Like it often seems in monster movies, the land of Malaria only has two real professions: mad scientist or lowly lab assistant. Obviously, one career is far more revered. In fact, in this land of evil laboratories, all mad geniuses' helpers are called by the same name: Igor.
But one of those Igors (John Cusack) longs to be something greater. Sure, he's got a hunchback and his Yes Master's Degree, but he's also got dreams of being his own master and becoming an evil scientist. When his cruel master abruptly dies before the annual Evil Science Fair, Igor gets his shot.
While this is a seemingly fun and clever turn on classic monster movie conventions, Igor doesn't go far beyond being only a promising premise. There are several problems that keep the cartoon from working for kids or adults. In fact, a small girl sitting behind me helped me identify the three major issues with Igor through three telling in-movie comments to her mom:
1. "I don't like this."
That's what the girl behind me said during an early scary scene when Igor unveils his idea for the science fair: an evil Frankenstein-like monster. I don't blame her for being scared. For a cartoon aimed at kids, the movie is entirely too dark.
Igor is clearly influenced by Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas (it goes so far as mimicking the film's stop-animation look with computer animation), The Corpse Bride and Young Frankenstein. But those weren't kid films. Igor is—and it goes way too far for a movie aimed at younger kids.
The film is full of creepy things, scary situations, shockingly violent moments and character deaths (see the lengthy Family Corner below). Igor has a sidekick named Scamper—a road-kill rabbit that Igor made immortal with some invention. ...1