Go go gadget! First of all, it is difficult for me to believe that this film originally came out in 1999. Knowing that I was ten at the time of its release shocks me. Okay, so I have a few issues with this film. It was difficult for me to watch. Not only because its silliness was over the top, but also because I KNOW these actors are better than their performances in this. Perhaps they were told to expose sheer craziness for their characters. Either way, I think they could have done a better job in their performances. But before I get into that, let’s discuss the actual plot a bit.
Unless you have been living under a rock, then you know this was originally a television show which aired from 1983 to 1986. I must digress for a moment to say that between DuckTales and Darkwing Duck, my brothers always had one of these blaring during our childhood. Repeats of Inspector Gadget would also boom throughout the house, which is why hearing the theme at the beginning of the film put a smile on my face, as it brought back many good memories.
Long story short, John Brown is a security guard who has big dreams of helping people through being a cop. His crush, Brenda, is working on an experiment which Sanford Scolex longs for. Scolex acquires this item and in turn, through explosions and the like, he and Brown are both severely injured, transforming them into cyborgs of a sort. John Brown turns into Inspector Gadget, giving him the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of saving lives. He discovers all sorts of nifty gadgets (no pun intended) on his newly formed mechanical body. The plot unwinds into a crazy mish mash of odds & ends which will leave any head spinning. Like most, if not all, Disney films you will watch, there is a happy ending. It just happens in a highly uncoordinated manner.
I do have to say that Scolex’s creation which is identical to Gadget, known as Robo Gadget, is absolutely disturbing. It is more disturbing than the tarantula that crawled out of his mouth, which also left me shivering. I do not know if it is Robo’s false choppers or his posture, or perhaps both of them, but this character ALMOST makes me have a fear of Matthew Broderick. However, then I think of his performances in other films like Godzilla (don’t judge me), and I’m willing to forgive and forget.
The cast was fun! Brown/Gadget (yes, I purposefully left out Robo…we shall no longer speak of this character) is played by Matthew Broderick. As I mentioned above, he starred in 1998’s Godzilla as well as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off from 1986 (you know, BUELLER….BUELLER….BUELLER), and he voiced the wonderful adult Simba in 1994’s The Lion King. Rupert Everett played Scolex. Everett has appeared in many films including My Best Friend’s Wedding (during Inspector Gadget, I kept having the urge to sing “I say a little prayer for you”…if you have seen MBFW, you will understand this reference) and provided the voice of Prince Charming in both Shrek 2 and Shrek 3. Joely Fisher played Brenda. I remember Fisher most from a TV show she starred in back in 2003-2005 called Wild Card. She has also been in many other shows including an episode of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place. I was extremely disappointed that Rene Auberjonois was in the film for such a short period of time. The man is legendary, as is his impressive name. A few other recognizable names joined the cast including Michelle Trachtenberg (Harriet the Spy, y’all), D.L. Hughley, Andy Dick, and Dabney Coleman. Oh and Cheri Oteri of Saturday Night Live fame. As I said previously, the stellar cast should have been better than the characters they were given. I’m not blaming the actors either…it could have been strictly a result of the script. I do wish it had been a more enjoyable film to watch, but alas, it was not.
The director of this film is David Kellogg. Now, I need to word this somehow nicely. Kellogg has not participated in many…family-friendly films, if you catch my drift. Therefore, this kind of makes sense as to why this film lacked some heart. It just did not seem like a Disney film, in my honest opinion. I missed much of the spirit and spontaneity which a live action Disney creation normally possesses.
The music, on the other hand, was great! I had major flashbacks during the end credits when “I’ll Be Your Everything” by Youngstown came on. Back when Disney Channel used to air shows like Rolie Polie Olie and Sister Sister, there was a music video where Youngstown sang this song as scenes from Inspector Gadget played in the background. Of course, the theme song of the film is wonderful as well.
Now that you have read my synopsis of the film, you can probably guess that I do not have a favorite character or scene, which would be correct. I did have a couple of laugh out loud moments, such as the time when Brown was in the parking lot and Scolex’s truck crashed through the building. He asks his security partner over the walkie talkie where the truck went, and she informs him to look where the big hole in the wall is. That was funny. I also chuckled when Gadget, Scolex, and Kramer momentarily broke the fourth wall at the mention of “Saturday morning cartoons.” There were a couple of cute puns as well, such as Gadget’s holding Robo’s head (forget I’m speaking of him again please) and says something to the effect that it is unfortunate he did not get out ahead (get it…a-head). Very Jungle Cruise worthy!
In a nutshell, Inspector Gadget is not a level of Beverly Hills Chihuahua horrible. It is just kind of bad. It leaves you wanting more and as I said above, it lacks spirit and heart. Some of the jokes are funny, but the script and directing could have been better. Matthew Broderick’s high level of adorability could not even save this film. Honestly, I do not think I would bother seeing this one. I love all of the actors involved, so I would recommend checking out their other work instead.
My Rating: 1.5/5
Don’t push my buttons without reading the manual.