Animated film (2008). Exodus Film Group/Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Directed by Tony Leondis. Written by Chris McKenna with John Hoffman, Leondis and Dimitri Toscas. Cast includes Steve Buscemi, John Cusack, Sean Hayes and Molly Shannon. 83 minutes. Colour.
The Kingdom of Malaria (see Ruritania) is beset by persistent cloud cover which has destroyed the population's ability to farm. So they turn to an alternative income stream: evil Inventions made by Mad Scientists used to hold the rest of the world to ransom. Supporting these captains of industry are the hunchbacked Igors, doing the drudge work and, of course, pulling the switch. Our Igor (Cussack) has higher aspirations than this, however. The trope originated with Bela Lugosi's character Ygor in Son of Frankenstein (1939) (see Frankenstein); when Igor's master dies, he decides to step into Victor Frankenstein's shoes and make his own Frankenstein Monster.
Helped and hindered by Scamper (a wonderfully acerbic Buscemi), a suicidal but immortal talking rabbit (see Immortality), and Brain (Hayes), a brainless brain in a jar (see Brain in a Box) – previous creations and his two best friends – Igor succeeds in the holy grail of creating new life. Igor is a strikingly beautiful film. The set design is superb and the character design recalls the distinctive animated films of Tim Burton. (Burton's own take on the subject matter was the 1984 short film Frankenweenie, expanded into a feature-length film in 2012.) McKenna's background is as a Television comedy writer for the adult animated sf sitcom American Dad (2005-current), and he gives the strong vocal cast a lot to get their teeth into; but concessions to its audience force the film down a familiar path of strict morality and personal growth. It is no surprise that a literally brighter tomorrow is just around the corner (see Weather Control). [ML]
see also: Cinema; Children's SF, Edisonade
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