I'm sure everyone here remembers watching Nickelodean's INSPECTOR GADGET cartoon series, with none other than Inspector Gadget himself along with his neice Penny and pet dog Brain. I distinctly remember reading the VCR manual in order to learn how to pre-set recording times, so that I can tape my favorite cartoon show while I'm at school. What a wonderful time that was! Dr. Claw was always there with his ugly cat and Inspector Gadget would always take an assignment and self-destruct it in the face of the police chief. In addition, the show also included a super catchy theme song that goes, "bum de dum de bum bum dum de dum dum"... well, you know how it goes. All in all, the cartoon series created a tremendous gathering of fans both children and young adults alike, as it combined witty entertainment along with a neat little moral story at the end of each show.
Fast forward to 1999, when Disney first announced their plan to make "Uncle Gadget" into a movie. Not an animation, a real-life movie played by Matthew Broderick. Everything we have known and love from the old cartoon series will be included, but instead of being animated, will succumb to modern computer rendering. Sounds like a good idea? You betcha. How'd it turn out? Erm... not so good.
The story starts off around a mild-mannered laboratory security guard named John Brown that has a crush on Dr. Bradford. Then Dr. Scolex of Scolex Industries strike, as he rams a remote controlled vehicle into Bradford's laboratory, kills Dr. Bradford's father, and steals all her data and research. John Brown, being the hero-wannabe character he is, vows to avenge his crush as he chases after Scolex's limo with his own... erm... hatchback rabbit. One thing leads to another as Scolex fires his artillery from the limo at John Brown which flips his car. Within the car was a bowling ball, that flew out of the vehicle after being struck by the artillery, and with amazing accuracy, falls through the moonroof of the limo and smashes Scolex's left hand.
Are you still with me here? Okay. So Scolex no longer has a left hand, so his laboratory assistant creates a metal "claw" for him. Lo and behold, the infamous Dr. Claw is none other than Mr. Scolex minus a left hand. Remember in the old cartoons, we would NEVER see Dr. Claw's face, like we never see the face of Wilson in Home Improvement. This movie version's Dr. Claw was played by Rupert Everett, and thus immediately DESTROYS the integrity of the big bad guy that Inspector Gadget hunts down in every episode in the cartoon.
So anyways, John Brown is a tattered mass of human flesh after his encouter with Scolex (now Claw). Dr. Bradford is very touched that John Brown would actually sacrifice his life for her research and stuff, so she decides that she will implement the new "Gadget project" on John Brown. Thus, the mechanical surgeons get down to work as they pull hoses and wrenches etc. into and out of him. The process saves his life, but now makes him part man, part machine. Mild-mannered security guard no more, John Brown has been transformed into Inspector Gadget.
Personally, I find the entire sequence of needing an introduction to how Dr. Claw or Inspector Gadget came along very annoying. In the cartoons, nothing was ever explained. Inspector Gadget just went out there and kicked butt, while Claw makes miraculous escapes time after time. First of all, the concept of John Brown and Dr. Scolex just kinda rubs me the wrong way. Things just... aren't the same. Plus, Penny doesn't call him "Uncle Gadget", she calls him "Uncle John". Even after his transformation, she addresses him the same way. I know this sounds nitpicky, but if you were a hardcore Inspector Gadget fan like I was, you would complain too.
Numerous other flaws I didn't like was that Penny's all-in-wonder computer book was missing, and Brain was played by a real dog, therefore didn't have those neat microphone thingies that pop out of his neck when Penny and Brain communicate to save the life of their Uncle Gadget. All Penny did was talk the security guard of Scolex Industries into giving up evidence. Very lame. Brain chewed out the boxer shorts of Dr. Claw, which was a little more entertaining, but still cannot compare to the cartoon's OG style.
Well, after John Brown was transformed, he was inducted into the Police force by the city mayor, against the will and wishes of the police chief. The police chief makes him do little mundane tasks such as save kitties from tall trees or hold stop signs as children walk across the street afterschool. Gadget longs to avenge the murder of Dr. Bradford's father, and thus gets into an argument with the police chief about his duties. Meanwhile, Dr. Claw is hard at work in his laboratory as he creates a clone of Gadget, the evil gadget known as Robo-Gadget. Aaaalrighty then. Robo-Gadget proceeds to destroy the town and make the REAL gadget look like a bad guy. Blah blah blah, insert standard and predictable plot here. Finally, Claw kidnaps Dr. Bradford and it's up to Inspecter Gadget to save her and bring him to justice. Yay. Go go gadget YAWN!!
I realize I can go on and on about the inconsistencies that the movie had with the cartoon, etc., but now I choose to look at the bright side of the movie. There was the gadget mobile, that happens to talk and have a personality of its own. It was funny in the beginning, but got annoying really fast. Hm... what else. You realize I'm squeezing every ounce of my brain juices to think of SOMETHING good to say about this movie. Well, I suppose you can say that Gadget had some neat gizmos, but after watching the special effects offered by THE PHANTOM MENACE, I just couldn't work myself up to be excited about this movie's special effects.
Disappointing? You can say that. I was thinking if I was about 10 years younger, I maybe would have enjoyed the movie more. But now that I think about it, all the things that bother me now would've bothered me 10 years ago also. Now, I realize that this movie is supposed to be for little kiddies, so maybe I'm unnecessarily harsh. I concede that kindergardeners that have never seen the glory of the original Inspector Gadget would find the movie very "wizard" and "cowabunga awesome". However, the majority of Rice World audiences are OVER the age of 10, and my duty as a reviewer is to inform you guys to SAVE YOUR MONEY!
INSPECTOR GADGET should have went straight to video. It would have done more good there, because you can buy it for your little cousin and raid his house to watch it with him or her. It would make a good birthday present, and it would make you popular with your little cousin. Showing the movie on the big screen was a waste of money. I cannot count the number of times that I groaned in agony due to the incredibly boring and disappointing experience. Use the five dollars worth of a ticket on arcades or on lap dancers, but not INSPECTOR GADGET.
Overall Rating: D- (a