tek's rating:

Igor (PG)
Dread Central; Exodus Film Group; IMDb; MGM; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

This came out in 2008, and I'm fairly sure I had some interest in it at the time, but I didn't get a chance to see it until 2014. And I'm glad I finally did, because it's pretty funny. And evil. It's set in a kingdom called Malaria, which I think is actually a good name for a evil kingdom. Many years ago, a massive storm covered the whole kingdom, ruining its crops and whatnot. So the only way for the kingdom to survive, according to King Malbert, was to adopt an evil invention economy. That is, the most important job in Malaria became "evil scientist." And all the evil scientists would invent horrible new weapons, which they would refrain from unleashing on the rest of the world, if the rest of the world paid Malaria a fortune. Every year. So, everyone in Malaria became evil, apparently. Which is kind of a fun premise. Of course, in real life I'm against evil, but in fiction, evil is usually pretty awesome. So I liked the idea of a story where even the protagonist, the guy we're rooting for, is evil. And so is everyone else. It's all pretty over-the-top, and unrestrained, and crazy.

The one problem is that there's a sort of caste system, which is something I can't get behind even in fiction. But as a plot point, it served its purpose, here. See, everyone born with a hunchback is forced to become an "Igor," and work as a servant to one of Malaria's many evil scientists. (There's even a school for learning how to conform to all the familiar stereotypes of what Igors are supposed to be.) But the hero of our story is an Igor who dreams of becoming an evil scientist, himself. And the scientist he works for, Dr. Glickenstein, is fairly incompetent, so it doesn't take too long for him to blow himself up with one of his inventions. But Igor doesn't let anyone know his master is dead, and instead seizes the opportunity to finally create an evil invention of his own, something no other Malarian evil scientist has ever accomplished: Igor creates life, Frankenstein-style. (Actually, he'd previously created a couple of other creatures, comic relief sidekicks. One is a brain in a jar, with wheels and a grappler arm, named Brain. The other is a roadkill rabbit named Scamper, whom Igor made immortal. But the irony is that Brain is an idiot and Scamper is suicidal.) Anyway, he's never created life from scratch before, but now he does. He creates a monster, a huge female monster named Eva. (He didn't want her to be named Eva, she just misunderstood when he told her she was evil.) The big problem Igor has is that Eva isn't evil. She has an evil bone, but it can only be activated if she commits an evil act, but she doesn't do that, because she's completely sweet. So, he takes her to a brainwashing station, but... things go awry there, and Eva decides she wants to be an actress.

Another problem is that another evil scientist, Dr. Schadenfreude (I love that name!), always wins the annual Evil Science Fair. But we soon learn that he actually steals all his inventions from other scientists. (In fact, he's not really a scientist at all.) Actually, his girlfriend, Jaclyn, steals inventions for him. Anyway, Schadenfreude wants to overthrow Malbert, and become king himself. And Malbert is concerned that Schadenfreude is too successful and popular, and desperately wants someone to beat him for a change. Of course, when Schadenfreude learns of Eva's existence, he hatches a plan to steal her away from Igor.

Well, I don't want to say too much more about the plot, but I will say that various plot points that may seem totally random, just thrown in for silly or surreal comedic purposes, actually become important to the story, make the whole thing hang together with a carefully constructed internal logic. So I liked that. But as much as I enjoyed the warped logic, I also enjoyed the just plain warpedness of the whole thing. And I found a lot of the jokes fairly clever. And I was kind of dreading having Igor turn out to be a good guy, after all. Part of me really wanted the movie to remain totally anti-mainstream, anti-happy ending, and... just be twisted and evil. But that didn't happen. Igor did turn out to be a good guy, and in spite of my apprehension, I actually liked the way the story turned out. (There was a plot twist that I suspected long before it was revealed, but I thought it was a good twist, and one that made it acceptable that the movie ended up with a relatively mainstream sensibility.) But the movie never completely abandoned its penchant for slightly dark humor, thankfully. And... I guess that's all I can think to say, except to note that it had a pretty cool voice cast....


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