Inspector Gadget is a 1999 live-action film based on the popular animated cartoon series Inspector Gadget. It starred Matthew Broderick as the title character, along with Rupert Everett as Dr. Claw, and Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny. Two new characters were introduced, Brenda Bradford (Joely Fisher) and the Gadgetmobile (D.L. Hughley). This film was produced by Caravan Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures, and distributed by Buena Vista Distribution. It was filmed almost entirely in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the iconic ice castle-like main tower of PPG Place playing a central role.
Plot synopsis (SPOILERS)
John Brown is a security guard for robotics expert Brenda Bradford. Sanford Scolex attacks the lab, killing Brenda’s father and stealing valuable equipment for “the Gadget Program.” John, who is smitten with Brenda, gives chase. The ensuing car crash brings a confrontation with Scolex, who uses an explosive to blow up John and his car. A bowling ball in the backseat of said car flies into the air and through the sunroof of Scolex’s limo, crushing his hand. John is rushed to intensive care, with Brenda feeling that he is ‘the perfect candidate’ for the Gadget Program.
John is rebuilt using cybernetic parts (ala The Six Million Dollar Man), and is dubbed ‘Inspector Gadget’. The woman behind the procedure is Brenda herself, who explains that such a thing was the entire purpose of the Gadget Program. Unfortunately, the hardware and software that now make up John’s body are extremely complex, and he lacks the patience to study the instruction manual (“volume 1″ is literally two feet thick) and hence has difficulty controlling his gadgets. Meanwhile, Scolex has built a new, mechanical claw as his hand, and dubs himself ‘Claw’ (saying that it needs to be “…one word, like Madonna”). He then proceeds to build an android from the equipment stolen, but it refuses to function. The reason is that an integral control chip was left behind, and without it, the equipment is useless. Scolex hires Brenda as his worker (expressing feelings for her in the process), and is amused to discover that John is the ‘lucky duck they plucked for the Gadget Program’.
John investigates and discovers that Scolex was indeed that man behind the crime. But upon sneaking into Scolex Industries, he is kidnapped, and Scolex takes his control chip and destroys it, leaving John for all intents and purposes, dead (since his body, now more machine than human, needs the chip to function). Scolex sends RoboGadget, an android clone of John, to destroy the city and get John blamed for it, while dumping Gadget’s body in the dump. Brenda realizes Scolex murdered her father, and races to save John. Kissing his cheek, John miraculously comes to life, and, as Penny says, has the heart to move: with that, the chip doesn’t matter.
After a chase through the city between the GadgetMobile and Scolex’s equally tricked out limo, John battles RoboGadget, who, despite his gadget being geared towards combat than detective work, quite literally, loses his head (it actually falls off after John pulls a pin out of the back of RoboGadget’s neck, and John tosses it in the river). Activating his trademark Helicopter Hat, John flies to the roof of Scolex Industries, where Scolex is preparing to make his escape and with Brenda captive. After John disables the ‘copter’, both crash to the plaza below, where police await to arrest John for all RoboGadget’s crimes. Penny arrives with Sikes, a reformed minion of Scolex, who confesses the entire plan. Chief Quimby clears Gadget of all charges, and Scolex is arrested.
- Matthew Broderick as Officer John Brown / Inspector Gadget / RoboGadget
- Rupert Everett as Dr. Sanford Scolex / Dr. Claw
- Joely Fisher as Dr. Brenda Bradford / RoboBrenda
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny
- Don Adams as Brain (Voice)
- Cheri Oteri as Mayor Wilson
- Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby
- Andy Dick as Kramer
- Mike Hagerty as Sikes (as Michael G. Hagerty)
- D.L. Hughley as Gadgetmobile (voice)
- Rene Auberjonois as Dr. Artemus Bradford
Gadget is no longer bumbling and clueless (except in the beginning of the movie); Gadget does detective work and solves the case. Penny, who is the real brains of the family in the cartoon, does her part to help and is a secondary character in the film. Brain is an ordinary dog in the film; in the cartoon he is a talented canine capable of donning disguises.
The movie spawned a direct-to-video sequel, IG2. The sequel did even worse; fans, in a bizarre paradox compared to response to the first film, claimed the sequel failed because it is too much like the cartoon. The character, G2, a female robot Gadget, is introduced, to the spite of fans. Gadget once again becomes clueless, and Dr. Claw’s face is never seen. In addition, Brenda Bradford vanishes, and all characters are portrayed by different actors, with French Stewart (Third Rock from the Sun) in the role of Gadget. The only exception to this was D. L. Hughley as the voice of the Gadgetmobile.
DiC Entertainment released an animated movie, Gadget’s Last Case in 2002. Certain elements were maintained from the films, such as the bitter Chief Quimby and the Gadgetmobile, but Claw remains “unseen” in his original form, instead he uses a disguise to become more active in the movie and to show up and discredit Gadget as a superior law enforcer. Maurice LaMarche voiced Gadget here. The animation style would be adapted for Gadget and the Gadgetinis, where major changes again shook up the Gadget franchise
In the film, the following gadgets are seen, used by Inspector Gadget.
Gadget Airbag: Gadget’s coat inflates with air. Destroyed by RoboGadget.
Gadget Arms/Gadget Legs/Gadget Neck: Gadget’s arms/legs/neck stretch to amazing length. His legs are shown to contain spring mechanisms to increase his stride.
Gadget Balloon Inflator: A balloon appears from yet another of Gadget’s fingers, and inflates itself.
Gadget ‘Blades: Roller skates appear from Gadget’s shoes.
Gadget Bubble Blower: A bubble wand appears from one of Gadget’s fingers and blows bubbles without the need for any sort of wind.
Gadget Breath Freshener: A breath spray sprays from Gadget’s pinky finger.
Gadget Chopper: Also called Gadget ‘Copter, a helicopter propeller emerges from Gadget’s hat. Destroyed by Sanford Scolex.
Gadget Ear: Gadget’s ear pops off and attaches to an object. Gadget remains connected to the ear via a yellow cable, and can still hear through it.
Gadget Grappling Hook: A grappling hook fires from Gadget’s hat.
Gadget Hand: An extra hand appears out of the top of Gadget’s hat. Chopped off by RoboGadget’s twin scythes.
Gadget Helicopter: 1 propeller comes from Gadget’s hat.
Gadget Hat: The black band on Gadget’s hat displays a flashing heart, as well as Miranda Rights
Gadget Hooker Cleaner: A vacuum cleaner that cleans up the evidence.
Gadget Lightbulb: A lightbulb sprouts from Gadget’s hat while he thinks.
Gadget Lighter: A lighter lights within Gadget’s thumb.
Gadget Loudspeaker: A microphone for an unseen loudspeaker appears over Gadget’s mouth.
Gadget Magnifying Glass: A magnifying glass drops from Gadget’s hat over his eyes. It can increase the magnification to 3 levels.
Gadget Oil Slick: A tube sprouts from underneath Gadget’s arm, and fires oil. But oddly enough, it actually fires toothpaste (despite the fact it is still activated by the phrase ‘Go Go Gadget oil slick’)
Gadget Parasol: A parasol unfurls from Gadget’s hat.
Gadget Pen: A pen emerges from one of Gadget’s fingers.
Gadget Pez Dispenser: A Pez Dispenser pops up from Gadget’s finger.
Gadget Phone: Another trademark gadget, Gadget’s hand becomes a telephone. He speaks into the pinky, and hears through the thumb. It also has its own phone number.
Gadget Rocket: Gadget’s shoe opens at the toe, and fires a rocket, leaving some fans to actually call it the “Gadget T.O.E. Missile” a play on words of the actual Military issue shoulder fired missile.
Gadget Scissors: A pair of scissors pops out from Gadget’s finger. It can snip itself via a spring mechanism.
Gadget Skis: Skis appear from Gadget’s shoes. Destroyed during a chase, as the friction of a road was too much for the skis.
Gadget Spanish Translation: Translates ‘Sí’ to ‘Yes’. It is possible the Gadget Translation gadget can translate languages other than Spanish, but this is not seen.
Gadget Suction Shoes: Suction cups pop out from the soles of Gadget’s shoes. They are amazingly powerful, and able to suspend Gadget from the ceiling for an extended period of time.
Gadget Toothpaste: Toothpaste squirts from Gadget’s finger. Gadget once covered himself and Brenda with more than a gallon of toothpaste when learning how to use his new body.
The following gadgets belong to RoboGadget. Since he was built by Dr. Claw, his gadgets focus on various types of weapons as opposed to Gadget’s gadgets being used for crime fighting and police work.
Gadget Flamethrower: A flamethrower appears on his head, and fires high-powered flames.
Gadget Guns: Twin machine guns replace RoboGadget’s hands.
Gadget Hammer: A wooden hammer, it is not seen where it appears on RoboGadget’s body.
Gadget Legs: The same as Gadget’s Gadget Legs, they can extend. It is not seen if RoboGadget can extend his arms/neck as well.
Gadget Scythes: Scythe-like blades replace RobotGadget’s hands.
Gadget Tarantula: A tarantula crawls out of RoboGadget’s mouth.
The Gadgetmobile is designed by Brenda Bradford based on a 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible. Among other things, it can camouflage itself, has a radar system to track Gadget’s location (and other people as well), can extend its tires upwards, and has a powerful engine. It also has a talking personality. The Gadgetmobile openly breaks the law constantly (it is a particular fan of backturns), but claims it’s okay: “Speed limits are for cars, not the Gadgetmobile”.
Inspector Gadget Movie 2
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