Review by Leonard Norwitz
Theatrical: MGM Pictures, Exodus Film Group & Sparx
Blu-ray: MGM Home Entertainment
Runtime: 86 min.
Size: 50 GB
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 20, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Video codec: AVC @ 38 MBPS
English DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless. Spanish 5.1 Dolby
English and Spanish
• Audio Commentary by Writer Chris McKenna, Director Tony
Leonidas & Producer Max Howard
• Alternate Opening Scene in HD (3:18)
• Concept Art Galleries: Characters, Set, Production Design,
Storyboards & Posters
Trying too hard to be all things to all audiences the
filmmakers here have succeeded in creating a movie not
unlike Igor's monster, stitched together from Betty Boop
eyes, Coneheads and Raggedy Anns and costumes from the
Liberace Museum, among other things, that never quite gels.
In the kingdom of Malaria, once a fit and sunny place to
bring up your children, storm clouds have had a stultifying
effect on everyone's attitude. The king has decreed that the
only way the country could stay afloat economically is if
they export evil toys. Just the threat of what these things
could do extorts a good living from the rest of the planet.
One thing begets another, including a race of creatures, all
named "Igor," bred only to "pull the switch." One such Igor
(voiced by John Cusack) gets it into his head that he could
make a better mad scientist than his employer, a hypothesis
he is soon able to test out when Dr. Glickenstein (John
Cleese) meets with an – er – accident (not Igor's doing,
What Igor creates is a gigantic creature named, in a
shameless and not very funny ripoff of Wall-E, "Eva." The
problem is that Eva, despite Igor's intentions and
instructions, can only do good. The country's number one
evil mad scientist, Dr. Schadenfreude (Eddie "Lounge"
Lizzard), a cross between Elton John, Marilyn Manson and
Liberace, knows something is up and tries to steal Igor's
plans or, failing that, Eva herself.
There's a good deal of Mickey Mouse Club (no offense)
moralizing in this tale about choosing good or evil. Not
content with such simplicities, the movie is filled with
more remote cultural references than an earnest film student
could keep track of, plus an ending that has Total Recall
written all over it - something for this audience, followed
for no rhyme or reason by something for that. I felt much
the same way about the music, which jumps into classic retro
blues with very little provocation. I didn't much care for
John Cusack's impersonation of Albert Brooks either. How, I
asked myself, does Nemo's dad, Marlin, figure as Igor?
Moments later Cusack would try on another voice just as I
becoming accustomed to the first one.
What I did like, I liked very much: the color, the
characters and their costumes and most of the set designs.
These all account for a great deal in any animated feature,
so I wouldn't want to minimize their effect. But then, just
to annoy me it seemed, another piece of inane dialogue would
insult both the kid and the adult in me, and the lighting
source for any character would change at the drop of a hat
as the camera shifted its position (Can Dr. Seuss be far
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence
compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.
The second number places this image along the full range of
DVD and Blu-ray discs.
I certainly can't fault the image: it's tight, sharp, highly
resolved, with no weird fuzz or other distractions. The
contrast demanded by the production is about as far ranging
as any animation I've seen. Blacks, shadow detail, color
saturation, blaring light – it's all done wonderfully. The
image quality is just about right up there with the best of
them, though it seems to hold on for dear life, like Mr.
Toad. . . if only that key light wouldn't move around so.
Audio & Music:
While never reaching the heights or depths of a live action
thriller like Wanted, the audio here is still busy with
every manner of effect, musical cue, and overlapping
dialogue (the latter being the only place I felt that could
use more clarity). The surrounds conveyed the various
locales very well, from one mad scientist's laboratory to
another, to the crowd-filled stadium, to the wild ride
across the mountain pass.
Menus can be watched, with or without sound effects, the
main menu easily returned from the self-guiding galleries,
which will continue on their merry way unless you pause or
Except for the audio commentary, the extra features are all
without comment. The feature commentary is infectious and
informative, if not a little self-congratulatory. I liked
the Concept Art Galleries, as far as they went. And the
alternate opening scene worked well too.
O.K., so I didn't care for the movie. I found it too dark
for young children, too oblique for older children, and too
lame for adults. But, make no mistake: the visuals, except
for the bizarre light sources, shifting or not, are
fascinating, as are the character and art designs. The audio
supports the ever-changing image nicely, making this Blu-ray
a great demo, if only we could close our minds to the
February 10th, 2009