Iron Sky: The Coming Race
|Iron Sky: The Coming Race|
Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||Timo Vuorensola|
|Screenplay by||Dalan Musson|
|Edited by||Joona Louhivuori|
Iron Sky Universe 120dB Film Finance
|Distributed by||101 Films Scoundrel Media|
|Box office||$400,000 (excluding Finland)|
Iron Sky: The Coming Race is a 2019 Finnish-German comic science fiction action film directed by Timo Vuorensola. The sequel to Vuorensola's 2012 film Iron Sky, its production was crowdfunded through Indiegogo. Like its predecessor, the film mixes political themes with repeated allusions to the popular culture and various conspiracy theories, but is generally more action-adventure oriented. A major inspiration of the content (and title) is the Vril conspiracy theory.
The plot follows a group of nuclear holocaust survivors living in an abandoned Nazi base on the far side of the Moon. Boarding a barely functioning spacecraft, they travel to the nucleus of the hollow Earth in an attempt to recover the Holy Grail from a group of reptilian shape-shifters who are lead by Tyrannosaurus-riding Adolf Hitler.
Produced on a budget of 17 million euros, The Coming Race is the most expensive Finnish live-action picture ever made. The production suffered from repeated delays and a copyright dispute, with a Finnish court eventually settling the case by ruling in favor of the filmmakers.
The Coming Race was released on 16 January 2019 in Finland, but performed poorly in the box office. Most reviews were negative, citing problems such as unidimensional characters, low-quality CGI, dated jokes, and confused script. The self-conscious ludicrousness of the storyline divided critics, with some finding it amusing while others criticized it as disorienting and unfunny. Lara Rossi′s and Udo Kier′s performances received some praise, however.
The year is 2047, 29 years after the nuclear war between the Earth and Moon Nazis rendered the planet inhospitable. The last survivors have rallied together on "Neomenia", the former Moon Nazi base on the far side of the moon, struggling to coexist with the former Moon Nazis who also live in the base. Over the years, the base has started to deteriorate due to overpopulation and the damage on the moon caused by the nuclear war. Meanwhile, Jobsism, a cult formed around the teachings of Steve Jobs and their leader Donald, has become the moon base's official religion.
Obi Washington, daughter of James Washington and Renate Richter, has spent her life keeping Neomenia's life support systems functional. While examining a Russian refugee ship, she encounters Wolfgang Kortzfleisch, the former Moonführer, who gives her Vrilia, the cure to Renate's terminal illness. When Renate's health is restored, Kortzfleisch reveals to Obi that he is a Vril, a race of Reptilians that arrived on Earth during the age of the dinosaurs. While studying the primates that emerged during prehistory, Kortzfleisch created humankind by injecting vrilia into an apple and feeding it to his monkeys Adam and Eve. The Vril have since gone underground to the center of the Earth once mankind had evolved. Kortzfleisch offers Obi a mission to travel to the subterranean city of Agartha and take the city's Vrilia to ensure the survival of her colony. Obi, along with the refugee ship's pilot Sasha, security officer Malcolm, and the Jobsists, fly to Earth and crash in the Hollow Earth.
In Agartha, the Vril, who have been parading around as world leaders throughout history, kill the President of the United States for making the surface world uninhabitable. The Jobsists and Malcolm are captured by Steve Jobs and brought to Adolf Hitler, and Donald offers Hitler the whereabouts of Kortzfleisch in exchange for the Jobsists to live in Agartha, only for Hitler to betray them and have Jobs eat the Jobsists. Meanwhile, Obi and Sasha take the Holy Grail, the source of the Vrilia, but cause Agartha's sun to collapse and destroy the city. Malcolm escapes from captivity and rejoins Obi and Sasha before they fly back to Neomenia. Hitler launches the Vril spaceship out of Antarctica to follow them. Upon the trio's arrival, Kortzfleisch holds Renate hostage for Obi to surrender the Holy Grail, but Hitler and his tyrannosaurus Blondi invade the moon base. After drinking from the Holy Grail, a rejuvenated Renate confronts and kills Hitler, but is mortally wounded by Kortzfleisch. Obi, Sasha, Malcolm, and the surviving inhabitants escape in an old ship, but Kortzfleisch chases after them. Using Sasha's old Nokia 3310, Obi hacks into Donald's iPhone, triggering the self-destruct mechanism and destroying the Vril spaceship.
During dinner, Malcolm comes out as gay, but collapses and dies from allergens in the food. Both he and Renate are given a space funeral, but Malcolm suddenly gets out of his coffin, revealing that he only went into a short coma. As the ship makes its long travel to Mars, Obi and Sasha express their love for each other.
In a mid-credit sequence, it is revealed that Mars has been colonized by the Soviet Union.
- Lara Rossi as Obianaju "Obi" Washington
- Vladimir Burlakov as Sasha
- Kit Dale as Malcolm
- Julia Dietze as Renate Richter
- Stephanie Paul as the President of the United States (a parody of Sarah Palin) who is secretly a Vril
- Tom Green as Donald
- Udo Kier as Wolfgang Kortzfleisch and Vril Adolf Hitler
- John Flanders as Gary the Base Commander
- James Quinn as Deputy Commander Johan
- Emily Atack as Tyler
- Martin Swabey as Ryan
- Pierce Baechler as the Altar Boy
- Christoph Drobig as the Guilty Jobsist
- Edward Judge as Fat Tyler
- Kari Berg as Lena the Jobsist
- Victor Au as a Vril Officer
- Vasco De Beukelaer as the Vril Chairman
- Muya Lubambu Tshinioka as Vril Idi Amin
- Antoine Plaisant as Vril Mark Zuckerberg
- Amanda Wolzak as Vril Margaret Thatcher
- Francesco Italiano as Vril Caligula
- Duta Skhirtladze as Vril Joseph Stalin
- Jukka Hilden as Vril Pope Urban II
- Abbas Shirafkan as Vril Osama bin Laden
- Kari Ketonen as Vril Vladimir Putin
- Hon Ping Tang as Vril Genghis Khan
- Lloyd Lai as Vril Kim Jong-un
- Tero Kaukomaa as Vril Urho Kekkonen
- Gaëtan Wenders as Vril Steve Jobs
- Alexander Moens as Vril Temple Guard
On 20 May 2012, Tero Kaukomaa, producer of the first film, announced that there were plans for a prequel and a sequel but refused to disclose details. In May 2013, Vuorensola announced that Iron Sky would have a sequel titled Iron Sky The Coming Race. He also mentioned that unlike the first film, this installment would be completely funded by fans via Indiegogo, with an estimated budget of US$15 million. A promo video was shot for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and the final draft of the script was scheduled to be published by the end of 2014. Filming was expected to begin in 2015. In July 2013, Vuorensola revealed Croatia as one of the proposed shooting locations. In February 2014, Dalan Musson signed in to write the screenplay. The Finnish Film Foundation and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg had come on board to finance the US$13 million project. On 5 November 2014, Iron Sky Universe launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise US$500,000 before 20 December. At the closing of the campaign on 5 January, contributors pledged a grand total of US$560,949.
In October 2016, Timo Vuorensola launched a new crowdfunding campaign to fund special effects for out-of-budget scenes that were in danger of being left out from the final cut of the movie. The scenes included the deaths of reptilian Margaret Thatcher and Pope Urban II.
Release was originally announced for 14 February 2018, but had been postponed to 22 August 2018 in Finland followed by the rest of the world soon after, if not the same time. However, according to reports in the Finnish press, the release date of 22 August 2018 had been cancelled. It was later announced that the film was scheduled to be released on 16 January 2019 as the Fan World Premiere in Helsinki, Finland.
Like its predecessor, the movie refers to several motifs of post-war Esoteric Nazism, such as the Hollow Earth theory. The movie's title is most likely a reference to Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel The Coming Race (1871) that is commonly regarded as the origin of the so-called Vril myth. The film teaser features the Vril symbol that was designed by the Tempelhofgesellschaft in the 1990s.
In the summer of 2017 a number of original Iron Sky VFX artists filed a suit in Finland against Iron Sky Universe Oy and Blind Spot Pictures Oy. "The plaintiffs claim their creative contribution to the Iron Sky franchise is such that they should also be considered as joint copyright holders of the original movie." In May 2018, the Finnish market court ruled that the artists have no copyright under sections 2, 6 and 46a of the Finnish copyright act in relation to Iron Sky and its material. The court awarded copyright to a single artist in the case of a Japanese ship design used in the film, but ruled that the copyright for only that ship had legally transferred to Blind Spot Pictures. In addition, the production companies filed a counterclaim asking the Finnish Market Courts to confirm that the VFX artists had no copyright in the films or in any material made by them and that the VFX artists had no right to use any material related to them. However, Finnish Market Courts rejected the production companies counterclaim.
The film did not do well in the box office. In Finland, it had close to 32,000 viewers, less than one-fifth of the previous film. International total box office (excluding Finland) by July 2019 was less than US$400,000.
Following its premiere on January 16, 2019 in Helsinki, Finland, Iron Sky: The Coming Race attracted hostile reviews. Foreign reviews were generally negative as well. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 29% based on 7 reviews. Common criticisms included superficial characterization, poor special effects, self-conscious absurdity of the script, and the fact that its humor was badly dated as a result of the repeatedly delayed premiere. Lara Rossi in the lead role received some praise, however.
Juho Typpö of Helsingin Sanomat called Iron Sky: The Coming Race an ”awfully bad movie” and a ”massive disappointment”, awarding it one star out of five. According to him, the filmmakers seemed to believe ”crazy and ludicrous twists” possess an inherent comedic value while in reality they do not, resulting in an ”utter bore” that is not ”entertaining or amusing. Not for a minute.” For Typpö, the entire film was ”but a big joke” that provides the viewer no reason to care, and the potential of once-topical themes (such as Sarah Palin and Steve Jobs) had been lost due to the prolonged production. Even the budget of 20 million — an all-time record for a Finnish live-action movie — was seemingly wasted, resulting in confined set-pieces and CGI of uneven quality.
Jouni Vikman of Episodi also gave the film one star. He criticized The Coming Race for its ”old jokes that would not have been funny even if they were new”, and believed the repeated allusions to internet memes were only included to satisfy the fanbase and keep the various promises made over the years. The special effect sequences, supposedly the main attraction, were too brief to his tastes and ”reminiscent of a tawdry TV-series”. According to Vikman, ”the veteran actors Udo Kier and Tom Green only manage to survive by ignoring their surroundings”. On the other hand, he was impressed by Lara Rossi, especially considering the fact that most of the scenes were filmed in front of the green screen.
Jonni Aromaa from Yle News said Iron Sky: The Coming Race was one of the worst films he had ever seen, citing problems such as cardboard characters, subpar dialogue, unfunny humor, and low quality of the dinosaur effects. He was particularly critical of the screenplay: ”Why on earth was the script written by the American Dalan Musson, a friend of Vuorensola’s? Was it really so that no one else was available on this planet?” Aromaa predicted that, at least in Finland, the film would be a financial failure.
Other reviews were more positive. Tapani Peltonen from V2 awarded Iron Sky: The Coming Race two stars out of five, describing the film as a ”wild and free” alternative to the homogenous mass of calculated Hollywood productions, but remarked that many such alternative productions — The Coming Race included — struggle with even the very basics of filmmaking, failing to flesh out characters that captivate the audience's interest. Helinä Laajalahti from Muropaketti gave the film three stars of out five and lauded it for its ambition. She, however, noted that ”the abundance of details and references embedded in the story threaten to turn against itself” and felt the film would have benefited from a more focused approach. Janne Kaakko of Aamulehti called the film a sequel that managed to be even more ”colorful, crackpot, and nerdy” than the original, giving it three stars out of five. Martta Kaukonen of Me Naiset likewise awarded the film three stars and said it was as entertaining as the original Iron Sky. She enjoyed the ”delicious” characterization and praised Kier's dual role.
Sophie Monks Kaufman of The Guardian gave the film one out of five stars, calling it a ”scattershot, stakes-free, self-consciously wacky space comedy”. She criticized its unidimensional characters and superficial script, noting a tendency to introduce illogical elements with little relation to the rest of the plot, seemingly for the sake of sheer surrealness. Nonetheless, Kaufman praised Lara Rossi's committed performance ”as a grounding presence in a gravity-free spectacle”. Noel Murray of Los Angeles Times called The Coming Race a ”goofy science-fiction picture”. While alluding to contemporary concerns such as the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, the film — not unlike its predecessor — remains unable to provide actual satire and invokes provocative themes merely as a means of attracting curiosity. Murray described The Coming Race ”frustratingly unfocused” both as a story and as a commentary of the modern era. Just the same, he found the hollow Earth sequence ”suitably wacky”.
On the other hand, Samantha Nelson, writing for The Verge, enjoyed the ”uniquely bizarre form of movie magic”. She found the film mostly void of the original’s ”dark political comedy”, being more focused on campy adventure and absurd expositions delivered by Udo Kier. The storyline offers "plenty of opportunities for spectacle" and comedic commentary of film tropes, and the special effects show significant improvement over those in the first film. On the downside, The Coming Race’s high-speed plot prevents it from giving necessary focus on any single theme.
Before the film was released, a third film, called Iron Sky: The End Game, which would have made the Iron Sky films a trilogy, was in a planning stage.
Crowdfunding perks problems
During Autumn of 2019 their were many complaints from crowdfunding participants that Iron Sky Universe were not fulfilling their delivery of promised crowdfunding perks from the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.. Eventually, on November 5th 2019 Iron Sky Universe placed an update citing, "very challenging financial situation for the company", and saying that physical discs of the film may not actually be delivered at all. "However we can not make promises when the physical discs are coming, or if they're coming at all."
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