Igor (86 minutes) goes above and beyond the standard animated fare, thus begging the question, where has director Anthony Leondis been hiding himself? Even more importantly, why hasn’t writer Chris McKenna done anything besides this and American Dad scripts? For two relative unknowns like Leondis and McKenna, creating the first animated movie out of a new production studio, the work is doubly impressive. The dialogue is unexpectedly clever, the characters compelling, the humor sly and sophisticated. For what initially seemed like a Tim Burton wannabe picture, Igor stands on its own as an animated film with adult appeal.
    {mosimage}Once upon a time, there was a fantasy world named Malaria. A change in climate caused the entire economy of this once beautiful land to revolve around being evil, under the guidance of King Malbert (Jay Leno). In this Brave New World, the upper-class becomes the scientists, and those born with humpbacks are forced to serve as Igors, trained as bootlicking stereotypes. 
    Even our hero Igor (John Cusack) is forced to hide his brilliance and serve a master named Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese). Despite his conformity to social expectations, Igor fiddles around with mad science on the side, giving Scamper the Rabbit (Steven Buscemi) immortality, and keeping a Brain (Sean Hayes) alive in a robotic jar.   
    A series of unfortunate events leads Igor to create a Frankenfemale, filled with pure evil. Sadly, his plans go awry and instead of a killing machine, Eva (Molly Shannon) is a sweet and cuddly doll. Despite Igor’s attempts to turn into a force for calamitous destruction, Eva refuses to change. 
    Meanwhile, the evilest of all evil madmen, Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard, brilliant as always) is trying to cheat his way to victory in the upcoming Mad Scientists Fair with the help of Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge). All the wackiness culminates in a revelation that most of the audience probably saw coming, but was satisfying, nonetheless.   
    Of course, if you wanted to get intellectual and search for philosophical themes amongst the cuteness, this is the film for you. On the surface, this is a nice update of the Frankenstein story with a subversive vent, making the Igor the hero instead of the scientist. The film also easily illustrates Marxist themes, with the Igors serving as the oppressed proletariat to the mad scientists’ exploitative bourgeoisie. Scamper the Rabbit, who totally steals the show, is a tribute to the basic existential dilemma. Though he is essentially immortal, he kills himself over and over again, only to return to a life made meaningless by that very same immortality. This is a movie with something for everyone.
    Although music is used in a very clever way, I was not completely on board with all the selections. As rife with irony (and therefore hilarity) as it may be to have blind orphans dancing to “I Can See Clearly Now,” it’s still a missed opportunity to offer a more subtle brand of humor, which the filmmakers manage to do in almost every other area. 

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