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Review: Igor

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A few months back, I saw previews for an animated movie called Igor. It looked like fun: the premise was that in a land of mad scientists, all with assistants named Igor, one Igor wants to invent stuff of his own. And I liked the visual style, too. But the movie largely disappeared from theatres in less than a month, and I missed it.

Last night, Kam and I were looking for something light and fluffy to watch; we stopped by the video store (first time I've been in a video store in months), and spent a while browsing, and then I looked at my Netflix queue and saw that Igor was on it. Kam had never heard of it, but liked the description.

So we picked up a couple of movies we'd both seen and enjoyed before as backups (Galaxy Quest and Groundhog Day), and rented Igor.

It turned out to be a lot of fun. John Cusack in the lead role, though playing and sounding like essentially the generic animated-kids'-movie-male-hero part. (Is it just me, or do all the young male leads of animated kids' movies sound pretty much identical lately?) John Cleese in a minor part as a mad scientist. Eddie Izzard as the evil Dr. Schadenfreude. Jay Leno in a relatively minor part as King Malbert. Christian Slater in a very minor part (only a few lines) as Dr. Schadenfreude's Igor. Arsenio Hall in a relatively minor part as a TV interviewer. SNL alum Molly Shannon in a major part as a monster named Eva.

And, stealing every scene he's in, Steve Buscemi as Scamper, an immortal rabbit with a death wish. I generally hate comic sidekicks, and I'm not generally a Buscemi fan, and I wouldn't have expected to enjoy quasi-suicide jokes on that particular day, but this particular character and running gag were the funniest things in a pretty funny movie.

We laughed and laughed. Some of the jokes are in fairly poor taste, but even some of those were funny. If you like the mad-science aspects of Girl Genius, if you like Tim Burtony animated movies, if you like Frankenstein, if you like Annie but don't take it too seriously, if you enjoy smart animated kids' movies--at the very least take a look at a trailer and see if this movie looks like your cup of tea.

I wish I'd seen it a few weeks ago so I could've put it on my Hugo nomination ballot.

Not brilliant, but a lot of fun, especially if you're in the right mood for it.

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I saw a trailer for Igor last spring. It looked cute, and I was surprised it got so very little publicity. I'm glad too know that it wasn't awful. It's hard these days to know if a movie is just really bad because it vanishes from the theaters, or if the studio just did a wretched job marketing a decent film (great films tend to get some word of mouth, but a cute, mediocre film will just vanish!)


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