I had been waiting for this movie for years, ever since the initial trailer hit the internet:
So I was delighted to see it pop into Netflix last week. It seemed to have all of the classic B movie elements, Nazis, a ridiculous premise, and did I mention Nazis? Who wouldn’t want to see a comedy like that? Well that was the purpose of the trailer. Not to promote a movie already made, but to obtain financing for a movie the producers wanted to make. Using crowd funding, the producers wanted to close the gap between what they were able to raise from normal studio methods and what they needed to complete the film. Crowd funding may well be a strong future method of financing films as the internet makes it possible to connect potential investors by dangling a trailer of what you have in mind for a film.
And crowd funding did work, helping the producers close the financial gap and make their movie. So the movie was released worldwide and…bombed, earning just over 8 million dollars worldwide. Not that great for a movie that had such internet interest prior to being released. Hopefully the movie’s investors didn’t have any retirement plans tied to their investment in this movie paying off.
But what about the movie itself? Is it the Good, the Bad, or the Ugly? If you put much stock into Rotten Tomatoes it rated a 37% on the Tomatometer. However, it is a B movie about Nazis on the moon, so we’re talking about grading on the curve here.
The basic plot of the movie is that in the near future, an American moon expedition to the dark side of the moon comes across a secret Nazi moon base, hidden since the end of World War II and working to reverse the results of the war. One of the American astronauts, or should I say the Black American astronaut is captured. Realizing that the astronauts Iphone has more computing power than the Nazi’s World War II era computers, the space Nazi’s send a mission to Earth to collect more Iphones to provide the computing power needed to operate their ultimate weapon. Along for the ride is the supposedly brainwashed American Astronaut, and stowaway “Earthologist” Renate Richter (Julia Dietze). Antics ensue when the Nazi’s hit New York and besides an Apple Store, they discover new motivations for their mission.
Plus, a space battle.
However here is my take:
First the good: The movies tone was just about right. It was playful, with a hint of comedy. Not enough to really consider it an actual comedy, but in this case, the premise is the comedy. Although I have to admit the parody of the Downfall parody meme placed in the film gave me a laugh out loud moment. The movie is well casted, with the starring role of Renate by Julia Dietze showing perhaps the most delightful, beguiling Nazi to appear on the silver screen. She outshines Udo Kier, who as the Führer is the biggest star in the film. The special effects, although not spectacular, were sufficient for the film and the production and costuming was excellent. Little was updated in the basic Nazi uniforms, which have proven a perennial fascist costuming favorite for over 60 years. The set design was strictly 1940’s U-Boot. Even the Nazi’s anti gravity flying saucers had a retro feel to them.
The bad: As a Finnish-German-Australian production, I’m not sure how they know how to present black people. Christopher Kirby, playing astronaut James Washington, as one of the main stars of the film, was given little to do other than stand around being black. In fact his character wasn’t even an astronaut but a male model sent to space as a publicity stunt. As a consequence, the character is presented as if the last time the makers of the film saw a black guy in a film was in a 1970’s Blaxploitation film.
Or any Chris Tucker movie.
I’m not saying it was a degrading or racist portrayal; I mean, the character didn’t say “feets don’t fail me now” or anything like that, but it was way stereotypie.
Also, I wasn’t a fan of the film’s Anti-Americanism. In fact, reading some of the tweets on this movie, it seems like for most of the fans who really liked the film, the anti-Americanism was the best part of the film. Start with a Palin-esque President; in fact you might as well call her President Palin. The moon based Nazis who come to earth to collect Apple products end up with the President’s campaign manager, who integrates the newcomers National Socialist ideology into a winning campaign strategy. Combine that with the US’s secret moon agenda and you quickly figure out who the real Nazi’s are: Yep, it’s the Americans. In fact at the end of the movie, even the Nazi’s get at least a partial redemption and sympathy from the audience. Thanks partly to Julia Dietze‘s ability to portray her character as the protagonist with nothing but good intentions, compared to the American indiscriminate targeting of women and children. No sympathy for the Americans though. They are the films real bad guys.
However, if you hate America, or can just handle heavy doses of anti-Americanism, I would recommend you see this movie. First, if you really, really like B movies, this is definitely one. And secondly, it’s about Nazi’s. And they’re on the moon! It’s kind of hard to mess that up.