This hilarious animated twist on the classic monster movie is must-see family fun! Determined to prove he can create his own diabolical invention, a mad scientist's (John Cleese) nice-guy assistant Igor (John Cusack) creates a female Franken-monster. But his creation, Eva (Molly Shannon), is sweet and sings show tunes! That is, until she falls into the clutches of Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie Izzard) and his shape-shifting girlfriend (Jennifer Coolidge). Now it's up to Igor and his sidekicks (Steve Buscemi and Sean Hayes) to save Eva – and their country – from real evildoers, including sneaky Prince Malpert (Jay Leno)!
Apologies if this reviewer sounds like a fanatic devotee of John Cusack, but the Illinois born actor’s voice why this animated movie still belongs in the “averagely enjoyable” category. This is especially true when there are animation giants like Pixar and DreamWorks out there whom viewers are more familiar with. And if you allow this reviewer to continue his enthusiastic blabbering, he can safely tell you that the colourful cast of characters in this Tony Leondis directed feature aren’t very exciting to begin with. It is Cusack who holds the show together. Really.
Although we do see the underrated actor physically throughout the 87 minutes, this reviewer can imagine him playing the role as if the camera is on him – just by listening to his voice. The premise itself is interesting though: There exists a world filled with mad scientists and evil inventions, which, well, are invented to do evil things. Known as Igors, each evil scientist has one hunchbacked lab assistant to help him achieve his, well, evil plans. But there’s one talented Igor (Cusack) who bears dreams of becoming a, gasp, mad scientist himself and winning the annual evil science fair.
There are many opportunities for this movie to satirize pop culture with this setup. Imagine the filmmakers making digs at scientific inventions that promote unhealthy commercialism, self proclaimed clever gadgets that promise a better life, and how the world is bought into wanting all things pretty, not realizing the ugliness behind them.
And what do we get instead? A fable that focuses on the love between Cusack’s Igor and his evil invention, an equally ugly being. So you can expect the usual true love prevails regardless of looks kind of fairy tale (which Disney does a whole lot better anyway), and a predictable story development which does not excite nor stimulate the senses (yes, the animation production is nothing fascinating anymore, with other animation giants producing stuff like Kung Fu Panda and Wall.E.
Which is why, Cusack is the main reason why we continued watching this conventional animation. He injects a fair amount of uncertainty and empathy in his character that we can’t help but feel that he really wants to be an evil scientist very badly. The supporting voice cast of Steve Buscemi, John Cleese and Jennifer Coolidge don’t fare too bad either. Upping the star factor are other known celebrities like Sean Hayes, Eddie Izzard and Jay Leno in an array of assorted characters, which, sadly, do not leave much visual impact.
Igor, we wish you better luck leaving an impression next time.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD contains an Audio Commentary by Director Tony Leondis, Writer Chris McKenna and Producer Max Howard which has the three men talking merrily about the movie, from how clouds are a motif in the movie and how almost everyone involved in the movie is a talent in his/her own right. There is also an Alternate Opening Scene where the movie begins with a public service announcement that is more adult friendly. Included on the disc are also Concept Art Galleries which features character designs, set and production designs, storyboards and posters.
The visual transfer is pristinely clear and presented in its original English audio track.
by John Li