Where ‘Igor’ Went Wrong

      34 Comments on Where ‘Igor’ Went Wrong
© 2008 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

OK, this is my first attempt at a movie review.

Now it won’t be like other movie reviews because:

  1. I’m not going to give you a summary of the plot. I’m too lazy. And you can find that anywhere. Check your local paper.
  2. I’m also too lazy to look up all the names and stuff of the people who worked on it. And honestly…do you really care?
  3. I won’t be getting all animator-snobbish about the whole thing. (Or I’ll try not to.)
  4. I won’t be using words like ‘protagonist’. Ugh.
  5. I’m mostly going to focus on the story. And the problems therein.

And just for kicks I’m going to address the movie as a person. So when I say “Igor” I mean ‘Igor-The Movie’, not the character. It’ll be fun. Really.

OK? Let’s roll.

Alright Igor. I love to give the little guy a chance.

I don’t think Pixar is God. I love ’em but I give props where props are due. I really liked Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda.


So frankly, I don’t care who made you. Just tell me a good story. It’s nice if you look really good while you do it, but I understand you may not have ‘the BIG budget’ of the other guys. That’s OK. You can still entertain me.

And my 9 year-old companion.

I’ll give you the good news first. You looked pretty good. You had some great character designs (even though Tim Burton may have grounds to sue). I had some genuine laughs. Overall you did a pretty damn fine job in the artistic and chuckles department.

But here’s where you went wrong.

First off, you started the movie with a voice-over and lots of “ya need to know this and ya need to know that before we can start the real story”.

Hate to tell you, but that’s usually a bad sign.

I’m still trying to recover from seeing trailers for ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ and ‘High School Musical 3’ and you expect me to listen to you? And remember it??

No, no, no. You gotta ease into the story a little. Create the mood. Romance me a little before you start blathering on and on.

As much as you might hate those Disney musical numbers from the good old days, they did serve a purpose. They tell all that ‘need to know’ information in a fun and entertaining way. Even if you have to endure Phil Collins during it. At least I can take it all in and remember it better.

So can my little companion.

Remember her? My 9 year-old companion?

You know…your ‘target audience’?

Why do you ignore her so?

You know what happens when you make all the jokes verbal? All that witty dialogue that isn’t supported by great visuals and funny action?


Yeah. That was the sound of all the best funny bits flying right over her cute little head.

None of your fast, witty quips were understood by a 9 year-old. Let me guess, your writer must have come from the world of sitcoms right? That’s the impression I got.

No kids in the audience laughed during the whole movie.

Not good.


Oh that? That was the sound of some major story points shooting right past her.

Why? Because you kept telling us stuff but you didn’t show us stuff.

And who thought it was a good idea to animate a talk show sequence for goodness sakes?

A friggin’ talk show?!

Oh, I know. You used that invisible interviewer guy, right? He was *so* funny because he wasn’t wearing pants, right?

Yeah, I got it. The twenty-somethings in the back row got it too.

But you know what a kid sees when you have an invisible guy not wearing any pants?


And there’s not much ‘funny’ about a talking shirt.

OK, OK. You did try to explain one of your most important story points with a visual.


That really important one that explains why your leading lady now acts the way she does? And what was that visual you used?

Oh right. A little video footage of James Lipton.


Half the people I know don’t know who the heck James Lipton is. You expect a 9 year-old to? (And if you, dear reader don’t know who he is either, I’m not going to tell you just to illustrate my point. Frustrating, huh?)

So my little friend just had to accept the fact that one of your main characters was now acting the way she was. With pretty much no explanation that she could understand.

It’s true. I asked her.

It’s like you’re a big bully holding her at bay by the forehead and won’t let her see the whole story.

Why would you do that?

There’s also a major story point that is very relevant in the big climax of the movie. How do you let us know about it? With one line of dialogue about an hour earlier.

Do you think she remembered that?

Heck, *I* barely remembered that. I shouldn’t have to remember a line of dialogue that explains something huge. I should have been shown it. Then I would have.

Lazy, lazy storytelling my man.

Now I hate to compare, but you did wrong everything that Pixar’s ‘Wall-E’ did right. Much less bla bla bla and the visuals told the story. Beautifully, I might add.

And I gotta ask…were you slapping your forehead saying “D’oh!” when you saw that ‘Wall-E’ named their leading lady the same as yours? Oh dear. Total fluke, I know.

Did you suck? No. You didn’t.

Did you tell your visual story in the best possible way? No. You didn’t.

Darn it.

Thanks for listening Igor. I appreciate it.

So readers, should you see it?

Here is the storyboard blog’s tri-perspective recommendation:

For animation types: Sure, give a look. Don’t expect greatness but it has some interesting design work, decent animation and you’ll probably get a few good laughs out of it. It’s not ‘horrible’. You can respect all the work the artists put into it.

For the kiddies: If they are the polite sort, they’ll probably sit through it. But don’t expect them to laugh much…if at all. I suspect younger ones would get quite bored and restless with all the gabbing this movie does. Oddly enough, it’s not all that kid-friendly.

For ‘regular’ adults: If you bring the kiddies, will you want to gouge your eyes out? Not at all. You’ll probably enjoy it more than your kids. If adults were really their target audience (doesn’t look like it), then they should have stepped up the story a lot more. The ending was way too predictable.

First movie review is now complete. Hope it didn’t stink.

Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email for future posts that hopefully don’t stink either.

34 thoughts on “Where ‘Igor’ Went Wrong

  1. t. sterling

    I’m interested in seeing this movie at some point… it certainly doesn’t sound like a movie I’d rush out to see immediately, but in due time. (I write my own reviews as well that don’t follow the rules of major critics–sometimes I agree with them, other times I wonder if we were watching the same movie.)

    Anyway, the way you described this movie, it sounds like they are trying to follow success formulas of DreamWorks and Pixar of appealing to kids but also giving the adults something to appreciate, which is why I think Shrek was such a hit. Plus its movie like those that you love as kids, and when you get older and watch it again, you get so much more out of it. I can’t think of any examples right now of movies I’ve rewatched years later, but I’m hoping you understand what I mean. But in Igor’s case, that won’t work for the kids if the movie is memorable enough to want to relive those fond moments later in life like Buzz and Woody. I guess that could be a good example for me, but I’m sure there’s a better one out there.

    But it sounds like a movie I should probably wait til DVD release.

  2. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    It’s a fine line to balance, entertaining the adults and the kids. If the story has ‘heart’, then I think it’s totally possible.

    Their problem is they *only* rely on the witty dialogue and fast one-liners that go right over kids’ heads. I picture the creators in a room patting each other on the back for being *so* cleaver.

    That wouldn’t be all bad but they didn’t give kids the laughs *they* need. My little friend cracked up all during Kung Fu Panda. And so did I. It had the right balance and *that* is key.

    Not many ‘fond moments’ in Igor. The characters didn’t have all that much appeal and relate-ability to the little ones.

    DVD is probably a good choice for you. 🙂

  3. Dan Szilagyi

    Hey i’m with you Karen,
    I have yet to watch this movie but i’m sure as hell it isn’t a good one on many different levels.
    from a design point yes Tim burton could use a call and from the story point ( as much as i’ve read) it pretty much said the same thing YAWN!
    i’m pretty sure i can round this movie up with hits like “Hoodwinked” and the “three pigs and a baby(?)” type movies.
    just a rush job done by people who did sequel movies ( some other animated movie, forgot which one) and an attempt to have clever and witty banter that would appeal to older people in the crowd but totally left the kids out with any interesting or remotely original plot.
    haha it cracks me up when a character talks about how “evil” or “bad” they are and never do anything to show it!
    this makes Bee movie look awesome!

  4. James | Dancing Geek

    Excellent – I don’t need to watch this now – I just had the whole experience blasted into 2 minutes. Probably laughed more than I would have at the film too. And sooo loved Kung Fu Panda (even cried a teeny bit at the end – such a sucker!)

    More of this please 🙂

  5. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Dan – Well from what I’ve seen of Hoodwinked (which ain’t much) this movie looks *way* better. My beef wasn’t with the visuals really, more the story.

    And you have it right about the ‘evil’ thing. They kept telling me they were evil but I sure didn’t see it! It was a solid effort that would have been better if they spent more time working the story and less time just being ‘witty’. 🙂

    @ James – Dancing geeks are welcome here!
    Thanks for the feedback. I can see I may have come across a bit harsh, but I mean it in a funny way. I guess you saw that…yay!

    I think I cried in Kung Fu Panda too. And I *know* I did in Wall-E. 🙂

  6. Kelly

    It’s funny that you say that about PIXAR. Some of the animators think they are. Dreamworks did do good on Kung fu Panda. And see you didn’t have to use any pop culture. But for GOD SAKE don’t let Jerry Seinfeld make another animated film!!!
    Wall-e on the other hand was so beautiful. It said so much with so little. Plus it’s got SF and the bay area all over the backgrounds. ;P

  7. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hi Kelly – Yeah, there seems to be a lot of animator-snobbery in regards to Dreamworks. Don’t blame the artists! They work just as hard as the Pixar guys, I’m sure.

    I’ve never had a huge problem with them. I’ve liked a number of their movies (even tho they overdo the pop culture stuff!) Let’s hope they learned a lot from the success of KFP and keep up *that* kind of good work. 🙂

    And yes, Wall-E may have climbed to the top of my Pixar faves.
    (never saw Bee Movie…I think that’s good thing!)

  8. t.sterling

    I just want to defend Hoodwinked a little bit. No doubt it’s not on the same level of more successful movies like Wall-e or Kung Fu Panda, which I haven’t seen yet, BUT compared to some other animated movies that have been released lately, I can’t say it was all bad. The animation of Hoodwinked bothered me, but I eventually got over it and enjoyed the story (and the actors voicing them).

    I’m on a fence saying if it would be kid approved, but I’m leaning towards yes. I was the youngest in the room at the time. There’s enough slap stick and other things that should keep the wee ones entertained, while the adults pick up on the wittiness. Maybe it’s just me. It’s not great, but I liked it.

    The bomb movie for me is called Happily Never After or something like that. It has an all-star cast but it wasn’t entertaining at all. Open Season was okay, but forgettable. I struggled to remember the title. And Bee Movie? I dunno… I also know a 9 year old who kept begging to watch it again and again. It wasn’t bad but once was enough for me.

  9. Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome

    I haven’t even *heard* of Igor, so they must not be promoting it on the international scene which tells you something.

    As for Hoodwinked – I really enjoyed how the story was told four times and the everyone joined together – I thought that was a really cool storytelling device. No one fit into the prescribed role for them.

  10. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ T – Hey, defend away my friend. 🙂
    Like I said, I haven’t seen Hoodwinked so I really don’t have an opinion. I was just judging from the few visuals that I saw. But I did hear it was funny, so that’s good. I’m glad you liked it.

    Don’t even get me *started* on ‘Happily N’Ever After’! Gah! One of the worst. Animated films. Ever. (or in the last few years anyway). Boy, I could fly off on a rant with that one! Never saw Open Season either but didn’t hear great things.

    And animators can be quite harsh on the films. We see it in a different way sometimes, then the snobbiness comes oozing out. 😉

    @ Alex – I guess it hasn’t made it across the pond yet. Don’t know if it will either…but you know what to expect now.

    Hmm… I may have to check out Hoodwinked so I can say something intelligent about it. 🙂

    Thanks guys!

  11. James | Dancing Geek

    @Karen – Oh I cried at two different bits at least in Wall-E! Loved that film, my least favourite part was when the humans got involved, it suddenly broke the spell for me to have these squishy blobs hogging all the limelight.

    @Alex – I’d just assumed I was out of touch with cinema. And, well, I am. But no, a quick google confirms it’s not due out for another 2 weeks in the UK.

  12. Dan Szilagyi

    If you want to see a horrible film then simply check out pinocchio 3000, that has to be one of the worst animated and horrible 3d movies ever made.
    I can’t “defend” stuff like hoodwinked on any lever expect that maybe it was funny ( kinda) but i’m not going to say a movie is great or bad because of how well children liked it ( kids also like 6teen and total drama island so what does that tell you?) if a movie has solid animation, good design and a well done story then by all means i’ll defend it but to me something like hoodwinked and Igor as no more then an attempt to make a quick buck, in fact i’ll go as far to say that Igor would have been better suited to a DVD movie.
    I used to love dreamworks back in its 2D days ( El dorado and sinbad) but stuff like shark tale and bee movie ruined that, although Ku Fu Panda did great justice to them ( and you’re right Karen, i don’t blame the artists and animators)
    check out the inspector gaget 3d movie too! that’s a laugh!

  13. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ James – I do agree about the human thing in Wall-E. It was a little odd how they used live footage and then we all ‘turn into cartoons’ in the future. Probably making a statement of that’s where we’re heading. Stupid humans! 🙂

  14. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Dan – That clip was pretty good but…

    Andrew Park! If you’re reading, go check it out. I think someone ripped off your student film!! 🙂

    And Dan…*I* storyboarded the Inspector Gadget 3D movie.

    Have a nice day. 🙂

  15. Dan S

    NO WAY! really? haha that’s too funny, i saw the trailer for that when i watched P3K ( pinocchio 3000) and couldn’t help but think why such bad movies get run across vancouver ( we have way too much talent for that!)

    I don’t mean any disrespect to you though by ripping on the movie 🙂

  16. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Dan – Unless it’s a different one. A few years ago, right? Biggest Caper Ever? That’s mine.

    And to be honest, I haven’t even watched the full final thing. It was fun working with the people I did, but mmm…don’t really want to sit through it myself. 😉

    Just proving the point of ‘don’t blame the artists!’

  17. Dan Szilagyi

    Yup that’s the one, i didn’t see it either just the trailer but it looks funny ( in a bad kinda way, animation wise anyway)
    gotta love those movie titles too, biggest caper ever? did i miss his other capers?
    P3K had the voice of Howie Mandel and his catch pharse was ” save to memory” which he reminded everyone of every other scene.
    priceless 🙂

  18. Friar


    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll probably give this one a miss, then. Epeciallyi since it sounds like a talk show.

    Compare this to Wall-E (which I loved!)

    Now that was a GREAT story…and it stood on it’s own, with little or no dialogue.

  19. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Dan – Hey, no backtracking just to suck up now! (kidding) 🙂

    @ Friar – You’d probably get a few kicks out of it. I mean the jokes are for adults anyway. But maybe wait for the DVD.

    And to be fair, the talk-show stuff was just one sequence. But in general it is a very ‘talky’ movie.

    Wall-E did it so *right*. 🙂

  20. Friar


    When these animated movies first came out (~ 10-15 years ago), they were big hits, because it was a novelty Everyone went “‘Oooh, ahhh, lookit the great computer animation”.

    Now there are so many of these movies, that the novelty has worn off. (I really dont’ care to see the Chihuahua movie, for example).

    We need more than just good technical animation…It also takes a good story, and plot and character development.

    That’s something a lot of animated movie producers seem to have forgotten.

    They need to stop resting on their laurels, and focus and get back to the basics of what makes a movie great.

  21. t.sterling

    @Karen – I feel so left out since I haven’t seen Wall-E yet and I really wanted to… But DVDs should be coming out soon so maybe I can join in on the excitement.

    But yes, Happily N’ever After was the worst that I can remember. I really hope I was multitasking at the time so it wouldn’t have been a complete waste of time.

    @Friar – I really agree with you about the trend of these computer animated movies. I actually began missing the old time 2D animation that made Disney so popular. This might’ve been why I liked Lilo n Stitch so much… or maybe it was just Stitch, but maybe I’m just a fan of old school. Plus I’m a sucker for originality and blue creatures.

    In any event, the story is the most important part of a movie no matter how it’s made/animated. I can’t help but now go in with low expectations for some of these movies because I keep getting let down.

    As for that Chihuahua movie, I’d be shocked if that cracks the top 3 or 5 at the box office. And I love Chihuahuas more than a regular guy probably should, but I don’t think I’d even want to see this movie. Maybe I’m wrong and it could be pretty funny, but I’d probably wait a few months after it comes out on DVD.

  22. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Hey guys. I miss 2D too! I’m growing weary of the 3D overload.

    Let’s hope ‘the Princess and the Frog’ (2D) rocks the casbah and they keep bringing it back.

    Story is number one for me (have you noticed?). Toy Story *wasn’t* a success because of the technology. It was the story and characters. You can tell a good story with stick people as far as I’m concerned.

    And Bev. Hills doggy is live-action actually. It just has those (horrible) animated mouths on the dogs. I really don’t classify it as an animated flick. I’d only see it if my little friend wants to drag me to it (please no!).

    Mind you, I think she laughed more during that trailer than all of ‘Igor’. *sigh*

  23. kasana

    Hey Karen !
    Nice review from another perspective.
    This movie yet to be released in India….I would like to watch.
    don’t know how would be the movie… but one thing I may learn..tht what not to do in storytelling….Which I think equally important.

  24. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Kasana – Welcome! I tried not to spoil it for folks in other countries who haven’t seen it yet. Still wonder if it made *any* sense. 🙂

    @ Friar – Think that guy watches Python much??

    @ Pete – I know, I know…but the opening sequence really does a great job of telling tons of stuff in 3 minutes. Visually. 🙂


  25. steph


    You know, after seeing your hilarious illustration at Naomi’s, and having seen some of your other stuff around, AND after having read your review, I think I can say that sometimes, if you’re interested in the person and what she does, it doesn’t matter if her blog isn’t really directed at you.

    I didn’t read much here because I don’t storyboard, let alone do anything remotely related. But I adore animated films, I think you’re totally great, and I do enjoy your posts. Relevant enough for me!

    I’ve never read such a scathing review of an animated film before! 🙂 That sucks that this Igor one was so meh. Part of me is afraid to hear the underbelly of anything I might like: not having the expertise makes me blissfully unaware of most of what might suck! So don’t say anything about Ratatouille or Ice Age (especially the squirrel) or Finding Nemo or the Emperor’s New Groove…okay? 🙂

    I have yet to see Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda and I really can’t wait! Which are your faves of all time?

  26. steph

    PS. Your pic in the header always makes me laugh. Don’t take that the wrong way. It’s just that it reminds me of Elaine from Seinfeld! LOL!!!

  27. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Woo Hoo, Steph’s here!
    Thanks a bunch for dropping by and writing that. And hey, Elaine is a compliment. 🙂

    I don’t expect the ‘blog people’ to really come by here and have something to say. I write for animation folks and that’s cool. But if I do have a post here and there that can interest other people, I’m stoked.

    You’ll be happy to know I don’t have anything to bad to say about your faves. 🙂 LOVE Finding Nemo (was probably my Pixar fave until Wall-E…jury it still out though). And Emp. New Goove is great and funny.

    My all time favorites are:
    -The Lion King (for many reasons)
    -Iron Giant (known among animators…not so much among the public. SEE IT.)
    -Finding Nemo (for its simplicity of story)
    -and…you know what? I think this will be my next post. I’ll give you props. Thanks!

  28. steph

    Any time!! LOL!

    I haven’t seen the Iron Giant, but the story looks lovely, and I remember looking it up when it came out. That’s next to see on my list, then.

    It’s been years since I’ve seen The Lion King. I should watch it again to see if I can appreciate it in a different light now that i’m older and a teensy bit wise(r).

  29. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Steph – You’ll love The Iron Giant. Really.

    @ Jaden – LOVED it. Actually I didn’t really *hate* it. It just made some mistakes (that make me nuts and start me ranting… 🙂 )

    “fold movie laundry” – love that!

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