Inspector Gadget

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Inspector Gadget
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You better off watching the original 1983 cartoon and the 2003 live-action stand-alone sequel movie instead of this first 1999 live-action movie!
Genre: Action
Directed By: David Kellogg
Produced By: Roger Birnbaum
Andy Heyward
Jordan Kerner
Written By: Kerry Ehrin
Zak Penn
Kerry Ehrin
Dana Olsen
Based On: Inspector Gadget
by Bruno Bianchi
Jean Chalopin
Andy Heyward
Starring: Matthew Broderick
Rupert Everett
Joely Fisher
Michelle Trachtenberg
Mike Hagerty
Andy Dick
Cheri Oteri
Dabney Coleman
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Adam Greenberg
Distributed By: Buena Vista Pictures
Release Date: July 23, 1999
Runtime: 78 Minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $90 million
Box Office: $134.4 million
Franchise: Inspector Gadget
Sequel: Inspector Gadget 2 (2003)

Inspector Gadget is a 1999 American 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. Three new characters were introduced, Dr. Brenda Bradford (played by Joely Fisher), Mayor Wilson (played by Cheri Oteri) 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 (which was owned by The Walt Disney Company at the time of production) 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 was absorbed into Spyglass Entertainment. This film was dedicated to the memory of production designer Michael White who died on January 19, 1999 in Los Angeles during production of the film at the age of 36. The film received negative reviews from critics and fans of the original animated series with a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 4.2, and was followed by the 2003 direct-to-video stand-alone sequel Inspector Gadget 2.


John Brown (Matthew Broderick) is a bumbling but well-intentioned security guard who is badly injured in an explosion planned by an evil mastermind. He is taken to a laboratory, where Brenda (Joely Fisher), a leading robotics surgeon, replaces his damaged limbs with state-of-the-art gadgets and tools. Named "Inspector Gadget" by the press, John -- along with his niece, Penny (Michelle Trachtenberg), and her trusty dog, Brain -- uses his new powers to discover who was behind the explosion.

Bad Qualities

  1. Terrible editing. For example, in one scene there's a crook trying to escape, only for him to run and get captured in less than a second.
  2. Very poor grasp of the original source material. For instance:
    • The main antagonist, Dr. Claw, shows his face, but in the cartoons it was never revealed. Plus, his frighteningly deep voice from the cartoons has been replaced with a snooty, British accent.
    • Also, Dr. Claw has a robot claw on his hand in this movie, after he gets it, he renames himself "Claw". Wait, shouldn't "Claw" already be his last name, because according to the cartoon, his real name is George Claw? Well, in this movie, his real name is Sanford Scolex, why not just rename himself Dr. Claw?
    • The Gadgetmobile is changed from a silent car, which morphs into a sports fastback and van in the cartoon, into an annoying comic relief character in the movie.
    • Penny isn't blonde and barely helps Gadget.
  3. Terrible acting, even from actors such as Matthew Broderick and Rupert Everett, who does a poor Dr. Claw impression.
  4. Shameless product placements throughout the film (especially considering that director David Kellogg has an extensive background in commercials) which includes Yahoo!, Kodak, Tommy Hilfiger, Sony, RCA, JVC, Forbes, Gateway 2000, Nike, Energizer, Crayola, Pez, Magic 8-Ball, Coca-Cola, Surge, Sprite, McDonald's, Skittles, M&M's, Toyota, and even The Simpsons.
  5. There are cartoon sound effects used during every single second of the movie (despite the film being based on a cartoon).
  6. Sometimes, the film can get WAY too scary for children. For example: Gadget accidentally grabs a guru by the crotch so hard that the tightness of the squeezing makes his eyes pop-out to a really big size as he yells in a very shrill, extremely high-pitched Judge Doom-like shrieking voice.
  7. Unfunny jokes during the film, especially with Gadget saying "Go Go Gadget!" everytime while falling in the climax.
  8. Some scenes make no sense. For example, in one scene, Gadget says "Go Go Gadget Oil Slick!", but, for some reason, he shoots toothpaste instead. It could be that he got some glitches like in the sequel.
  9. Both Gadget and Dr. Claw behave nothing like their cartoon counterparts.
  10. The movie ends on a sort of sequel bait ending with Claw yelling "I'll get you, Gadget!"
  11. The way how Gadget captures Dr. Claw makes no sense, he disables his helicopter then Claw jumps out and opens a parachute, but then the Gadgetmobile captures Dr. Claw.
  12. Very poor directing from David Kellogg, the same director behind Cool as Ice.
  13. The movie not only being based on Inspector Gadget animated series, but it rips off better movies like Darkman (the plot for this movie was similar to that), RoboCop, Dick Tracy and The Mask as well.

Good Qualities

  1. The songs are decent, including "I’ll Be Your Everything" and a superb rendition of the Inspector Gadget theme.
  2. Some of the special effects aren't really that bad, despite some ill-execution.
  3. Richard Kiel and Mr. T make cameo appearances during the minion-recovery group scene in the credits.
  4. The mid-credits scene features Don Adams (the voice of Gadget in the cartoon) as the voice of Brain.
  5. The Gadgetmobile is fun to watch, with D.L. Hughley being a scene-stealer.


  • The role of Gadget was originally written for Kevin Kline.
  • Steven Spielberg, who was considered for executive producer, wanted either Chevy Chase or Steve Martin to play Gadget.
  • Brendan Fraser was also considered for the role of Gadget, but turned it down to work on George of the Jungle.
  • Tim Curry was considered for the role of Claw.
  • Lindsay Lohan turned down the role of Penny due to working on the remake of The Parent Trap.
  • Cameron Diaz declined the role of Brenda in favor of Any Given Sunday.
  • This was the final film to be distributed by Caravan Pictures (mentioned earlier).
  • At one point, Tom Shadyac was going to direct the film, with the Farrelly Brothers as writers, and Jim Carrey as Gadget and Willem Dafoe as Claw.
  • Before Caravan Pictures went out of business, the company distributed other films like Tall Tale, Angels in the Outfield and Gone Fishin'.

External links



8 months ago
Score 3
I like this film.


8 months ago
Score 4
So do I!


one month ago
Score 0
No, it sucks because it was being too similar to Darkman due to the plot, but it has few cool elements from the Inspector Gadget animated series, like Brain talks during the credits.

Declan Kearns

7 months ago
Score 2
I seriously hate this film because of how annoying it is. This is easily the worst and most embarrassing performance of Matthew Broderick's career. For God's sake he was better in Godzilla 1998 (while I will strongly defend his performance in that movie never will a day come in which I will defend him for this crap).


one month ago
Score 0
This movie not only being based on Inspector Gadget animated series, but it rip-offs Darkman, RoboCop, Dick Tracy and The Mask.


6 months ago
Score 1
This film was pure nightmare fuel for me. I have long since regretted the day I first saw this film with a baby sitter when I was a child.


one month ago
Score 0
Kim Possible live-action film came out 20 years after this.


26 days ago
Score 0
The sequel is definitely better than this.

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