Igor (2008)

Igor review!Reviewed by Nomad

Featuring the voices of John Cusack, Myleene Klass, Robin Howard, Matt McKenna, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi

Directed by Anthony Leondis

Welcome to the far off land of Malaria, home to the most evil super scientists the world has ever seen. To be frank, Malaria’s chief export, arguably, IS evil…and every year these psychotic brainiacs pit their most insidious creations against each other. The winner stands triumphant upon the world stage while his good King Malbert politely demands billions of dollars, lest he turn this monstrosity loose on them. It’s a global shake down, and a profitable one at that.

The Malarian food chain is simple; the king rules over the land. The mad scientists are the rock stars, treated to a lush lifestyle and creepy hilltop castle, free of charge. The people of Malaria are sort of just there to cheer on the scientists it seems. Finally … way at the bottom of the totem pole is the Igor; servant, slave and whipping boy to the scientists. If you’re born with a hump, you are shipped off to Igor school and that’s your lot in life. Fail your master and you are recycled! Yes, this is a cartoon and its rated PG, so keep that in mind as you visualize the carnage that awaits you!

At any rate, this is the story of one little Igor (voiced by Cusack) who wishes to transcend his lisp and lot in life and be an evil scientist himself. It’s the classic Disney theme of looking past someone’s appearance to see there is more to them beneath, although in this case, Walt Disney would be running past the camera on fire chased by a multi tentacled Ariel holding a trident shooting lightning. Get the picture?

Igor review!Igor is like a violent version of Young Frankenstein. This is the extremely witty and hysterically funny bastard child of Mel Brooks and John Landis. The comedic timing is top notch with humor that is 95% mean spirited, often remarkably dark and at times even a little gory (without the blood of course)! Igor draws a line in the sand and says “over there is horror movie territory” and then proceeds to dance as close to that line as possible and a couple of times, trips slightly over it, if only for a second.

The result is a wildly imaginative instant cult classic that will have parents laughing along with their kids, especially if those parents were raised on good ole’ fashioned Hammer Horror. I, myself, wore a ridiculous grin the entire time I watched.

It’s always hard to speak about acting performance in an animated feature, but we can certainly tell if a celeb is just dialing it in. This is one cast that consistently had me laughing across the board. Cusack brings a light heartedness to the Igor character, like a child practicing sounding mean at times and the rest, just keeping up with a manic pace. Steve Buscemi is brilliant casting lending a dead pan, no frills, almost exasperated voice to Scamper, the rabbit with a death wish. Sean Hayes (aka that guy from “Will and Grace”) rounds out the primary cast as Brain, the brain in a jar who behaves like the dim boy in the back of the class who eats paste and can be amused with a shiny coin for hours. His hyperactive voice is more than perfect for the job.

Then we have Eddie Izzard as Dr. Shadenfreude, our bad guy, who incorporates a sort of male version of Lili Von Shtupp from Blazing Saddles to hilarious effect. His counterpart is Jennifer Coolidge, whose voice you’d know anywhere. When Jennifer does her Heidi voice, you just may spit your drink out...so be warned. Finally we have Molly Shannon who brings an air of innocence and girlish fun to Eva the monster, playing her lines straight as an arrow.

Igor review!This shows that exceptional writing, when coupled with superior direction, can bring a cast together for one hell of an enjoyable film. Sometimes the old tricks work best … and just when you thought it wasn’t possible anymore! Granted, we’ve had some excellent successes in comedy this summer in Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express, but when was the last time a feature length cartoon made you bust a gut?

Art style is a big deal for people, as I’ve seen some experiment with new directions with disastrous results. Igor incorporates a style practically mocking Nightmare Before Christmas with character’s faces carved into primary shapes and scrawny little limbs dangling off of their bodies. Shadow is used to great effect, not only to strike the pre-requisite mad scientist mood but to enhance the feeling of 3 dimensions. This, coupled with a cinematic eye leaning towards the dramatic, further pulls you into the feature, exposing the creator’s love for black and white horror films of years past. For horror fans in particular, you’ll get your fill of mayhem through Scamper, almost exclusively, as he is shot, chopped, blown up and crispy fried and keeps on ticking with one liners at the ready. Think Looney Tunes, but after Daffy Duck takes a shotgun blast to the face, we get a turn around shot through the gaping hole in his head. Sick, mean spirited and funny; three great tastes that go great together!

With nearly non-stop laughs from an amazing cast, an excellently written, thoroughly surprising story line with images you never thought you’d see in an animated feature before and top notch animation, there is no way you can lose. Igor is Nightmare Before Christmas’ dorky little brother and I’m certain will hold up just as well in the years to come. You wanted something different on the big screen amid the countless remakes and big budget blow-ups? Here you go! Be sure to get out there opening weekend and show them it was all worth it.

And check out our exclusive chat with the Igor creators below!

5 out of 5

Discuss Igor in the Dread Central forums!


No wonder the toyline got canned and the merchandising is almost nil.

Submitted by Kryten Syxx on Fri, 10/03/2008 - 11:24am.
Terminal's picture

Igor was a piece of crap. I saw it and wow.

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 10/03/2008 - 10:33am.
Sirand's picture

Man, this one is getting slammed by damn near everyone. 5 knives? Really?

Submitted by Sirand on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 8:57pm.
Nomad's picture

I promise. I actually think you'll like it especially.

Submitted by Nomad on Sun, 09/21/2008 - 1:22am.
Mr. Dark's picture

I haven't walked out of a movie in around 20 years.

I walked out of Igor last night. My wife was falling asleep, you see, and she was the one who really wanted to see it.

UC and the rest who dug it...what kind of crack are you smoking? This was just plain BAD. It wasn't funny. Buscemi's character, Scamper, the immortal bunny with a death wish, was funny. Occasionally. Everything else? Just incredibly stupid and annoying. No charm, no humor, terrible script, and what's worse: COMPLETELY rip-off art design. The King is the Mayor from NB4C, almost identical character design. The villain is a dead ringer for the villain from Corpse Bride, except for the hair. There's more, but I'm not going to bother saying more.

Consider this is a second opinion, and this opinion is AVOID.

Mr. Dark
Part-Time Dread Central Gaming Guy
Full-Time Freelance Smartass

Submitted by Mr. Dark on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 12:39pm.
frank_dracman's picture

Igor was junk. I saw the review had 5 stabs, then proceeded not to read the review for fear of it spoiling a great movie. So the boy and me went to see it. Mr. Dark, you nailed it. Scamper and Brian were cute, but the rest of the movie felt soulless. The chase scene is where I lost it. Never have I witnessed such a dull, unexciting chase such as this. The score was completely out of place, the editing was horrible, and there was no sense of peril or danger whatsoever. Don't even get me started about the ending.
This one was under the radar for a reason, guys. I really wanted to like it, but I was ready to leave also. Hell, even the boy had a disinterested look to him, and that's a first.
EDIT- Did you see the trailer for the fairy movie? Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, I thought is was some kind of joke, but it's a real movie. It looks like something from 5-10 years ago. People need to stop shitting out bad cartoons just because kids have not developed taste yet.
OK, rant over.

Submitted by frank_dracman on Sun, 09/21/2008 - 9:39am.
moderator Hey, don't include me in the
Steve Barton's picture

Hey, don't include me in the group who dug it -- I haven't seen it!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 1:44pm.
Doc Block's picture

I saw this movie earlier today and I loved it. It started out kind of slow, but it picks up pace very quickly and becomes hilarious pretty fast. I would definitely compare it to Nightmare Before Christmas. That's exactly what category it's in. A great kid's animated movie that's probably even more fun for adults, than it is for kids. Great movie!

Submitted by Doc Block on Sat, 09/20/2008 - 12:04am.
Dr Malachi Constant's picture

Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of animation. Never miss an episode of The Venture Brothers, still watch South Park, and I seek out those DTV superhero flicks every chance I get. It's just that, after the success of Shrek (which I fucking hated) there's seemed to be this constant stream of ever-worse CGI abortions popping up in theaters every few months. Some, I still give the benefit of the doubt, mainly Pixar, but even then, I'll wait until it comes on HBO or something. There are few things more annoying to me than sitting in a theater full of loud, obnoxious children yelling at the screen.

Submitted by Dr Malachi Constant on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 1:47pm.
Dr Malachi Constant's picture

Hmmm ... may have to break my "no cartoons at the theater" rule for this one.

Submitted by Dr Malachi Constant on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:26am.
Gus Bjork's picture

You gotta re-think that policy. Some of the best stuff out there is animated whether theatrical or television. For sure some of the tightest, no fat script writing on any screen.

Submitted by Gus Bjork on Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:59am.

Wow! A kids film that I might actually enjoy! Refreshing.

Submitted by Wazzup1 on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 5:29pm.
Terminal's picture

I really want to see this.

Submitted by Terminal on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 2:45pm.

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