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While not wholly successful, IGOR ($40) is a rather likable and generally goofy computer animated film that pokes fun at the conventions of old horror movies. What I liked about IGOR is the films slightly warped sense of humor, as well as being vaguely reminiscent of the Rankin-Bass produced MAD MONSTER PARTY?, which also gently spoofed the genre. Additionally, the character design and the style of the computer animation does have something in common with later stop motion animated films like THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and CORPSE BRIDE, which adds some more charm to the production. IGOR is set in the land of Malaria, where continuous cloud cover and storms have lead to an economy based upon Malaria being the homeland to the world’s Evil Scientists and their insidious inventions. So how does this little country make money off of Evil Scientists? Every year Malaria holds Evil Science Fair, where said Evil Scientists show the world their latest creations and Malaria is able to extort money from the rest of the globe by preventing these insidious inventions from being released into the outside world. Malaria’s strange economy has also given rise to a strange social order, where Evil Scientists are at the top of the pecking order, while hunchback laboratory assistants, all of whom have been given the name Igor, occupy the very bottom.

One such Igor (voiced by John Cusack), is dissatisfied with his lot in life and longs to be an Evil Scientist himself. While in the employ of a rather inept Evil Scientist named Dr. Glickenstein (voiced by John Cleese), Igor spends his spare time tinkering together his own creations. When Dr. Glickenstein meets an unfortunate end, as the result of a poorly designed invention, Igor seizes the chance to enter his own creation in Evil Science Fair. Bringing to life a giant female monster, Igor finds himself with an unforeseen complication- when the evil bone in the monster’s body fails to activate. Hoping to rectify this complication, Igor attempts to have his monster brainwashed into becoming evil, but the newly dubbed Eva (Molly Shannon) is instead brainwashed into believing herself an actress auditioning for a role in the stage musical Annie. Further complicating matters is Doctor Schadenfreude (voiced by Eddie Izzard), whose successful career as an Evil Scientist has been built on stealing the inventions of others- and guess which newly created monster has fallen under his gaze??? The vocal talents behind IGOR also features Sean Hayes, Jennifer Coolidge, Jay Leno, Christian Slater, Arsenio Hall and Steve Buscemi as the film most hilarious character- an immortal rabbit with suicidal tendencies.

MGM Home Entertainment through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made IGOR available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is very appealing and brings out all the charm in the computer animation. IGOR has a rather cartoony style of 3D animation that does not bristle with detail the way some Pixar films do, but the character and environment designs are well done and beautifully rendered in high definition. The image is always crisp and pumps out as much definition as contained in the animation. Colors here are deeply saturated, even in the gray dark work that the characters inhabit. Blacks are pitch perfect, while the whites are completely stable. Contrast is as perfect as computer animators designed it to be. There are no flaws or apparent grain in the image.

IGOR is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. I have to say that the soundtrack is a genuine delight, thanks to the filmmakers’ penchant for underscoring scenes with Louis Prima songs. By the nature of its story, IGOR is primarily dialogue driven feature, with the outlying channels serve up a stew of small sound effects, ambient sounds and musical fill. However, anytime the story highlights the work of Evil Scientists, the sound design turns into a lively monster mash of activity. Fidelity is terrific and I really love how good the Louis Prima songs sound in the mix. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been encoded onto the disc, as have English and Spanish subtitles.

Animation and sound have been added to give the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Tony Leondis, writer Chris McKenna and producer Max Howard. An Alternate Opening Scene, Concept Art Galleries for characters, set and production designs, storyboards and posters, plus Bonus Trailers close out the extras.

IGOR isn’t a perfect animated movie, but I really liked the way that it played with the conventions of old horror movies. The Blu-ray presentation is very strong, delivering delightful visual and sonic qualities. IGOR deserves a chance to be seen and Blu-ray is the best way to do it.



Igor [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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