Inspector Gadget (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Kellogg|
|Produced by||Roger Birnbaum
|Screenplay by||Kerry Ehrin
|Story by||Dana Olsen
|Based on||Inspector Gadget
by Andy Heyward
D. L. Hughley
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Alan Cody
Gerald B. Greenberg (Uncredited)
|Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Running time||78 minutes|
Inspector Gadget is a 1999 live-action action-comedy film loosely based on the 1983 animated cartoon series of the same name. It starred Matthew Broderick as the title character, along with Rupert Everett as Dr. Claw, Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny, and Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby. Two new characters were introduced, Brenda Bradford (played by Joely Fisher) and the Gadgetmobile (voiced by D. L. Hughley). The film tells the story of how Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw came to be in the cartoon.
The film was produced by Caravan Pictures and DIC Entertainment and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Los Angeles, California, with the ice castle-like main tower of Pittsburgh's PPG Place playing a central role. This was the last film produced by Caravan Pictures before it absorbed into Spyglass Entertainment. The film was followed by the 2003 direct-to-video sequel Inspector Gadget 2.
John Brown (Matthew Broderick) works as a security guard at the laboratory run by robotics scientist Brenda Bradford (Joely Fisher) and her father Artemus in Riverton, Ohio while wishing to join the Riverton Police Department, with support from his niece Penny. Brenda and Artemus create a lifelike robotic foot which they can control through thought as a prototype for the Gadget Program. However, tycoon Sanford Scolex (Rupert Everett) attacks the lab, kills Artemus and steals the foot in his plan to replicate the technology, create an army of machines and eventually conquer the world. John chases Scolex but his Chevrolet Chevette is turned upside down due to some oil slick from the tycoon's limo, SCOLEX 1. (This also causes a Yahoo! billboard to fall on top of SCOLEX 1.) Scolex mockingly throws a "victory cigar" (dynamite in disguise) right beside John's car, causing it to blow up, and leaving Brown barely alive with extensive tissue damage. However, the explosion causes a bowling ball from the car to fly up in the air and crush Scolex's left hand. Brenda decides to turn John into a completely cybernetic man using a computer chip which powers John’s in-built gadgetry.
Meanwhile, Scolex's paranoid assistant Kramer builds a robotic claw to replace his boss's hand, with Scolex calling himself Claw. Afterwards, he tries to move a robot with the stolen equipment, but this fails. When chief henchman Sykes calls it a lemon, Scolex has him try it on as well, but this fails too (frying Sykes) and Scolex concludes that he needs Brenda's help.
John, now with the name of “Inspector Gadget”, joins the police much to the irritation of Chief Quimby. Accompanied by his talking, intelligent car, the "Gadgetmobile", he is forced to do community service assignments. Gadget is diappointed with his mediocre work and decides to take up the Bradford case in secret and with help from Penny and Gadgetmobile. Scolex, meanwhile, completes an evil replica of the inspector, named RoboGadget, and powers him with a chip similar to Gadget's own chip, then sends him out to terrorize the city. Gadget realizes Scolex may be endangering Brenda after establishing a connection to some evidence from the crime (the letters "S.I" matched the initials on a truck labeled "Scolex Industries"). Brenda learns from RoboBrenda (a ditzy, empty-headed duplicate Scolex keeps around) that Scolex murdered her father. Gadget sneaks into Scolex's lair but is captured. Scolex "kills" Gadget by removing and crushing his computer chip, before dumping him in a junkyard.
RoboGadget goes on a rampage across the city, whilst Brenda, Penny, her dog Brain and Gadgetmobile come across Gadget in the junkyard. Brenda manages to revive Gadget by kissing him, proving that although mechanical, he still has a human heart. The group rushes to Riverton to stop Scolex and RoboGadget. John confronts RoboGadget and they battle across a bridge until John pulls a cord on his counterpart’s neck, causing his head to fall off, which the inspector throws into the nearby river, whilst RoboGadget’s body runs off.
Later, Brenda is taken captive by Scolex who attempts to make his escape in a helicopter. Gadget appears, using his helicopter hat, but is shot down and suspended from the landing gear of Scolex’s helicopter above the city. Gadget launches a pen into the helicopter's cockpit and hits the shutdown button on Scolex's claw, crushing the controls. Gadget and Brenda escape, using an umbrella to sail safely to the ground. Claw follows but is caught by the Gadgetmobile. The police arrive and although they think Gadget is responsible for the recent attacks, Penny appears with Sykes who hands over the robotic foot to Chief Quimby, and tell him of Scolex's creation of RoboGadget to terrorize Riverton. As Gadget and Brenda walk away, Scolex yells out as the police take him into custody, "Arrivederci, Gadget! This is not goodbye. I'll get you next time, Gadget! I'll get you!". At the end, Gadget launches fireworks from his right foot while Gadgetmobile chases a red Volkswagen.
During the closing credits, RoboBrenda is shown teaching "robo-aerobics", RoboGadget's body is running around town still without his head, Sykes is being congratulated at a minion-recovery group, Penny is now equipped with a watch trying to make contact with Brain (when Brain responds, he uses Don Adams' voice from the original cartoon), and finally, the Gadgetmobile's computer screen thanks us for watching his movie, even though it's called "Inspector Gadget". He says that he got married to the Volkswagen at a drive-through chapel and they are expecting a small car soon. He's thinking of calling it "The Love Bug", which he says is in no way a plug for his employer, the Walt Disney Company, even though he's sure the young one will say, "I'm going to Disneyland!" when he's old enough. Lastly, he asks the audience not to leave the theater yet, as all the people in the credits make him look good. In the post-credits scene, he asks the audience to leave the theater, and says "Good night, Riverton!"
- Matthew Broderick as John "Inspector Gadget" Brown/RoboGadget
- Rupert Everett as Sanford "Claw" Scolex
- Joely Fisher as Dr. Brenda Bradford/RoboBrenda
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny
- Don Adams as the voice of "Brain"
- D. L. Hughley as the voice of the Gadgetmobile
- Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby
- Cheri Oteri as Mayor Wilson
- Andy Dick as Kramer
- Michael G. Hagerty as Sykes
- René Auberjonois as Dr. Artemus Bradford
- Frances Bay as Thelma
- J.P. Manoux as the Mayor's assistant
- Brian George as the Sore Guru
During the "Minions Anonymous" scene in the credits, the henchmen include Mr. T and Richard Kiel (who is credited as the "Famous Bad Guy with Silver Teeth", in reference to his role of James Bond's enemy Jaws), as well as Richard Lee-Sung as the "Famous Villain with Deadly Hat", Bobby Bell as the "Famous Identifier of Sea Planes", Hank Barrera as the "Famous Native American Sidekick", and Keith Morrison as the "Famous Assistant to Dr. Frankensomething". Broderick and Coleman previously worked together in the film WarGames.
The Gadgetmobile, designed by Brenda Bradford, is a 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible instead of a Matra Murena car from the cartoon, and has an artificial intelligence with a male persona. Among other things, "he" can camouflage himself, has a radar system to track Gadget's location (and other people as well), can extend his tires upwards, has retractable jail bars in his back seat for transporting criminals, and has a powerful engine he keeps in his back trunk. His artificial intelligence also has a laid-back personality. The Gadgetmobile openly breaks the law constantly (he is a particular fan of backturns), but claims it's okay: "Speed limits are for cars, not the Gadgetmobile." Comedian D. L. Hughley provides his voice.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics and viewers alike, criticizing the differences from the show itself. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 21%, based on 62 reviews, with the consensus reading: "Despite an abundance of eyecandy, the film doesn't amount to much." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 36 out of 100, based on 22 reviews.
Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times stated that it "wastes a lot of good talent". In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert said that fans were angered when Dr. Claw reveals himself in the movie.
Despite the negative reception from critics, the film was a moderate box office success with a worldwide gross of $134.4 million worldwide on a budget of $75 million. It made $75.9 million in its first four weeks. In the UK, it grossed just over £7 million.
- "Inspector Gadget (1999) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- "Inspector Gadget (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (July 23, 1999). "FILM REVIEW; The Adventures of a Justice-Seeking Gizmo". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- Roger Ebert (July 23, 1999). "Inspector Gadget". rogerebert.com.
- "Movies; Branded Into the Scenery; Commentary: Advertising is so much a part of life that it's understandable to find familiar products in films. But sometimes it goes too far.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
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- Official website
- Inspector Gadget at the Internet Movie Database
- Inspector Gadget at Rotten Tomatoes
- Inspector Gadget at AllMovie
- Inspector Gadget at Box Office Mojo