Making the Grades
In the land of Malaria, where practically everyone who's anyone is a mad scientist, Igors are everywhere. Relegated to the role of executing commands screamed at them by their masters ("Pull the switch!"), they live out underappreciated lives -- not to mention having to deal with the pain and inconvenience of being hunchbacked.
But one Igor (voiced by John Cusack) has far grander aspirations. For years he has quietly worked on his own projects, resulting in the creation of his two companions, Brain (voiced by Sean Hayes) -- a brain in a jar that lacks any intelligence -- and Scamper (voiced by Steve Buscemi), a road-killed squirrel who is now immortal. It's a good beginning, yet what Igor really wants is to be able to produce the greatest, nastiest monster imaginable so he can put his name on the records as one of the most evil, diabolical madmen to ever exist. A bonus would be winning the Evil Science Fair, which is happening on the upcoming weekend. When his master is accidentally killed during an exploding experiment, it appears the budding apprentice's opportunity has arrived.
After pulling together his plans, along with some spare parts and pieces lying about the laboratory, he unveils his grand monster: a huge female figure. However, only a few moments after the creature's birth, Igor realizes that while she may look evil her personality would suggest otherwise.
A mix of slapstick humor kids will find funny and jokes that only parents are likely to get gives Igor a surprisingly fresh concept that's mostly enjoyable to watch. Cynical from start to finish, the script especially pokes fun at celebrity culture when the supposed-to-be evil monster is brainwashed into becoming a high maintenance actress -- changing her "evil" into "Eva" (voiced by Molly Shannon). As the plot unfolds, Igor finds himself growing fond of his creation in a way he never expected. As well, he faces the increasingly difficult dilemma of deciding between good and evil (a choice which provides positive messages for young audiences).
At the same time, this film does have a darker side -- and not just with its depiction of a land where the sun never shines. Much of the visual comedy derives from what are truly violent scenarios, usually involving Scamper. Tired of living his life with Igor and Brain, the squirrel constantly looks for possible ways of killing himself. Eating dynamite, drinking poison, getting shot at or even chewing off his own appendages to get out of a tight situation, are just some of the methods he employs. Obviously, his immortal nature negates any negative consequences from occurring.
Along with this suicidal obsession, the film's relatively few other content concerns consist of some terms of Deity and a couple of veiled sexual innuendos. Taking these into account, a date with Igor may be an experiment best suited for older test subjects who will appreciate the jokes and not be blown away by the scary observations.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Igor.
The Igors in this story represent a lower class, and it is assumed they are unintelligent and always speak, look and act in a certain way. What “Igors” do we have in our society? Why do we tend to classify people according to stereotyped traits, such as physical appearance or speech?