Written by Fantasma el Rey
Igor is a fun little tale of a hunchback who yearns to be more than an evil scientist’s assistant and with his knack for invention he may well be the first. Along with two of his creations, he sets out to prove that even an Igor can be equal and more than just a “switch puller.” In 87 minutes we get the whole story told in a nightmarish Tim Burtonesque fashion, have a few laughs, and smile as Igor makes his mark in the dark world that he lives in.
Our hero Igor (John Cusack) is an Igor because he was who born hunchbacked in the land of Malaria, dooming him to serve evil scientists pulling switches, doing the manual labor, and being all around lackeys. Igors aren’t born with these “skills,” so they must learn them through longs hours of schooling. The art of switch pulling; slurred, accented speech; and a “yes, master” degree are just a few things an Igor must excel at. Our Igor is different and determined to change it all. He himself is a brilliant inventor and is the one who makes most of his evil scientist’s, Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese), ideas work.
With the death of Glickenstein, Igor and his sidekicks Brain (Sean Hayes), a somewhat robotic brain in a glass jar, and Scamper (Steve Buscemi), a rabbit that is now immortal thanks to Igor, jump on the opportunity to enter the annual evil science fair under the guise of the deceased evil scientist’s last invention, which is really Igor’s. And Igor’s invention is…a giant female version of Frankenstein’s monster that he has brought to life to do evil and win the fair. The only problem is that his creation, who dubs herself Eva (Molly Shannon), has an evil bone that fails to activate, causing her to want to become an actress. She is also caring, loving, and not at all evil, to Igor’s horror.
From there we get the same old song and death dance of how the reigning science-fair champ, Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard), steals Eva, claims her as his own invention, and attempts to do away with Igor. All the while the good guys chase the bad and race against the clock to save the lady monster that Igor is now quit fond of. By the end, all is well as Igor saves Eva and reveals the true story behind how the once happy, sunny land of Malaria became a “storm cloud filled,” dark evil place. Igor also achieves his grand goal of breaking the hunchback barriers and has become, along with all other Igors, accepted as equals among the people of Malaria.
Not a bad movie, a bit formulaic at times in its story which is a good one with its message to stand out, be yourself, and do what’s right, set perfectly in a dark land with monsters of all types. Placed well in the movie are some goods lines about that very subject. One from Igor himself is “I tried to be someone different but the world wouldn’t let me.” I love that line as well as Eva’s delivery of “Better to be a good nobody than an evil somebody.” Brilliant.
While some of the animated characters seemed recycled from Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas,” the cast does a fine job in their voice work. Cusack as Igor is great and Steve Buscemi’s voice is perfect for Scamper, whose attempts to do himself in are filled with sarcasm and wit. Izzard as the villain is also good as is Shannon, and through the film we get to hear from Christian Slater and Arsenio Hall as well as Jay Leno. DVD extras include audio commentary by director Tony Leondis, writer Chris McKenna, and producer Max Howard as well as an alternate opening sequence that doesn’t work as well as the chosen opener.
Igor may be too creepy for some children while other little creepy kids may come away with a spine-tingling good time with a message. As for the adult chill-dren and creepy sorts who find laughs and entertainment in the things that go bump in the night, it provides some evil laughs and a dark smile much along the lines of television classics The Addams Family or The Munsters.