Movie Review

Inspector Gadget

MPAA Rating: PG for wacky violence/action, language and innuendo.

Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Children to Adult
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
80 min.
PG

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Rupert Everett, Joely Fisher, Michelle Trachtenberg | Director: David Kellogg | Released by: Disney

This zany movie is yet another remake of a former TV show (cartoon series). Those who watch it will either love it or hate it. Few, if any, will be middle of the road. I found it delightfully charming! The main ingredient for me was that it retained many of the features that my daughter loved so much as a child. Even though she’s 22, I still want to take her to see this movie. I know she will enjoy it, too.

All the characters that she grew up with are there. The buffoonery, the off-the-wall humor, the clumsiness of our hero and the you-gotta-like him attitude still prevails. The only real changes that were made are: 1. We now see Dr. Claw’s face, 2. Dr. Claw is wearing a metallic claw, instead of his steel glove and 3. Penny does not show her keen ability to pull Inspector Gadget out of his “new” dilemmas.

In the theater that I attended, the children were laughing and having a good time. Afterwards, you could hear them singing the tune and bouncing up and down at the sound “Hoo-Hoo”. —Go see the show, you’ll know what I’m talking about—

One of the benefits of “Inspector Gadget”, the movie, is that we learn how Inspector Gadget, the man (a.k.a. John Brown [Matthew Broderick, “Addicted to Love”, “Godzilla”]) was transformed from a security guard into the clumsy, semi-robotic cop that we’ve all come to love and enjoy. We also learn the reason for Dr. Claw’s metallic hand (or claw, as the case may be).

For those who may not have seen the Inspector Gadget cartoon series, let me give you a brief rundown of the movie’s plot. John Brown, while on assignment (as a security guard) to the Bradford Robotics Laboratory, attempts to rescue materials that were stolen from the lab. Hot on the trail of the culprit, the evil billionaire Sanford Scolex (Rupert Everett, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”), John foolishly tries to pull over the suspect and winds up losing control of his car. Scolex, seizing the opportunity, blows up our hero’s car (leaving him for dead). Brenda (Joely Fisher, “The Mask”), the daughter of a brilliant scientist, Artemus Bradford (Rene Auberjonois), utilizes the work of her father and reconstructs John into the half-man/half-robot that we know as Inspector Gadget.

Immediately, Riverton’s mayor (Cheri Oteri, “Liar, Liar”) announces to the city that Inspector Gadget had been inducted to the police force. While, Chief Quimby (Dabney Coleman, “You’ve Got Mail”, does all he can to humiliate this new rookie. Meanwhile, John teams up with his new partner, the highly, technologically advanced super-car (a 1963 Lincoln convertible that performs like the KITT car of Knight Rider [TV]; but acts and sounds like a street rapping, blues singing, hip-hop car of the 90's—which, by the way is the voice of D.H. Hughley).

The fun is in watching Inspector Gadget learn how to use his new powers and abilities. Of course, in the movie version, they’ve added a new twist. The villain creates a duplicate Inspector Gadget who terrorizes the city and forces the real Inspector Gadget to clear his good name.

While the movie is good fun and a show for the family, there are some scenes that you should be aware of. In one scene, Inspector Gadget is learning how to utilize his arm to its fullest. While trying to reach the two balls, which are sitting on the floor, he inadvertently grabs a guru in the crotch, who then talks in a high-pitched tone and later is seen with a bag of ice on his crotch. In another scene, we find the good inspector with his pants down (in his underwear). While I thought it was a bit overdone, it is nothing more than one would see on TV. And finally, Penny (Michelle Trachtenberg, “Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish”), Inspector Gadget’s niece, finds the inspector’s body lying on a trash heap, as if dead. Most children will not find this frightening or appalling; but younger one’s may have a hard time with it. You decide!

Year of Release—1999

Viewer Comments
I Loved It! My Kids Loved It! My Husband Loved It! It was so refreshing to take my children to a movie and not keep saying “that’s a bad word, don’t repeat it.” My 4 yr old did not have a problem with any of the scenes; he was glued to the screen. I plan on buying it when it comes out. It was definitely Entertainment. Why can’t Disney make more like this?
—Regina Davison, age 30-something
I thought it was a fun kinda movie. The kids laughed a lot, I even laughed and heard my husband laugh. What bothers me is that they always gotta put some kind of sexual perversion in movies. Its nothing of a big deal, but it’s like so uneccesary. The part I’m referring to is when she bends over and Inspector Gadget starts making monkey sounds because he got excited. We already know at this point that he’s in love with her, why make it that he’s in lust with her. I don’t know—that just bothered me. And as far as the violence goes… I think they could have lightened up on it up a teeny bit more. But overall it was good. Not as great as Tarzan—but it was good.
—Angelite, age 33
This film’s been getting a lot of bad reviews from the press. Mostly from people who fondly remember the cartoon. I took my family to see it the other day (none of us have so much as watched a single episode of the cartoon) and we had a great time. It’s a lot of fun, and there’s almost nothing to be concerned about from a Christian perspective. It’s just a fun, silly story.
—Tim Blaisdell, age 35
I loved it!!!… Inspector Gadget was the cartoon I grew up on. It was also my favorite cartoon. Anyway, despite some of the cornyness of the movie, it was the same old Inspector Gadget I came to know and love way back when. My only complaint is that Don Adams should have done the voice of Gadget (hey, they did it for Darth Vader). I was happy to hear his voice in the credits however (though I could see the confused looks on many faces in the theatre of people who never saw the cartoon). All in all, I recommend this movie for all who grew up with Inspector Gadget, or just for kids in general!
—Drew Costen, age 22
I loved this movie. It was absolutely hilarious. I used to watch the cartoon when I was little so the movie brought back some memories. Although they could have done more with this movie, I was still very happy with what I saw. Be sure to stay for the credits. They show some hilarious clips.
—Dawn, age 15
When my wife and I took our kids to see Inspector Gadget and we were a little concerned it would have questionable content and we usually like to read a review here before we take our kids. Well, we took a chance and were pleasantly surprised. This movie was just plain FUN! It reminded me of the Disney made movies back in the 70's. Simple and fun. If you grew up watching the cartoon you MUST see this. The only drawback this movie had was when I got home I was feeling incomplete as a person and was wishing I had gadgets that would pop out of MY head! :) Especially the gadget chopper!
—Brad Albert, age 34
This movie was absolutely horrible! I couldn’t believe how bad it was! I was a fan of the original cartoon show and I was extremely disappointed with this movie. The movie retained very FEW elements from the old cartoon. And worst of all!!! They show Dr.Claw’s face! And he is a regular human being! Not to say that he shouldn’t have been, but it could have been more of a mystery than they made it. This movie was not only un-funny, it seemed like Matthew Broderick shouldn’t have even been involved in the movie! It just didn’t seem right. In the theater I was in, very few laughs came out. What a complete waste of time!
—Ronald Coley, age 24
“objectionable elements missing from your review”
I believe I must fall into category #2. I didn’t like the movie. In my opinion, there are a number of objectionable elements missing from your review. There are several violent scenes in the first minutes of the movie as a scientist/father is murdered, and the villain’s hand is crushed—of course, being a kid’s movie we don’t really SEE these actual events, but we see the immediate aftermath and hear the attending cries/screams. The “evil Inspector” is also extemely cruel and destructive. Setting fire to an elderly man’s beard (?!? Kid’s movie?) This last, reported in the news… at least we don’t have to witness this brutality. There is also a bouncy, immodestly dressed robotic copy of the female scientist. I also wondered at the idea of “creating” this Inspector Gadget while the man himself has no say, gives no permission, etc. I am sure this concept will escape most of the younger kids in the audience, but the Inspector himself voices his displeasure at being made “this way.” All presumptions are swept away by the female scientist and, of this, we hear no more. In all other respects, I found the movie rather boring (translate: inane), not a charming or endearing romp down memory lane. As always, parents should see the movie first, then decide if it is a valuable stewardship of your children’s time. Hoo-Hoo .
—MLF, age 41