You know how, when you go into a restaurant, you see something on the menu that sounds really terrific, so you order it--only to wind up with something that tastes like the hind end of a jackalope marinated in kerosene?
That's kind of how Igor was.
The coming attractions looked like it could be really good--a sort of steampunk-style black comedy in the mould of A Nightmare Before Christmas." Well, the only thing these two films have in common is the design of the chief executive--King Malbert looks like a recycled version of the Mayor of Pumpkintown.
When our attempt to record this off the TV failed due to a likely act of God, my wife and I ordered a DVD from Amazon. Now we're trying to figure out which doorstep we can leave it on without feeling too guilty--the local library's, or the Goodwill's.
The plot is that the Kingdom of Malaria, after having been plunged into crop-withering darkness by a thick layer of storm clouds, turns to creating evil inventions which it then uses to blackmail the world--pay us billions of dollars and we won't unleash our horrors on you, muahahaha. This must have been Kim Jung Il's favorite movie.
The upper crust in this misadjusted land are the crazy evil scientists, who are served by an underclass of hunchbacks called, generically, Igors.
The particular Igor of the story has aspirations of mad scientisthood of his own, and has invented in secret a chatty, airheaded brain in a jar, and a sociopathic rabbit who is both immortal and suicidal. Scamper's multiple failed attempts to kill himself are actually the funniest part of the movie.
Which kind of gives you a clue to how bad this film is.
OK, it's not entirely horrible. Some of the visuals are interesting, and there are a couple of funny jokes, but that's not nearly enough to make up for the ghastly character designs, lame plot, poor pacing, and all-around mediocrity of the rest of the work. Let's put it this way--by the time the climax finally comes, you stopped caring a long time ago. In fact, the only reason why we soldiered through to the end credits is because I needed a review for this site.
Igor's master gets killed by an unintentional lab accident, and Igor decides to go ahead and create something to enter into the Mad Science Fair in the hopes of beating the champion mad scientist, Dr. Schadenfreude. So he and his rabbit and his brain-in-a-jar assemble a giant woman out of spare parts and bring her to life.
Eva (the way she mispronounces "evil" when Igor tries to convince her "You're evil!") looks like a Snow White doll put together from three different scales. One arm is colossal, the other, tiny and thin, and her legs are two different sizes as well--everything about her is mismatched, and to cap it off, she has a kind and sweet nature because her "evil bone" was never activated. This frustrates Igor at first, until he (predictably) starts to have feelings for her, after her "evil brainwashing" goes awry and she comes out believing she's an actress.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Dr. Shadenfreude is really a "fraud," having stolen every one of his award-winning inventions, and now he sets his sights on stealing Igor's monster.
The only way Igor can get Eva to enter the Mad Science Fair is by pretending she's trying out for a part in a play--Annie, as it happens.
Now, if you've ever sat through a dozen eight-year-olds auditioning for the lead in Annie by singing Tomorrow, you can really believe it is in fact a plot devised by some evil genius. Ask my wife about her stint with community theatre someday.
Schadenfreude sics his shape-shifting girlfriend on Igor so that he can lure Eva away, and activates her evil bone by goading her into hitting him. Under the control of the evil bone, Eva enters the gladitorial contest in the "Killoseum" and trashes the competition while singing Tomorrow, very slowly, and way, way off key.
While this is happening, Igor, Scamper, and Brian (the brain can't spell) learn that King Malbert himself created the storm clouds, and they find their way to the weather generator and disable it just as Eva is singing "The sun will come out tomorrow..."
Don't wince. My wife had to explain that gag to me. And she didn't get it until about five minutes later.
Anyway, by now I was beyond caring whether Igor could convince Eva that she wasn't really evil, or that they could stop Schadenfreude from deposing the King and taking over Malaria, or even that I'd shelled out ten bucks for this turkey.
But they do, and the sun actually does come out, and Schadefreude lives up to his name by going back to his family's business of selling pickles, and Igor and Eva live happily ever after as the duly-elected leaders of Malaria, and even Scamper stops trying to kill himself when he discovers he has a flair for the theatre.
On the technical side, the visuals are often too dark to really be impressive; while the machinery looks like it could be cool, you don't really get a chance to look at it for very long. The characters are all incredibly ugly, even Schadenfreude's girlfriend Jacklyn--who is also Igor's late master's girlfriend, Heide (one of the few good gags I'd mentioned.) Ugly CGI characters are nothing new, but these don't even seem to have a good relationship with their voice actors--the voices don't seem to actually belong to the characters. This disconnect contributes mightily to the film's mediocrity.
Igor, as a film, is about as mismatched and pasted together as Eva is, and winds up being just as clumsy, self-delusional, and overblown. It tries to be a Tim Burton film, but it just doesn't get there. The jokes are too sophisticated for kids, and the action is too labrious to hold your attention. Plus, the soundtrack is a weird pastiche of unremarkable music and Louis Armstrong tunes. They were probably going for something clever, but it just fails to work. Kinda like the majority of the experiments in the film.
It's not the worst CGI film I've ever seen, but it's among the most disappointing.