Time for another “Flashback Review.” In the year 1983, an animated cartoon called “Inspector Gadget” aired during a period when 80’s animated shows becoming cult classics. Inspector Gadget was probably the first cyborg police officer before Robocop or Ghost In The Shell were created.
The premise of the show is about the incompetent crime fighting detective attempting to foil his arch enemy Dr. Claw, from succeeding his evil schemes with the help of his car Gadgetmobile, his niece Penny, and his dog Brain. The series went on to spawn a short lived spin-off called “Inspector Gadget’s Firld Trip,” a C.G.I. reboot of the original cartoon on Netflix.
In 1999, (same year Toy Story 2 came out) Disney released the live action film adaptation starring Matthew Broderick as Inspector Gadget. The film went on to become a moderate box office success, however several critics and fans of the cartoon disliked it.
If you’re reading this article, beware there will be SPOILERS, read at your own risk.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: The Gadgetmobile (voiced by D.L. Hughley) was the only professional character in this film. At least he tried to save this movie.
Dabney Coleman (voice of Principal Prickly from Recess) plays Chief Quimby. He looks like Dr. Phil.
Don Adams, (the original voice of Inspector Gadget from the cartoon) has a voice over cameo.
The late Stan Winston (Terminator series, Iron Man) provided animatronics.
Smash Mouth’s “All Star” is played in one scene. The song was also used in “Mystery Men,” it also came out in 1999.
Negative: Matthew Broderick & Rupert Everett didn’t do so well for their portrayals as Gadget & Claw.
Zak Penn co-wrote the script. He’s the same writer who nearly destroyed Hulk & Wolverine’s reputation. Care to explain Ang Lee’s Hulk & “X-Men Origins: Wolverine?”
To many extreme close-up shots. What the heck is this “Baby Geniuses?”
Most of the gadgets are useless. They’re not intimidating or practical enough to apprehend a suspect.
Unlike the cartoon, both Gadget & Claw have true identities. Gadget’s name is John Brown & Claw’s name is Sanford Scolex,
Claw has two incompetent henchmen. One of them played by Andy Dick who look like the blonde kid from “Meet The Robinsons.”
Dr. Claw’s face is exposed. In the cartoon, his face is always offscreen. They’ve ruined his personality by making him way over the top. It’s like Judge Dredd taking off his helmet. Oh wait, Sly Stallone already did!
Product Placement is exposed on the Gadgetmobile such as M&M’s, Skittles, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Surge, Sharper Image and I’m not making this up, McDonald’s. McDonald’s made a deal with Disney to tie-in the film with Gadget as a collectible toy as part of a Happy Meal. I remember collecting parts to complete Gadget in full form.
How did Disney get away with the “obtaining the balls” scene? I feel bad for a guru looks like Jesus, got his “assets” squeezed. He was the only character I cared about besides The Gadgetmobile. No I understand why Jesus died for our sins, Inspector Gadget.
An evil duplicate of Gadget is way over the top and annoying than the actual Gadget. Makes you want to punch his Hollywood teeth or pearly whites.
Dr. Claw’s original motivation was to steal a microchip, so he can use it to create a duplicate of the love interest, but the duplicate turned out to be obnoxious like Gadget’s evil twin.
Poor fight sequence involving Gadget and his evil duplicate. I would’ve preferred any fighting game with two players playing the exact same character.
How did Gadget manage to reboot himself with out the microchip required to keep him alive? It’s like removing Darth Vader’s life support system!
Gadget’s love interest Brenda, brings Gadget back to life with a kiss. This ain’t “Snow White” when The Prince brings her back to life, despite the fact they don’t know each other personally.
Disney crossed the line when they had the guts to spoof “Godzilla.” Oh dear lord! Matthew Broderick was in that god awful 1998 remake. You know the line, “That’s a lot of fish?”
An optional con if you’re an arachnophobe like me, there’s a tarantula in this film used as a weapon. Why is Disney trying to provoke arachnophobes since “Jungle 2 Jungle?”
Endless post-credits scenes which have nothing to do with setting future installments. Marvel is far more superior on planning post-credits scenes to set up future installments.
The Final Verdict: F as in FAKER!
This movie along with the 1998 version of Godzilla killed Matthew Broderick’s career. This picture doesn’t deserve to be made for fans of the cartoon. If you want a proper version of Inspector Gadget, try out the most recent one on Netflix.
P.S. Nostalgia Critic/Doug Walker if you’re reading this? You’re one of my inspirations of becoming a movie critic. I didn’t try to replicate your own words on this review you once did. I did the best I can not to imitate your work. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve never put reviews on my website in the first place.