by Laura Tucker
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Offbeat doesn’t even begin to describe Igor, a new film with a definite Tim Burton feel. I think any time Steve Buscemi’s voice is used behind a character in a film, it should be assumed to be offbeat.
The film was rated PG, and it was a good thing, not because it was inappropriate, but because the offbeat humor was more adult-natured. The audience was filled with families and girl scouts, yet I only heard adults laughing throughout the film, and that included my own voice. I had two teen girls with me, and while I never heard them busting a gut, they did both assure me that they really enjoyed the movie.
John Cusack voices the title character of Igor, your typical hunchback who’s in charge of pulling the switch. What separates him from the others is that he’s not content where he is. He dreams of being an evil scientist, just like his boss. Dr. Glickenstein (voiced by John Cleese).
Beng an evil scientist is big business there in the Kingdom of Moldavia. After all the crops died out, the King told everyone it was the only way to make money, by creating evil inventions. Dr. Glickenstein isn’t a good scientist, as his creations always go awry. One of his creations was evil lasagna. While it didn’t kill anyone, it did taste really good.
One of Dr. Glickenstein’s creations goes really wrong and kills him. This is the big chance Igor had been waiting for, and he enlists his first two creations to help him, Scamper (voiced by Buscemi) and Brain (voiced by Sean Hayes). Scamper has been created immortal, “which is a hassle for him, as he doesn’t want to live.” The other creation is a giant brain in a jar labeled “B R I A N” with a Sharpie. You have to love the irony.
Igor plans to enter a creation in the annual evil inventions contest, which the King oversees. It’s the same scientist winning every year, Dr. Schadenfreude (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a man with a penchant for glasswear which appears to be from the Elton John collection. His goal is the come up with an invention so great, that it allows him to take over the Kingdom. We know we can’t trust his girlfriend, as she wears baby seal boots.
With the idea that “life is the greatest invention of all time,” Igor creates a woman, intending her for evil-doing, yet she couldn’t hurt a fly, and misunderstands the direction for evil, thinking her name is Eva (voiced by Molly Shannon). She stalks off for a home for blind orphans. There’s some of that adult-natured humor. I don’t think young kids would find the dark humor in that bit.
Buscemi’s character Scamper is the source of much of the dark, offbeat humor, with Cusack more or less playing his straight man. After watching Eva playing with the blind orphans, Scamper asks what “diabolical deed is next, piggyback rides?” Not to say there aren’t humorous lines and moments throughout the rest of the film, as an invisible man is wearing just a shirt and the question is posed, why does an invisible man even need to wear pants. This is asked while he is scratching his invisible butt.
As the rest of Igor dissolves into trying to force evil upon an innocent such as Eva, it turns into a classic good vs. evil debate. The statement is made that maybe it’s better to be a good nobody than an evil somebody. Hopefully, that’s a message the young kids in the audience will get.
Laura Tucker is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Reality Shack, and operates a celebrity gossip blog, Troubled Hollywood. She is also an Associate Instructor and 1st dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts.
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