Directed by: Anthony Leondis
Premise: An animated film that takes place in a fantasy world where hunchbacked workers, called Igors, work for mad scientists. One particular Igor (voice of John Cusack) defies the social order and builds a monster of his own. Things get complicated when the creature turns out to be nice rather than evil.
What Works: The film is a clever homage to classic science fiction and horror films like Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Clockwork Orange, and The Fly. It has a lot of physical comedy and sharp, witty dialogue, most of it delivered by Scamper (voice of Steve Buscemi) as a suicidal rabbit who Igor has made immortal, and Brain (voice of Sean Hayes), a cerebellum in a jar who is not very intelligent. A lot of the wit makes for a good laugh, at least for the adults.
What Doesn’t: Although the the wit is intended for adults and the physical comedy is aimed at children, Igor’s sense of humor is so dark that it plays more to grown ups. Parents will probably be uneasy with the idea of their children laughing at Scamper, who is constantly trying to kill himself. The film would have been more successful if it had embraced an R-rating and gone the route of South Park, carrying the mature humor all the way. Instead the film is determined to capture the youth audience but the film ends up alienating both. On top of the faults of the film’s approach, the animation of Igor is not very good. Some chase scenes are edited very sloppily and the plot is a recycled “little white lie” storyline. The film hints at a theme similar to Monsters, Inc. but it gets there too late and does not play out the thematic and narrative implications. In addition to its homages to other science fiction pictures, Igor rips off its look and some of its characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, and the whole picture lacks a sense of creativity or innovation that have made other animated pictures so successful.
Bottom Line: Igor is a disappointment. Steve Buscemi gives a strong performance and adds a lot of humor, but too much of this film is recycled or just plain stolen from other movies to make this film worth it.
Episode: #207 (October 5, 2008)