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Capone says IGOR doesn't really experiment with the formula...Get it?!!!

IGOR

Hey all. Capone in Chicago here. I'll admit, it's rare when I know absolutely nothing about a film going in, but I think it's safe to say that it's unheard of when I walk into an animated film knowing zip. But outside of an impressive cast list, that was my experience walking in IGOR last weekend. We've all been around long enough to know that an all-star cast doesn't necessarily mean a film is going to be any good. I think that rule holds doubly true for animated films, which can pull together a fantastic collection of well-known voices only to saddle them with a completely terrible screenplay. The examples of this are too numerous to mention (the one that pops to mind immediately is SHARK TALE). One of the highest-profile casts I've seen in an animated movie in quite some time (at least since KUNG FU PANDA) can be found in IGOR, a watered-down creepfest from the co-director of LILO & STITCH 2, Anthony Leondis. IGOR doesn't have a bunch of really ultra-bankable names doing voices, but they have pulled together a group of people I happen to like, for the most part, which is why it breaks my heart an teeny, tiny bit to say that the film is unimpressive, bordering on dull. I dug that the film attempted to be dark. For instance, the inclusion of a major character who is always trying to commit suicide is actually pretty great (he's immortal, so his perpetual, depression-driven attempts at self-inflicted death are successful but never permanent). But when you have such phenomenal works in the world like A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and CORPSE BRIDE, a film like Igor doesn't really stand a chance. Still, the film has some clever ideas and a few funny moments. John Cusack voices the title character. Actually, the name "Igor" isn't just a name; it's a rank as well, for anyone who is the assistant to a mad scientist. In the village of Malaria, the sole exports are evil designs meant to cause the world at large great harm. If you happen to be born with a hump, you become an Igor; if not, you will likely become a scientist. It just so happens that our Igor is the assistant to the least successful scientist in the town, Dr. Glickenstin (John Cleese), who kills himself experimenting on his latest creation. Igor is actually smarter than most of the people in the town, but because of his status, he'll never legally be allowed to be a scientist, despite the fact that he has secretly been working on a creature made of dead body parts. His best friends are a reanimated rabbit named Scamper (Steve Buscemi; this is the suicidal character) and the quite stupid Brain (Sean Hayes), an actual brain in a jar who some people call Brian because he wrote his name on his jar incorrectly. The top scientist in the realm is Dr. Schadenfreude (the five or six people who laughed when we first heart this name get bonus points), voiced by Eddie Izzard, is in fact nothing more than a scientist who steals the best evil inventions from others. His girlfriend Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge) plays a big part in these acts of thievery, and the pair soon discover what Igor is up to. One of the IGOR's most bizarre turns (and least interesting in the end) is that the creature that Igor creates is named Eva (voiced by Molly Shannon). When Igor doesn't believe that her brain is evil enough he takes her to a brain washer, who proceeds to inundate her mind with evil images and thoughts, until stupid Brain accidentally changes the images to that of "Inside the Actors Studio." As a result, Eva emerges as a peace-loving actress--not good considering the King (Jay Leno) has his heart set on the most evil creature in the realm. The actress plot twist is funny on paper, but Shannon doesn't do much more than spout cliché actor sayings like, "What's my motivation?" And her character doesn't do much except be ginormous and clumsy and act like a prima donna. The rest of IGOR, with maybe the exception of Buscemi, feels like they're holding back. Cusack is better than this, and Eddie Izzard is practically phoning in squeaky-clean comedy, when you want him to bust out with a little blue humor. Buscemi saves every scene his character is in, but that's not enough to save this movie. One can only hope that November's MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA is a little better... but I wouldn't count on that. -- Capone capone@aintitcoolmail.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 20, 2008, 1:46 a.m. CST

    this one flew under the radar.

    by wbrownley

    I heard about this a long time ago, and now I find out it comes out today. So much for the confidant p+a

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Never heard of that one before.

    by DerLanghaarige

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 2:02 a.m. CST

    Buscemi doesn't work enough

    by liljuniorbrown

    I mean, i just don't see him in alot of movies lately. I love his work.Maybe he could show up on tv,something like Big Love,or some other cable show where he doesn't have to reign it in.He was great but criminaly under used in Soprano's.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 2:35 a.m. CST

    I saw Igor shit at Hollywood Video

    by DOGSOUP

    I was like, "Is this some now goth candy line? What?!?!" Later of course "Oooohh it's a movie...." That's the last time I thought about the picture until this article. I think I'm going to go do something else now....

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Thnaks for adding CORPSE BRIDE in there

    by Kirbymanly

    among the greats animated genre films. It's very underrated. Now if we can only get Mad Monster Party on the big screen...

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 3:15 a.m. CST

    Yea, "CORPSE BRIDE" doesnt get the recognition it deserves

    by Mike_D

    i loved it

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Gothic kids movies!?

    by Wired Earp

    I´m all for it.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Corpse Bride...

    by eggart

    ..just wasn't much fun. Or involving. And the music was very bland. Too bad Selick wasn't involved.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 5:09 a.m. CST

    It Would Appear Izzard Is The Celluloid Kiss Of Death

    by The Rabbit Of Carrot Shaped Doom

    It is something of a shame that this wonderful comedian only ever appears in lackluster movies. I truly enjoy the man's comedy routines on the stage which touches on genius, but he has yet to find a movie vehicle of equal worth.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Funny, that review is exactly what I expected

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    the previews left me me underwhelmed (although I'm pleased they left the plot vague, which is a rarity in this day in age with trailers). The only reason I wanted to see this was to look at the character designs, which I thought were delightful--albeit obvious derivatives of Burton. I suspect I'll skip the film and maybe pick up a few pieces of merchandising during the Halloween season.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Igor wasn't Frankensteins assistant!!

    by Rameses

    They always confuse this.Igor was a broken- necked, bearded character played by Bela Lugosi in the third {?} Franstein film.Frankensteins hunchback helper , who threw all the switches etc was called Fritz or something.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Pratchett ripoff?

    by Stalin vs Predator

    The "Igor" concept appears to have been stolen from him.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST

    kirbymanly

    by generasputinhole

    Mad Monster Party WAS on the big screen. if you mean a remake...okay, maybe.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 10:28 a.m. CST

    I didn't see a single trailer or TV spot for this movie

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Hopefully the CGI funny farting animal craze is on the wane. The fact that THREE stop-motion features are coming out next year as well as Disney's new 2D feature The Princess & The Frog is very encouraging.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    And Corpse Bride was wonderful

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Why Nightmare B4 X-Mas fans rejected it puzzles me.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 12:53 p.m. CST

    "You gotta stay one step ahead....

    by Kirbymanly

    ... tune in to what's happenin', boy and stay one step ahead!" Love the music from that film!

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Actor's Studio gags?

    by christian66

    Sounds like another soulless VH1-style cobbled-together set of gags. Sad.

  • Sept. 20, 2008, 9:22 p.m. CST

    I wanted to see this movie

    by the milf lover

    When I first saw the trailer earlier this summer, I thought it looked really interesting and funny. Now that its coming out I'm just 'mehh'. And how can the hype machine have failed so badly at any kind of advertising for this? It's not like there's anything else coming out to get all the attention like Dark Knight did earlier this summer.

  • Sept. 22, 2008, 2:57 a.m. CST

    But when you have such phenomenal works in the world like

    by Series7

    CORPSE BRIDE????????????? That movie was terrible. I finished it, didn't remember a single note of it. I wished people would give Henry Selick more credit. I can't wait for Caroline. Corpse Bride was just so-so, even comparing the claymation, Nightmare looks SO much better and richer. Huge let down, I was so uninterested in the film I didn't even see it in theater. Though I was really hating Burton at the time, he's fallen back in my good graces with Sweeney. I know he was worried....count money cont money.

  • Sept. 22, 2008, 2:58 a.m. CST

    As for Igor

    by Series7

    The plot actually interest me. I was going to see it in theaters, I missed it this weekend. But it doesn't look like it'll make it till next. $1 theater maybe?

  • When does Molly Shannon do anything good? I just remembered why I didn't go see this, she's in it. She's a comedy black hole. Gah now I don't care about this film at all.