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Igor Your Usual Bit of Slumming Animation

Directed by Anthony Leondis
Written by Chris McKenna
MGM, 2008

It goes to show, even movies that likely took years to make and lots of hard work went into it can be dumped in September.  Of course, if the movie doesn’t have a well-realized script from the beginning, all that hard work will be for a hideaway month like January or September.  Lots of times, movies are just made for kids, which is OK and necessary so that kids will grow an appreciation for movies down the road when they’re the ones actually paying for the ticket.  A movie like Igor toes that line of critic-proof, since it’s not made for critics.  But we see lots of movies, Wall-E for instance, made for kids that somehow can astound adults as well.  I guess we can’t expect that from every studio, but why not?  You’re going to spend years on it anyway, might as well make it count.

In Igor, we learn of a dour place called Malaria in which King Malbert (Jay Leno) has created a culture of mad scientists who need to build the most evil inventions ever for an annual science fair.  The one who keeps winning is Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard), who uses his girlfriend Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge) to steal other inventor’s work to win the fair every year.  One of the other mad scientists, Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese) dies in the making of his own invention, clearing the way for his “igor” (John Cusack) to make inventions himself.  We learn that in Malaria, you grow up either wanting to be a mad scientist or an igor, and Igor wanted to be a mad scientist, but ended up being an igor.

Igor has made inventions, not exactly the best, that he has kept secret from his boss.  An immortal bunny (Steve Buscemi) and a not-so-smart Brain (Sean Hayes).  With their help, Igor tries to do what no mad scientist has done and that’s create life.  And hopefully create a life that’s eeeevil.  He gets to work, and creates Eva (Molly Shannon), a monstrosity who wouldn’t hurt anything (there’s something about her “evil bone” not being activated).  After a brain-washing goes awry, Eva becomes well-trained in the field of acting…including being a diva, but a nice diva (which is kind of disappointing).  Needless to say, Schadenfreude catches wind of the invention and wants it for himself, and hopes to overthrow the King in the process.

This is bargain-basement animation, complete with the usual pseudo-edginess that tries to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack.  There are a lot of characters here who could have been real delights, especially Scamper, the immortal bunny who wants to kill himself.  Eventually, Scamper just becomes like any other wise-cracking sidekick, however.  Brain, as voiced by Sean Hayes, is, as you can imagine, pretty annoying.

This movie isn’t terrible by any stretch, it just isn’t worth most people’s time.  But this is the usual period of time where there are not many kids movies out, so it can fit the bill until, I guess, Madagascar 2.

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