series of perplexing choices. Why does an astronaut take a cell phone on a mission? Why does this same astronaut talk like a refugee from a 1970s Blaxploitation flick?

And why is there a presidential election in 2018? Perhaps that choice intends to make Sky seem more like a fantasy, but it’s unexplained and illogical – and a distraction, as the viewer will constantly wait for the movie to provide a rationale that never comes.

Sky tries to straddle action and comedy but fails. The movie moves at a slow, clumsy pace, as it abruptly halts to deliver awkward exposition. The characters consistently seem bland and forgettable, and the dialogue matches; there’s no wit or cleverness on display.

Even when the Nazi invasion finally occurs, it almost feels like an afterthought. I understand that Sky is a fairly low budget film so it couldn’t go nuts with its battle scenes, but I think it could’ve achieved more excitement than it delivers. The invasion is simple and barely a factor in the movie.

Look, all we want from a film like this is a wacky twist on War of the Worlds. Gimme some silly action/fun and I’m happy. Unfortunately, Iron Sky lacks even the basics necessary to make it a winning comedy-adventure.

The comments above address the theatrical version of Iron Sky; I reiterated them here to offer perspective on the original edition before I went on to discuss this Blu-ray’s Director’s Cut. Whereas the theatrical version ran 92 minutes, this one expands all the way to 110 minutes.

What does the Director’s Cut add? Excellent question – and one I can’t answer. I saw Iron Sky about a year and a half ago, and I don’t remember it well enough to notice the changes.

I can say this, however: the alterations don’t make this a more entertaining movie, but they turn it into a better movie. This feels counterintuitive; if a 92-minute movie plods, then a 110-minute flick should come across as even slower and draggier.

In this case, the added footage fleshes out the story and results in a better paced, more logical narrative. Whereas the theatrical version tended to feel jerky and clumsy, the Director’s Cut moves more smoothly and comes together as better realized.

That said, it’s still not especially entertaining. Most of the flaws I found in the original remain here, especially related to the “fun factor”. Whereas a movie about “moon Nazis” should deliver a wacky, goofball adventure, Sky lacks much excitement or comedy. The satire remains flat, the adventure fails to thrill, and the characters stay lackluster.

That issue does remind me of one apparent change, though: how Washington identifies himself. Here he takes pains to call himself a model, which indicates that the president sent him to the moon solely as a photo op. I might be wrong, but I think the theatrical cut portrayed him more specifically as an astronaut. This makes his dopiness more logical. We still don’t know why there’s a US presidential election in 2018, though, and other confusing elements remain.

In its extended Director’s Cut, Iron Sky remains a problematic movie, but I think it’s a less flawed movie than its shorter edition. That doesn’t count as a recommendation, but at least the DC gives us a more satisfying take on the tale.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Iron Sky appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a pretty solid presentation.

Sharpness seemed positive. A couple of slightly soft shots materialized, but these remained minor. The majority of the flick displayed accurate, concise material. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. I saw no print flaws, either.

Don’t expect a dynamic palette from Iron Sky. Much of the movie seemed essentially monochromatic, especially on the Moon; Earth scenes boasted a wider sense of color, but even these remained subdued. The hues worked fine within those parameters. Blacks seemed tight and dense, while shadows showed nice smoothness. In the end, the image satisfied.

I felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Iron Sky. An active and involving affair, the soundfield provided a good sense of environment. Quieter scenes kept us in the game with nice atmospheric elements, and the action sequences brought the mix to life in a positive manner. The film’s soundscape didn’t dazzle, but it added solid involvement to the story.

Sound quality worked fine. Speech was consistently natural and crisp, with no issues related to intelligibility or edginess. The score was always rich and showed good definition. Effects blasted home the action nicely, as they were accurate and dynamic. All in all, this soundtrack delivered the goods.

Except for some ads, none of the original Blu-ray’s extras repeat here. A ”Making Of” documentary lasts one hour, 18 minutes, 32 seconds and includes notes from director Timo Vuorensola, producer/visual effects producer Samuli Torssonen, original idea creator/community manager Jarmo Puskala, producers Oliver Damian, Tero Kaukomaa and Mark and Cathy Overett, original story writer Johanna Sinisalo, head of social media Pekka Ollula, publicist Janos Honkonen, costume designer Jake Collier, costume supervisor Nina Ruhkala, costume props coordinator Brett Logue, props master Adam Head, cinematographer Mika Orasmaa, production designer Ulrika Von Vegesack, art director Jussi Lehtiniemi, lead compositor Juuso Kaari, and actors Julia Dietze, Udo Kier, Tilo Prückner, Stephanie Paul, Christopher Kirby, Peta Sergeant, and Götz Otto.

The show looks at how Vuorensola and Torssonen came to know each other and enter into the film business, and the project’s origins, development and orientation. From there it gets into cast and performances, story/character areas, budget and the use of social media, costumes, props and production design, cinematography, sets and locations, and visual effects.

The theatrical Blu-ray included a “Making Of” featurette that ran about an hour shorter than this one. Based on my notes, I suspect it was simply a severely abbreviated version of this documentary. I thought the shorter version worked well and the long one succeeds even better. It covers the logical topics and does so with a good mix of comments and behind the scenes footage. “Making Of” gives us a satisfying show.

Under Photo Gallery we discover a running montage that fills one minute, 23 seconds. It shows us 16 shots across that span. These are basic movie images and nothing exciting.

The disc opens with an ad for We Are What We Are and Passion. We also find a trailer and three teasers for Iron Sky.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Iron Sky. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Finally, the set includes a 32-page Concept Art Book. This opens with an introductory note from Vuorensola and then gives us designs created for the film. It adds some value to the package.

I didn’t care for the theatrical version of Iron Sky, and the Director’s Cut fails to make me a fan. That said, it does work better, as it seems better paced and more coherent, so it improves on its shorter rendition. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio along with an informative documentary. The Director’s Cut still isn’t very entertaining, but at least it gives us a more competent rendition of its story.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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