Published Sep 18, 2008Taking a Tim Burton aesthetic and sensibility but delivering a product more akin to the Beetlejuice cartoon than the cult hit film, Igor is a passable and mildly amusing irreverent comedy for kids that will be too dark thematically for some and too cornball for others.
It attempts to juggle too many balls at once by offering adult references to things such as A Clockwork Orange and James Lipton while waxing philosophical about existentialism and the nature of immortality, and delivering kid-friendly toilet jokes and hunchback humour. The result is messy and unsatisfying but certainly not awful.
The animated feature takes place in Malaria, a community of eternal darkness where evil is the recognized social norm. Tyrannical leader King Malbert (Jay Leno) hosts regular Science Fairs of Evil where Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard) always takes the crown, with the aid of his evil and conniving girlfriend Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge).
Meanwhile, following the death of mad scientist Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese), a mere Igor (John Cusack) who was regimented to Igor status by birth-rite and physicality rather than natural ability takes on the challenge of developing an invention for the Science Fair, with the help of his immortal creation Scamper (Steve Buscemi) and his dim-witted creation Brain (Sean Hayes). The "Bride of Frankenstein monster that Igor builds, referred to as Eva (Molly Shannon), looks to be the sure-fire winner until it is discovered that she can do only good rather than the preferential malevolence.
While references to the evils of authoritarian regimes and the importance of remaining "good even if it means living a lacklustre life are at the forefront of the film, the "black and white handling of these issues would leave even the average 12-year-old rolling their eyes.
Unfortunately, the dark nature of the subject matter suggests an audience of older children but the humour, references and overall message cater to audiences both older and younger than that demographic, leaving a film that likely will not fully gel for anyone. (Alliance)