An animated movie that tells the story of Igor (voiced by John Cusack), a hunch-backed lab assistant in the land of Malaria. Malaria is populated largely by evil scientists and their Igors, only really used for fetching parts and pulling switches. Which is a shame as this particular Igor has a knack for inventing. He already has two companions, one of them being a stupid brain in a jar that thinks he’s really clever and the other being a suicidal rabbit named Scamper. But nobody will ever take him seriously, nobody will ever believe that an IGOR could actually invent anything of note. Luckily for everyone involved then, Igor’s boss man Dr. Glickenstein dies (okay, not so lucky for him) suddenly and it’s down to Igor to invent something evil enough to hopefully win the Evil Scientists Fair that’s only seven days away. Before you can say “Bride of Frankenstein” Igor has managed to create monstrous, terror-inducing, powerful life. Life that seems sadly lacking in evil-ness. But that does name herself Eva. Can a hunch-backed assistant, brain in a jar and suicidal rabbit get Eva to act evil enough in time for the fair while avoiding the scheming, grasping hands of competing Dr. Schadenfreude? Watching the movie is the only way to find out.
Igor is an enjoyable, nicely stylised animated movie. It has a great vocal cast including Cusack in the lead role, Sean Hayes in great form as the brain, Steve Buscemi being a brilliant suicidal rabbit (there’s another guy who should really do more voice-over work for quality animated movies), Eddie Izzard as Dr. Schadenfreude, Jennifer Coolidge as a number of different-looking women and even Jay Leno as the King of Malaria. What it doesn’t have is enough humour. There are many laughs scattered throughout, including some chucklesome scenes involving blind orphans which I am sure some people will be disgusted by, but considering the wealth of material it has to draw upon I was really expecting Igor to be much more jam-packed with gags, sly references and homages. Maybe there was a lot more going on in details that I missed but I don’t think so.
The film falls between two stools in many ways. It looks great but also feels a bit rough ‘n’ ready in places (no surprise considering the last-minute script change noted in the IMDb trivia section), it’s warm and funny but not warm and funny enough, it has likable characters but you have to wonder if they will be likable to youngsters or simply to people like me who have a fondness for the Universal horror classics and the roots of the genre I so love.
A hard one to recommend as a family viewing (it really depends on the age of the kid and how savvy they are) and a hard one to recommend to adult fans of animated fare but I DO recommend this to people who enjoy some dark humour in their “kid’s” movies and who like the same horror classics that I look up to as the grand-daddy’s of the genre.
DIRECTOR: ANTHONY LEONDIS
CAST: JOHN CUSACK, SEAN HAYES, STEVE BUSCEMI, JENNIFER COOLIDGE, EDDIE IZZARD
RUNTIME: 87 MINS APPROX