A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Igor is a 2008 animated dark comedy in which the title character no longer wants to be a lab assistant and wants to win the science fair. Expect dark humor, such as a suicidal bunny who can't die, and a poster of a cat hanging by a noose with the caption, "Hang in there, baby." Cartoonish violence, such as explosions and characters heads and bodies blown and shot up in ways reminiscent of older Warner Bros. cartoons. Slapstick violence throughout. Some sexual content, such as one of the male characters asking a female character, "You've seen a lot of brains, right? Is mine bigger than average?" and women with exaggerated large breasts. Cocktail and champagne drinking. Overall, the movie is a failed attempt at Tim Burton-style animation and dark humor.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the dark, gloomy kingdom of Malaria, evil scientists have free rein to create monstrous inventions with the help of hunchbacked servants who are all called Igor. The central Igor (voiced by John Cusack) secretly wants to be a scientist, so when his misguided master (John Cleese) dies in a lab explosion, Igor brings to life a towering female monster, Eva (Molly Shannon). But instead of being vicious, she's convinced -- thanks to a brain-washing mix up -- that she's an aspiring actress.
Is it any good?
IGOR borrows its animation style from Tim Burton and its story from Young Frankenstein, but even with such classic inspiration, it's only OK. At least the voice actors are top-notch -- the supporting cast includes Steve Buscemi as the voice of Igor's suicidal-but-invincible rabbit creation Scamper; Sean Hayes as Brain, a dim-witted brain in a jar; and Eddie Izzard as the hilariously named celebrity scientist Dr. Schadenfreude.
Kids will certainly be entertained, especially by the antics of the two sidekicks responsible for most of the laughs. The story is so simple that even very young kids will be able to follow along, and Eva is surprisingly touching as she practices "Tomorrow" and dresses up like Gloria Swanson. Igor -- like many other recent animated movies -- may fall short of the Pixar standard for greatness, but it's good enough for most little monsters who can handle the dark humor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages. Why is it so out of the ordinary for Igor to want to be a scientist? How do others' expectations affect the way we behave and the way we see ourselves?
How does the movie use dark humor for the sake of comedy? What do you think is the appeal of dark humor? Is dark humor appropriate for young kids?
How was the violence reminiscent of the cartoons of the past? Are cartoons such as these a bad influence on kids, or do you think kids can see the exaggeration and know that it isn't real and can't happen in real life?
Families can also discuss how this film fits into the monster-movie genre. What does it have in common with movies about Frankenstein and the hunchback of Notre Dame? How is it different? Kids: If you could create a "monster," what would it be like?
- In theaters: September 18, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: January 20, 2009
- Cast: John Cusack, Molly Shannon, Steve Buscemi
- Director: Anthony Leondis
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some thematic elements, scary images, action and mild language.
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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