A mad experiment that nearly went right. That's the perfect way to describe Igor.
Pull the switch, NOW!
Igor is a fun film on the surface. It deserves a lot of appreciation for the fact that MGM went out on a limb and decided to take a chance on a format it didn't have a lot of experience with (animated/cel drawn pictures don't count). What came out of Igor was some very average animation (in comparison to the Shreks and the Wall-Es of the world) that seemed more like direct to video than a theatrical release. I don't want to sound too hards because it was a great effort on the production company's part. This seemed to be on the level of a Tinkerbell where the framerate isn't smooth in terms of motion capturing and movement. The environments were well-done in the film, but much like a play, the land seemed very limited and secluded. It certainly wasn't epic or grand like more recent productions of this genre.
The storyline is simple. You have Mad-scientists who help to produce evil devices to affect the world (this funds the city in which they live -- sort of like terrorism). The scientists have make shift assistants named Igors, who only role in life is to serve their masters. When Igors' master dies in a tragic accident, he must help to rebuild the machine that killed his master. He successfully does and finds himself in a one-way ticket to breaking free of the Igor tag. The monster he creates breathes life into a dead being, who ends up being a gentle giant. Igor plans to turn the gentle giant into something evil and display her at the science fair, in hopes of winning scientist of the year. His rival plans to corrupt and destroy his project before he can do that.
With that said, the script was probably the biggest disappointment. It was shallow and never really captured the mood correctly. The land of Igors and their masters (the Mad-Scientists) just seemed a bit shallow. You are thrown into a class system without a good, deep explanation of why. You're asked to believe that nearly in an instant the society transformed from happy to sad, as well. Even for an animated film it seems far-fetched. A society transforms from a farming community to a mad-scientist centralized community. I'm not sure where the two meet, but it's a dramatic change with no beef for an explanation. The movies does try to correct this by dividing the two classes of people (like I mentioned before) and put Igor into a worker beel role, while the scientist maintains the queen/king bee role (just being fair here). It works to an extent until a third party enters the foray and becomes a role that hasn't really been defined in the scheme of this great community. It's basically the odd-person out that really truly has no fit whatsoever. You just can't do that. On the first level of the story, you've already stretched your audience thin with asking them to believe a community changed overnight. On top of this, you've added a new arrangement of class systems. Then, to top it off, you throw in a third party that doesn't fit anywhere in the mix. Very difficult to believe and ultimately this is the movie's downfall. Confusiong comes into the storyline, some plot points don't fit together and what you end up with is a mess of a solid storyline with sub par humor to top it off.
Again, I'm not trying to be mean, but this is how the production ultimately ended. I think was a great shot at animation and I hope MGM continues to do it, but the have to improve in nearly all aspects, except one...
The cast was perfect, sans Jay Leno. James Woods would have been a better choice of villains in my humble opinion. Cusack, Buscemi and Shannon were particularly good in their roles and really sold them. I think that Cusack especially did a wonderful job as Igor. He sold the role and was so darn lovable. Even though his eyes were far apart and his hump was grotesque, he still made me think that he wanted to be more than an assistant that pulls switches for insane doctors. I have to give a shoutout to Buscemi as well, who plays a very unhappy, immortal cat that is constantly trying to kill itself. I couldn't imagine anyone else better for the role.
Blu, but not about the features
Like I stated above, the HD portion of the picture and the sound, was good. There wasn't much wrong with it. The framerate just brought the experience down. It was a colorful movie though, that could especially benefit from HD because of the german expressionistic style to it. With that said, let's talk features.
Here's what you get from the features side of the Blu-ray:
- Commentary by director Tony Leondis, writer Chris McKenna and Producer Max Howard
- Alternate Opening Scene
- Concept Art Galleries
I wish they could have explained a bit more about the filmmaking. It might have been nice to see a 'making of' documentary, so that it would give some insight about what they were shooting for. It just didn't happen and it was slightly disappointing, in terms of features. Good commentary though.