|Directed by||Anthony Leondis|
|Produced by||John D. Eraklis
|Written by||Chris McKenna
|Music by||Patrick Doyle|
|Editing by||Hervé Schneid|
|Studio||Exodus Film Group|
|Release date(s)||September 19, 2008|
|Running time||87 minutes|
|Budget||$25 million |
Igor is a 2008 computer animated comedy film involving a humorous take on the stock character Igor. The plot revolves around the grotesque title figure Igor and his dreams of winning first place at the Evil Science Fair. The movie was released on September 19, 2008. The film features the voice talents of John Cusack as the title character, and John Cleese, Lexi Slapp, Jennifer Coolidge, Arsenio Hall, Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard, Jay Leno, Molly Shannon, Christian Slater and Steve Buscemi. The film was considered a financial failure, grossing just $30m worldwide out of its $25m budget.
In the kingdom of Malaria, the economy was once based on agriculture, until a mysterious climate change killed their crops. The new King, Malbert (Leno), restructured the economy based on "Evil Inventions" - to wit, blackmailing the rest of the world with various bizarre doomsday devices invented by a ruling class of Evil Scientists. Malarians born with a hunch on their backs (an evidently common deformity) are classed as "Igors" and forced to serve as the Scientists' laboratory assistants, thought of as stupid and clumsy.
One (Igor) (Cusack), servant to Doctor Glickenstein (Cleese), is actually a talented inventor who aspires to be an Evil Scientist himself. His inventions include "Scamper" (Buscemi), a re-animated rabbit with immortality who makes several (failed) attempts at suicide in the first half of the film; and "Brain" (Hayes), a human brain transplanted into a life support jar equipped with wheels and a robotic arm, who is, ironically, not very smart, and often jokingly called "Brian" due to a spelling error on the jar, something unfortunate as it was written in permanent marker.
Igor gets his chance to shine when Glickenstein's entry into the annual Evil Science Fair malfunctions and explodes, taking Glickenstein with it. When King Malbert visits Glickenstein's castle, Igor pretends to be helping him with the most evil invention ever: "creating life."
The outcome of the upcoming Fair is of great interest to the King, who is wary of the growing popularity of the reigning victor, Dr. Schadenfreude (Izzard), which is growing to rival the King's own. Schadenfreude (who is in fact a complete fraud who steals work of other scientists), is sick of having to bow and scrape to the King, and decides to use his next winning "invention" to seize power. His main accomplice is his girlfriend, Jacklyn (Coolidge), a shapeshifter who masquerades as the thirteen different girlfriends of Malaria's other Evil Scientists (She is only shown to change into just four, including Glickenstein's girlfriend Heidi, as well as two unnamed girlfriends).
With Brain and Scamper's help, Igor assembles a huge, monstrous being from human remains, endowed with super-strength, invulnerability, and an "evil bone." But when he brings her to life, Igor is dismayed to discover that the bone has not been activated, and the giant is gentle, affectionate, and feminine. Trying to convince it of its "evil" nature, Igor inadvertently dubs it "Eva."
Igor takes Eva to a "Brain-Wash" to instill a violent personality in her, by giving her an Axe Murderer. However, Brain mistakenly changes the channel,to fix his own(television) and Eva watches an instructional video on acting, and adopts, permanently, the personality of a kind-hearted aspiring actress.
Igor can only get her to cooperate by convincing her that the upcoming Evil Science Fair is in fact an audition for the role of Little Orphan Annie.
Learning of Eva's existence, Dr. Schadenfreude attempts to steal her, first through outright theft, then by inviting Igor into his castle. When Igor refuses to help him, Schadenfreude exposes him to the King, who throws him into an "Igor Recycling Chute," which leads to the "Igor Recycling Plant," while Schadenfreude takes control of Eva.
Just before the Science Fair, Schadenfreude manages to activate her "Evil Bone" by goading her into attacking him, which transforms her into a violent monster. Unleashed into the Evil Science Fair, she destroys all the other Evil Inventions.
Igor escapes from the Recycling Plant with Scamper and Brain's help, and rush to the Fair to save Eva. Ascending into the King's castle which overlooks the arena, Igor discovers a machine at the top, that acts as a magnet for the storm clouds that have plagued Malaria for years. Shocked, Igor realizes that the King deliberately killed Malaria's crops, to keep them enslaved to his "Evil Inventions" plan.
Igor rushes into the arena and reasons with Eva, telling her that all beings have the potential for evil, but it is their choice to ignore it. Eva regains her normal personality. Scamper and Brain, meanwhile, deactivate the weather-manipulation machine, allowing the climate to return to its temperate character, and drop the device onto King Malpert, killing him. Schadenfreude takes the throne for a brief few minutes, but he is shouted down when the people realize that the King has deceived them all. At the same time, Jacklyn, who is dependent on special pills to retain her shapeshifting abilities, runs out of pills and reverts to her normal form: a female Igor.
Malaria regains its former pastoral character. Igor is dubbed President, and all his former colleagues enjoy equal status with their former Masters. The annual Science Fair is changed into an annual musical theater showcase, with Eva as the star, and Scamper and Brain as costume designer and properties manager. Igor and Eva stand together when the Blind Orphans sing and the crowd cheers in the audience.
|John Cleese||Doctor Glickenstein|
|Eddie Izzard||Doctor Schadenfreude|
|Jennifer Coolidge||Jacklyn / Heidi|
|Jay Leno||King Malbert|
|Paul Vogt||Buzz Offmann|
|Christian Slater||Doctor Schadenfreude's Igor|
|Arsenio Hall||Carl Cristall|
Producer Max Howard explained how they came to attract so many A-list actors into the cast of this relatively obscure studio: "We sent them the script... Steve Buscemi signed on very early, and he's an 'actor's actor.' Then others signed on... it just took off that way".
James Lipton appears as himself during a television viewing.
This is the first animated feature film produced by Exodus Film Group; the CG animation was created by French studio Sparx*. Work on Sparx’s CG feature Igor was split between the studio’s Paris and Vietnam facilities. Distribution has always been held by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures — The Weinstein Company originally developed this film but later sold their share of the rights to MGM, thus becoming an MGM presentation.
Igor has received generally negative to mixed reviews by critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 35% of critics gave positive reviews. Among Rotten Tomatoes's Cream of the Crop, the film garnered an overall 21% rating based on 14 reviews. Another review aggretator, Metacritic gave the film a 40/100 approval rating classifying the film has received "mixed or average reviews".
John Anderson of Newsday stated that "Not all the jokes work, but most do, and the overall tenor of Igor is goofily funny -- probably a bit sophisticated for kids but certainly good-natured". Claudia Puig of USA Today awarded the film with a middling two-and-a-half stars, writing: "This story of a world of mad scientists and their Igor lab assistants has some inspired lunacy as it spoofs classic horror films, though sometimes the jokes grow belabored". Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune took his child to a screening and asked him to criticize the movie, reporting that they "had a fairly good time".
The film opened #4 with $7,803,347, behind Lakeview Terrace, Burn After Reading, and My Best Friend's Girl. As of December 23, 2008, the film has grossed $19,429,791 in the United States and Canada and $8,172,638 in foreign countries totaling $27,602,429 worldwide.
In the UK, the film opened on 32 screens with a gross of £56,177, for a screen average of £1,756, and placing it at 20 in the box office chart. The mainstream release opened on 17 October, at 418 screens, and made £981,750 with a screen average of £2,348. This placed it at No. 3 for that weekend. The UK total gross is £1,110,859.
Igor was Nominated for an Annie award for Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0465502/awards)
The DVD of Igor was released on January 20, 2009 and was ranked 4 in its opening weekend at the DVD sales chart, making $3,509,704 off 175,000 DVD units. As per the latest figures, 596,146 DVD units have been sold, translating to $11,739,919 in revenue.