Daily archives: December 13, 2012

B Movie Night- Iron Sky

No matter how gorgeous it looks, Iron Sky is pure B Movie. It got its stunning digital effects through crowd sourcing and took its time getting them right. Visually it’s absolutely worth it.

It’s in the story department where the B Movie label best applies, because it’s quite, quite crazy. Nazis escaped to the moon at the end of World War 2 and have been building an empire on the dark side ever since. Discovered by two hapless astronauts, who are only there as a re-election stunt for Sarah Palin, they decide to bring forward their plans to re-conquer the Earth. But only after they’ve been down to the surface to steal a few Apple computers to run their larger space ships.

The plot is so full of holes that it resembles a doily, but it’s presented with so many crazy-silly ideas and played with such earnest silliness that you really don’t care. The political satire is delicately applied with a shovel and there’s a Dr. Strangelove steal and an amusing nod to that bit of Downfall absolutely everyone has seen. There’s some dodgy racial politics- the USA couldn’t find a qualified black astronaut? They had to send a male model instead?- and the leading lady seems to become increasingly naive for the first three quarters of the movie before having a revelation after watching a silent film. They could have done with a few more drafts of the script before filming, but that may have taken the edge off the charm.

Shortly after watching Iron Sky I watched Cargo, which could be thought of as Iron Sky’s more serious cousin. This Swiss sci-fi takes place on battered and claustrophobic space ships after Earth has been abandoned. Supposedly shipping equipment to an automated space station due to be the waypoint in the search for new worlds, newbie crew member Dr Laura Portmann begins to suspect sabotage or stowaways but finds something completely different. The big reveal is quite obvious from early on, but it’s the way the film gets there that counts.

Is there a European sci-fi film boom going on? Are there any others I should watch?

B Movie Night- Yo Yo Girl Cop

The Japanese, they do things differently.

Someone is blowing up teenagers, or convincing them to blow themselves up. It probably has something to do with one particular school and a mysterious website calle Enola Gay. The Police need to send someone into the school undercover to find out just what is going on before the countdown timer on Enola Gay reaches zero.

Obviously, whoever goes into the school has to blend in. So it’s lucky that a grumpy one-legged Police inspector has just taken delivery of a teenage girl who has been trained since birth in fighting and surviving. Convinced to help, she is given her mother’s old cover name, a combat yo-yo* and a three day deadline to thwart Romeo- the website’s webmaster/mystery leader- and save her mother from prison in the USA.

I reckon YYGC is mocking a particular type of Japanese film or TV show we just don’t see very often in the West. It felt like there were a lot of nods to things I didn’t recognise and that it would hold together a lot better if I recognised the tropes it was messing with or could fill in the leaps the story took. Or perhaps it would be just as confusing to someone steeped in Japanese culture.

Not that I didn’t enjoy this film. It keeps you hooked, even if it’s only because you really, really want it to make sense somewhere along the line. By the end the plot is foiled, Romeo (or someone) has been defeated, “K” has come to terms with her mother’s past and their shared destiny and a fledgling lesbian romance has been rescued. I’m just not completely sure how.

Buy Yo Yo Girl Cop from Amazon.

*It’s never really explained how it is a combat yo-yo, it just is. Built into its design is a super secret symbol for the Police task force she is now a member of.