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Great cast, terrible crew.
A Scene from "Igor."
OPENING WEEKEND: $21,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $80,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

June 15th, 2008: A mad scientist's hunchbacked assistant invents Eva, a giant, indestructible monster, in hopes of winning first place at the annual Evil Science Fair.

What to Expect: Apparently, The Weinsteins are putting a whole lot of faith into a notion I've held for quite a while now-villainy is infinitely fascinating. For their first outing with the brand spankin' new Exodus Film Group, the uber-powerful brothers W have created a little fractured fairytale called "Igor" to launch themselves into the wonderful world of CG. And while this may LOOK a lot like it has Tim Burton's black and white striped hands all over it, with those pointy little noses and the dark-movie-with-heart overtones, it does not.

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Seems that for this first foray into the CG world for the newly minted partners, it was decided by someone that it would be a grand idea to go with a director, Anthony Leondis, whose only other claim to directing fame was the 2005 sequel "Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch," and a writer, Chris McKenna, with no feature film credits. Maybe they figured that the best way to start a new venture out on the right foot was to start with people who haven't really done too much so as not to get expectations too high. Except there's this quote from Harvey Weinstein himself:

"With our first collaboration, Igor, looking so strong, we thought the timing was right to further the relationship and to begin work on an Igor sequel," said Weinstein.

OK. There's a plan. Though I can't help but think that maybe it would be best to ... oh ... you know ... wait and see how the first one does before rolling out the plans for a part two. Especially when part one isn't surrounded by too much positive buzz to begin with. Which, really, is a bit surprising, since the voice cast looks to be chock full of funny goodness and the plot itself sounds like a surefire winner-oh wait, both those things have elicited some grumblings.

First off, the cast. Of course, it seems silly to think that any movie trying to be even remotely funny would fail with a cast this full of comedic pedigree: Jay Leno, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Sean Hayes, John Cleese, Arsenio Hall, Jennifer Coolidge, and Eddie Izzard, just to name a few. Plus, the main Igor is voiced by John Cusack-and who doesn't love the Cusack? Well, maybe Christian Slater, who started out his stint on the film as its title Igor and has since been relegated to a lesser Igor now that Cusack is available. Seems that in the war of teenage angst movies, "Say Anything" beats "Heathers," and in the war of current box office bankability, Cusack trumps Slater. Personally, I'd have stuck with Slater, but I always was a dark girl.

Which, I believe, may be why the movie's premise fascinates me. I've always loved the villains, and "Igor" presents the world with a truth I've always known-they're all just misunderstood. Seems that in the kingdom of Malaria, every village has its very own evil scientist. Once a year, all those evil scientists get together for a big evil party called-what else-the Evil Science Fair. But this year, one of the scientists' assistants decides that it's his time to shine. The film's executive producer, Max Howard, explains:

"The evil scientist[s] spend the entire year inventing something that's really horrible .... And then they have to battle it out at the Evil Science Fair, held once a year," he said. "And the greatest invention is used to blackmail all their neighbors. This entire kingdom actually survives by blackmailing all the others."

So, while that part may actually sound like he's talking about some everyday maneuverings in Hollywood, it's actually the tale of a lowly assistant rising from the ranks of his lowly stature and becoming an actual inventor-you know, the whole fulfilling your dreams and finding your destiny thing folks like in a good animated flick. And Igor himself; well, traditionally, the Igors I've seen have always been a drooling, humpy, unattractive concoction of unpleasantness and sycophant. This little Igor is cute and seems friendly and makes me want to carry him around in my purse. He's a hero in a world of villains-even though he's technically trying to win the Evil Science Fair, his inventions are brilliant but not evil-the evil is left to the mad scientists, such as his boss, Dr. Glickenstein (Cleese).

No, Igor's creations tend to veer in a less than evil direction, such as his first invention, Brian the Brain, a brain-in-a-jar (Hayes). Not so much evil as he is funny and slightly stupid, Brian serves as Igor's own sidekick as he designs what he believes will be an evil female monster. What he gets is Eva (Shannon):

"[Eva] is a monster, and she's supposed to be evil, but things got mixed up when they were making her, and so she's actually so sweet," Shannon said. "She's a monster who really wants to be an actress. She loves singing and dancing, and all she wants is to be an actress."

Of course, Igor as a character-and a concept-has been around since the evil scientist was invented, and this cute and cuddly version that's trying to be the first ever of these assistants to win an Evil Science Fair award is just one in a long line of hunchbacked brethren. What already has a lot of folks up in arms is the fact that the plot to "Igor," in which each of the mad scientists in each of the villages of Malaria has his very own assistant named Igor, bears an eerie resemblance to a concept in Terry Pratchett's successful "Discworld" series. Among the many eclectic plots found in that forty-plus book series, Pratchett details a group of mad scientist assistants called-of course-Igors. Pratchett's little guys even have their own company name-Igors 'R Us. While it remains to be seen if these new Igors are quite so organized in their efforts, it doesn't seem that any nods have been made in the direction of Pratchett officially, which leaves many wondering how such a blatant borrowing can be anything but plagiarism.

In Conclusion: Take a relatively inexperienced director, toss in an even more inexperienced writer, add some lifted material that was lifted from a wildly popular author whose fans are the unforgiving, blood demanding type, and mix in animation that just isn't up to level of Pixar. What do you have? It seems you have "Igor." Hopefully for the Weinsteins and their newfound friends at The Exodus Group, the rest of the world likes villains as much as I do-or likes John Cusack-or else those sequel plans aren't looking too likely.

Similar Titles: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Meet the Robinsons, Bee Movie
September 19th, 2008 (wide)
January 20th, 2009 (DVD)

The Weinstein Company LLC

Anthony Leondis

Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Jennifer Coolidge, John Cusack, Arsenio Hall, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno, Molly Shannon, Christian Slater

Total: 31 vote(s).

Animation, Comedy

Click here to view site

Rated PG for some thematic elements, scary images, action and mild language.

86 min




Igor at Trailer Addict

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