Igor 2008 *5
Every mad scientist has a hunchbacked Igor, graduated from Igor school to help, and a girlfriend, really Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge) in disguise, to steal best for perennial winner Dr Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard). She is Heidi for incompetent Dr Glickenstein (John Cleese) whose accidental death allows his Igor (John Cusack), hunchback differentiated by enormous appealing eyes, to create life, gigantic lopsided Eva (Molly Shannon), sweet aspiring actress with enormous appealing eyes, one brown, one blue. She thinks she is auditioning for the musical Annie. The only songs I liked, the others felt intrusive, were the final two, "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" and "I can see clearly now the rain has gone".
In the Killiseum contest, invisible announcer Carl Cristall (Arsenio Hall) introduces battle of the monsters. Dr Schadenfreude activates her evil bone, her eyes turn black, but Igor repeats her line "I'd rather be an good nobody than an evil somebody", and adds advice "Everyone has an Evil Bone. We can choose whether to activate it." Meanwhile Igor's secret inventions, bottled Brain (Sean Hayes) and immortal feline Scamper (Steve Buscemi) destroy the king's weather ray, so as Eva sings "the sun will come out", the sunlight blasts down on everyone. Finally at the Malibar Theatre, blind orphans sing "xxx", and Igor offers to build a pet to care for with Eva.
Commentary with a director (and fan voice) Tony Leondis high, writer Chris McKenna deep, and a producer Max Howard English
Opening scenes co sunny golden orange is color of hope, that increases. Every image tells story, so Igor's first outfit resembles prisoner: stripes, straitjacket, handcuffs. Who knew? Not me. Long Igor voice-over exposition to establish weird world and odd characters. Permanent marker "BRIAN" on Brain's jar is darkest for his intro, wiped so softer, less intrusive after joke. His mouth is an electrical current. Huh again. I just thought it zizzled when he got excited.
Dr Schadenfreude's castle is supposed to be tacky like Liberace museum in Las Vegas. Who? Tony sounds gay, is that relevant to wanting Liberace look? Jaclyn-Heidi is homage to Jekyll-Hyde, visually always snake-like, Heidi busty wholesome bovine milkmaid, Glickenstein crocodile-like. Nope. Didn't get any of that. Animators pointed to voicer Jennifer's facial expression. King is armadillo-cockroach, sleazy survives all. Igor had to be cute, I got the large eyes, but the nose was tweaked lots.
No straight lines in whole movie, all asymmetrical, off-kilter. Glicky's lab not matte painting, totally 3D, visible from any angle, because we spend so much time there. "Pull the switch" to make life turned into joke when Scamper refuses yell, requires please. John makes us take Igor seriously, real hopes and dreams, not bumbling idiot. Homage to original Frankenstein movie to see monster first from behind. Hole in wall was created from outside by mistake, so she has to fall backward. Enh. Without commentary, I'd never know or miss details and homages. "Blind orphans get everything" is Sean ad-lib. Homage to Frankenstein merges coming across little girl and blind hermit. Eva starts to glow.
Jaclyn dressed snaky pop 60s? Block colors I see, snake no. The DVD was so popular, well-used, scratched, spots skip, gags drop, plot shorts (sometimes I just jumped scenes), but I did catch a Frankenstein homage staggering up to tower (lightning bringing life is just tradition). Brain Wash is combination of car wash, insane asylum padded cells, torture chamber eyeball openers, brain helmet. I was confused by killer spy suddenly followed by car wash owner; formerly scene between then no time to build a spider. Original intention was to include many horror film references, so Jeff the Fly was deliberate, for Jeff Goldblum movie "The Fly", Vincent Price look for original "The Fly". Oh dear, this is way beyond me.
TV interviewer James Lipton (as himself questions acting teacher for Eva's Brain Wash lesson) accepted being on show by announcing while interviewing John Cusack. Axe Murderer to Actor's Studio is a play on words? No, Tony, I did NOT "get it". All the little things you all enjoyed, the coffee maker, Employee of the Month Award, I didn't notice. But I did try echoing Eva's elocution exercise "A box of mixed biscuits and a biscuit mixer" is a doozy I could not do, said "pss pss". Her list of "things to do" actressy ambitions "adopt children from all over the world" rings a peal on my beloved odd Angelina Jolie who took husbands and children from her film sets, Madonna, probably others; "become an environmentalist, but fly private when necessary" is so hypocrite Prince Charles.
Action carriage chase written in three hours, smashing, serious unmasking. "Paparazzi! Why can't those vultures leave me alone?" is not so funny if Princess Diana's death was a big deal, 2008 not before, maybe too long after. Simple shapes and textures rather than realistic was time-money decision, yet earlier they claim no decisions dollar-based. Igor chases Brain with axe for admitting he used remote to set Brain Wash TV station programming to acting lesson. Like cartoon, no fear.
None of actors recorded together, yet onscreen relationships impact. Invisible Carl represents press (reporters), interview studio is homage to Leno's actual set. Leaders manipulate in our real world; this movie empowering to question authority.Eva's collar is wings of angel, like her. It is? Cozy in castle to represent like Christmas with fire, candles. Like Wizard of Oz, three friends get gifts, heart, etc. Cohorts lines were changed, Scamper's tooth and Brain's buzzy lips made easy.
Everything upside down, monsters sweet, pretties nasty. In Schadenfreude's sauna, Igor being lured to the dark side, motif is snakes, S-shapes everywhere, crazy straw. Really? French love Magnum PI, so French animators drew mustache on Schade's igor with Hawaiian floral shirt (Christian Slater cameo). Trivialest of trivia, have a contest. Commentators are fans of Guthman movies (who? dunno any of his movies) where actors let loose and characters dominate, harder in animation.
Color drains from her and movie as Eva learns truth. Drama vs melodrama balance, understand why she leaves with Schade. In France, they put Igor's hands on her front chest, American director moved to shoulders. Igor stands up for himself in body as well when spirit does, speaks in front of others without slur. Mixed 2D matte with 3D for cost. No people in arena, too costly. Scamper has reason to live now. They don't think he looks like cat. He does. Brain has his arc, "you're the only hunchback who can stand tall and fight for her", "smartest thing you ever said".
Inspiration for passage was Paris catacombs, walls patterned with bones and skulls. Igor discovers the blue sky above the clouds, morality of our own world, our politicians mislead, allegory (?) is we have to stand up and be responsible for the role we play. "We've got Annie" is for "musical theatre fans" like Tony. Compositing is shadows and blurs, important. Fans of Rank and Bass (Rudolf, Mad Monster Party stop motion). Who? Okay. Backgrounds all dark so light faces and people pop out.
Final big fight, Eva singing dressed as Annie battling monsters, bizarre, absurd, surreal. Annie people gave rights because same message, believe, hope. Here Schade's large red goggles remind me more of Elton John than Liberace. Eva pulling arena down with ropes wrapped around arms looks like Hercules to me. Igor's journey brings the sun out for everyone. Crowd is repeated from before, cost. Jaclyn changes into Igorette, "I'm going home to change" is adlib. Igor gets beginning wish, crowd chants his name. At end he has yellow tuxedo because whole kingdom bright. Seeing bright world from stage echoes start balcony view dark world. Okay. 7 1/2 mins credits. Oy. They lived based in Paris almost 2 years, but animation in Vietnam, all Jan 2008 - costs? quality? Recorded around the world, Thailand, New York. I do not like the credit song or others, but Annie, "I can see clearly", the movie and message great,
Alternate opening starts with news report ten years after King Malbert spread cloud cover, started blackmailing world with winning evil invention from Science Fair "Who will have the strength to stop them?" Igor narrates the lives of nobody hunchbacks, his inventions ignorant "brain with no brain", "talking rat who can never die", finally his planned hope "to change all that" (Eva).
Concept Art Galleries:
1 Characters - tiny Igors, group, others same
2 Set & Production Design - vehicle drawings and models, rooms mostly empty in sketch and color, Eva with broken wall hole, buildings
3 Storyboards - Chase scene in pairs of simple sketches with illegible labels
4 Posters - Name Igor in many styles - fave multi-color lab bottles, lit castle, fave - lead trio, simple unfamiliar Igor (& Eva) sketches