Blu-ray Review: Igor (2008)

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After his master Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese) is tragically killed in the name of misguided experimentation, his hunchbacked dwarfish assistant Igor (John Cusack) crafts his very own version of Frankenstein in an attempt to win his community of Malaria's "Evil Science Fair."

However, instead of unleashing a dangerous monster, he creates Eva, a charismatic, sensitive, and sweet female giant (Molly Shannon) who-- after an unsuccessful trip to become "brainwashed" via subliminal videos (think A Clockwork Orange)-- finds herself wanting to become an actress after the channel is accidentally changed to host James Lipton's Inside Actors Studio.

Yet, instead of giggling at Lipton's sophisticated cadence, his frequent tendency to go a bit overboard in his praise or relishing in the audience favorite "what is your favorite curse word?" section of his survey that closes every episode, Molly Shannon's Eva decides she needs to create sense memories, work on her instrument, and get new head-shots.

Initially upset that his plan to create diabolical havoc has gone awry since the goal of Malaria as argued by Jay Leno's King Malbert is to take advantage of the failing climate and economic hardship to become Donald Trump like wealthy off of horrific products they can unleash on others-- instead Igor decides to try and control his new she-creature by pretending that the Evil Science Fair is merely one big show for which she needs to prepare.

Along with his two eccentric sidekicks (and inventions gone awry) including Steve Buscemi's endlessly suicidal rabbit character Scamper who keeps trying to fight his curse of "immortality" and Sean Hayes' clueless robot who labels himself a "brain" although the label on his head reads "Brian," Igor tries to blend the musical Annie into Eva's preparations for her frightening debut.

When the competitive scheming Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard) and his shape-shifting, seductive girlfriend (Jennifer Coolidge) start to sabotage Igor's work by stealing ideas as they do every year to ensure Schadenfreude's victory, soon the blossoming relationship between Igor and Eva is jeopardized as he begins questioning their strategies as evil-doers to instead become joyful and kind citizens.

MGM and Fox pulled out all the stops in their creative animation for the visually compelling film and all the more so in Blu-ray with a plethora of concept art galleries, storyboards that comprise a veritable delight for animation fans in this high definition transfer with mesmerizing picture and sound.

And while it begins on a high note as the film is given a hilarious set-up which appeals much more to adults than children (due to the thinly disguised references to the most recent president's administration, politics, jokes about actresses, etc.) and writer Chris McKenna receives bonus points for originality in the overall concept, ultimately the influences cinematically and structurally towards the end of Igor seem overwhelmingly inspired by Shrek, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and several other superior films.

Soon evolving into a misfire as the highly complicated plot changes gears uneasily as it begins as a political satire before moving into a Hollywood satire before ultimately becoming a "beauty is on the inside" and "can't we all just get along" Shrek styled fairy-tale at the end. Nonetheless it has its moments and I adored the adorably drawn characters (especially Buscemi's crazy death wish happy rabbit).

Additionally, it's a great toe-tapper due to the abundance of wonderfully engaging Louis Prima tracks on the soundtrack (which-- because they're the least obvious musical accompaniment for this children's science fiction monster movie makes them feel that much fresher). Still, overall, it's a rambling mess that tries to squeeze in too many plot-lines and agendas into an overly crowded eighty-six minute running time.

The sparks of brilliance were evident from the start and had the filmmakers just stuck with that original plot-line by making a kids film into a commentary on "evil doers" and our political climate, it may have been-- if not in the same league-- than at least closer in quality to 2008's other film featuring a character whose name is pronounced the same as Shannon's Eva-- namely, Wall-E'a love for the sleek robot Eve whom he calls "Ev-a."

And although that's another film that took a major likability detour about one hour in-- at least the catalyst was more than just an accidental viewing of Inside the Actor's Studio since James Lipton seems about as capable of brain-washing as comedian Jay Leno is as being a king. I mean, seriously-- everyone knows that's David Letterman's job... just kidding.