Inspector Gadget 2
Inspector Gadget 2 2003
This is one of those movies that’s been sitting in my Netflix queue for well over a year and I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on it because I knew it was going to be pretty bad. But me being me, I was in the mood for a bad movie so I finally watched this one. Now, I was a big fan of the cartoon series when it was on Nickelodeon, but I never watched the first live action movie because I also suspected that it was kids movie trash. And while I did initially have some slight reservations on whether to actually consider this a superhero movie, I figured that there is a direct line from Cyborg to Robocop to Inspector Gadget. The best argument I heard against is that he is typically more of a spy than a superhero crimefighter, but at least in this movie, he’s a straight up cop. With super powers. So I think he’s just barely over the line. As for the actual quality of the movie? It’s straight to DVD Disney sequel trash that never got a laugh out of me and barely resembled the cartoon it was based on.
The biggest problem with this film is that it doesn’t really know what makes Inspector Gadget work. The entire opening scene involves Gadget waiting behind a billboard waiting for a speeder, then goes completely over the top to persecute an elderly woman going 0.3 MPH over the speed limit. There’s so much money spent on this scene with the introduction to several of his gadgets and the Gadgetmobile with unnecessary animation all over the place. This doesn’t make him a humorous buffoon, especially not in the opening scene. While he does have these moments in the cartoon, the big difference is that this is the introduction to the character and it immediately puts him in the wrong. Not only that, but when Gadget typically goes after an innocent person, it’s because he’s chasing villains who use disguises. Here, he clearly knows that this is just an old lady but he’s in such dire need for a villain to arrest that he turns her into one.
The villains aren’t much better. The film does go to some minor effort to emulate the cartoon’s trope of keeping Dr. Claw’s face hidden at all times, but there is no real presence or menace to how he’s portrayed on screen. He’s just a regular guy with a fairly normal voice trying to sound more like a villain but there’s not enough power to carry his voice over the top, and he’s just hanging around in some slight shadows. Not enough to make him look menacing, only enough to mostly obscure his face. The other slight nod to the series is when his big villainous freeze ray blows up, it leaves a smoke cloud in the shape of the M.A.D. logo. Claw’s henchmen also leave much to be desired. They are all various villain stereotypes with the most humorous being the random ninja. Besides him, there’s also the random Australian and the guy with dark glasses and weird eyes that we only see in one single reveal and plays zero importance through the rest of the film.
The actual reason behind this sequel was to introduce a secondary Gadget character. Instead of the unnamed Inspector Gadget, who is apparently a human with the assortment of gadgets available to him like a Cyborg or Robocop with none of the body horror implications, the new Gadget or G2 is fully robotic with zero biological parts whatsoever. She’s the typical no nonsense character who Gadget immediately falls head over heels in comedic love with. They even go the extra mile where at the end of the movie, she lets her ponytail down which always signifies a female character becoming less uptight and more fun. And of course, she also finally gets the visible hearts for Gadget to show up on her police hat. She’s a standard robotic character who also doesn’t get much to do other than initially be good at her job, doesn’t want to work with Gadget, but eventually comes around to him in the end.
The film overall is a typical straight-to-video Disney sequel dreck with no real purpose other than to make a few bucks. This is no more evident than during the scene at the science fair with ample McDonalds product placement despite the food court sign that reads “brain food”. The one slightly interesting thing about this film is that some of the cartoonish gadgets appeared to be done practically rather than being fully CGI, and it’s usually done well enough that it’s difficult to tell which ones are really there and which ones aren’t. It’s not much, but it’s something. It’s difficult when there’s a hero that you don’t want to root for, a villain that’s not threatening, and the two typical heroes of the cartoon were Gadget’s niece Penny and their dog Brain who get barely any screen time which is a shame as they were the most likable characters in the movie. I know I wasn’t expecting much with this film, but it didn’t even live up to my lowered expectations. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.