In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_9gm3ll8jmttmc3w4bmnmcurldl8

Guardians of the Galaxy

In many respects, “Guardians,” directed and co-written by indie wit James Gunn, and starring buffed-up former schlub Chris Pratt and Really Big Sci-Fi Blockbuster vet…

Thumb_5tzuowodx4f3ngozwzozwmdy9ze

War Story

Director Mark Jackson’s drama is a chilly study in grief starring Catherine Keener as a war-zone photographer shattered by her experiences in Libya.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Life Itself Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Inspector Gadget

  |  

"Inspector Gadget" was an afternoon TV cartoon in the 1980s, much-loved by some, unseen by me, which has now inspired a high-tech live-action retread that has Gadget fans on the Internet furious because, apparently, they do not want to see the face of Dr. Claw. If Dr. Claw went unseen in the cartoon, their reasoning goes, it is no consolation that he is brought to life here by Rupert Everett. One person who might agree with them is Rupert Everett himself, who was on a winning streak until this movie came along.

Matthew Broderick stars, first as a security guard named John Brown, then as a bionic supercop named Inspector Gadget: "Columbo and Nintendo all rolled into one," quips Police Chief Quimby (Dabney Coleman).

Broderick also plays an anti-Gadget look-alike, the bad guy RoboGadget, who impersonates the inspector and sets half the city on fire in an attempt to discredit him.

The gimmick with Gadget is that he has been equipped with a body, a suit and (especially) a hat that are all stuffed with gadgets. All he has to say is "Go-go gadget" and then name the gadget he wants, and it materializes, although it can be difficult remembering the right go-go word while falling from the top of a skyscraper. His gadgets include hands that spray toothpaste (Gadget) and fire (RoboGadget), a hat that turns into a helicopter, and legs that extend into long steel stilts, allowing him to leapfrog traffic and cover a lot of ground in a hurry. Also about a zillion other gadgets.

His partner in the movie, Brenda (Joely Fisher), is the daughter of an inventor who figured out how to join flesh and technology. The enemy, Claw, wants to steal the technology for himself. Local officials get involved when the warfare escalates into a safety hazard, and there are also key roles for cats, mayors and nieces.

Obviously I would be better armed to deal with this stuff had I ever seen an Inspector Gadget cartoon. I could discuss how it does or doesn't live up to, or down to, the original. As it is I'm stuck with the movie as a stand-alone, and I'm pretty underwhelmed. Perhaps younger kids will like it more. I didn't care about the action because it made no difference to me who won or lost. The plot was an arbitrary concoction. The bad guy is played by Everett as a man fastidiously keeping a certain distance from the jokes. There are all sorts of pop culture references, but so what? There are admittedly some individual funny lines. (When the Dabney Coleman character sees John Brown in a head-to-toe body cast, he calls him "The English Patient.") The funniest moment in the movie comes at the end, as a credit cookie during the closing titles. It's a shot of a "Minion Support Group," showing Claw's sidekick 12-stepping with other famous evil minions (I spotted Richard Kiel's "Jaws" and perhaps Oddjob). Now that is an idea for a comedy.

Question: Since the movie is only 80 minutes long, would it have killed them to add a real Inspector Gadget cartoon to the program, as a warm-up and scene-setter?

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Comic-Con 2014: Star Trek Kickstarter Film "Prelude to Axanar"

A report from SDCC on the Kickstarter "Star Trek" film, "Prelude to Axanar."

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus