With a bright and colorful demeanor, Igor is a great movie for kids… err, actually, that’s not right. Despite the PG rating, Fox has produced a dark, adult-oriented comedy about the classic Igor character, one in which many of the jokes will go over the heads of young ones. That, or completely terrify them.
Just imagine sitting down with your kids for an evening of family entertainment, only to see a world of evil, where an immortal bunny voiced by Steve Buscemi is destined to kill himself. A world where the invisible man is obsessed with not wearing pants. A dark world where torture is celebrated as the real world is held hostage by machines of death and destruction.
If this animated piece has anything going for it, it’s surely the tone. While the story offers little mind blowing material, this spin on the classic Frankenstein tale is nothing but unique in how it’s presented.
The show stealer here is Steve Buscemi, as it always seems to be the goofy sidekick who takes over these animated romps. He voices Scamper, the above-mentioned suicidal bunny who is loaded with great lines and some priceless animation. Dark humor is prevalent in every scene, and certain moments will likely terrify a small child.
Igor (John Cusak) is out to best the world’s high-end evil scientists, despite being forced into a role of servant. He creates life, a rather disturbing female creature, which turns into a kind, loving soul instead of the monster he wanted. The usual misadventures ensue with some light laughs, but the storyline almost feels restrained.
While this pushes the PG limit in a number of ways, taking that extra step into PG-13 territory probably would have opened things up a bit. This is a movie crying out for a bit of the Tim Burton touch, and in many ways nails it. However, it never gets there and staying in the realm of children’s entertainment keeps Igor from going too far.
At a brisk 89 minutes, Igor isn’t going to take away a lot of your time. The rapid pacing also means you’ll rarely be bored, but the restrained humor and occasionally flat animation doesn’t make it a success either. This is an average, mildly enjoyable animated film for the right audience, although that’s certainly not supposed to be kids under 10. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Movie]
Like the movie itself, this Blu-ray transfer doesn’t quite match up to the usual standard of animated films in hi-def. This is hardly awful, but Igor isn’t the expected flawless presentation format enthusiasts expect.
Contrast is the main problem. While under control for much of the film, there are times when the whites overwhelm the image. Animation is already rather flat, yet the contrast manages to bleach things out further. Colors are strong and vivid, save for an intentional drop towards the end of the film. A slight bit of aliasing is evident in a few brief scenes, and a tiny amount of artificial sharpening can be seen, specifically in a long shot after Eva is born. Detail in the animation (where you can find it) is exceptional, particularly Igor’s outfit. Sharpness remains firm throughout as well. This is a nice AVC encode, but the precedent is of a higher caliber. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Like the video, the audio comes off flat. Bass can be non-existent, especially during a chase sequence near the middle of the film. Other times, the low end kicks up with a deep boom as it should. The surrounds are active for the majority of this DTS-HD mix, including subtle bird calls, crackling electricity in the laboratory, and nicely captured movement. The stereo channels also come into play on a regular basis, giving the fronts a nice presence as well. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Igor didn’t set the box office on fire when it landed in theaters, and the extras seem to reflect that. A three-man commentary includes director Tony Leondis, writer Chris McKenna, and producer Max Howard picking apart the film in standard form. An alternate opening is presented in hi-def, even darker than the one in the film, though with weaker video quality. A gallery of concept art is also nice, although it’s also the final extra. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]