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Inspector Gadget (1999) is a Live Action Adaptation of the namesake animated series from Walt Disney Pictures, directed by David Kellogg and starring Matthew Broderick, Michelle Trachtenberg, Joely Fisher and Rupert Everett.
John Brown (Broderick) is an average joe employed as a security guard at Bradford Labs, run by father/daughter scientists Brenda (Fisher) and Artemis Bradford (Rene Auberjonois). He lives with his niece Penny (Trachtenberg) and her dog Brain. Brown has failed to join the Riverton police force, his lifelong dream. Every time he applies however, Chief Quimby (Dabney Coleman) always rejects him due to his relative inexperience. His life changes forever when Sanford Scolex (Everett), a ruthless businessman, raids Bradford Labs and the resulting confrontation leaves Brown with a broken body and the victorious Scolex with an irretrievably crushed hand.
Brenda has Brown re-built into a cyborg: Inspector Gadget. Meanwhile, Scolex has built a mechanical hand for himself, choosing the alias Dr. Claw. The two are set for a re-match. But with Brown remaining rather inept, Brenda and Penny have to provide help.
The film was notably darker than the series it was based on. Claw successfully commits murders, including Brenda's father. It received a direct-to-video sequel, Inspector Gadget 2 (2003), which was significantly mellower in tone.
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Happens a few times to Gadget.
- Actor Allusion: Matthew Broderick as Robo-Gadget doing an impression of a certain rampaging reptile.
- Affably Evil: Claw.
- AI Is a Crapshoot: Robo-Gadget.
- Adaptation Expansion: Both Gadget and Claw gain civilian names and backgrounds. The series never explained their origins.
- Alliterative Name: Sanford Scolex.
- Artificial Limbs: Interestingly, in the film, Gadget takes some time to get used to them and even comments "it doesn't feel like me."
- Also Dr. Claw's, well, claw.
- Ash Face
- You Fail Linguistics Forever: Lampshaded by Claw when he has Gadget at his mercy:
Gadget: Yeah. I comprende.
Claw: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I comprendo. Yo comprendo. Conjugate the verb, for pity's sake! Pull out his NSA chip before he butchers another language.
- Aside Glance
- A Wizard Did It: There are some continuity snarls, like the helmet on Sikes is fastened, suddenly is undone, and then is fastened again in 3 consecutive shots.
- Badass Grandma: Chief Quimby's mother after her wrongful arrest for reckless driving at the start of 2. Gadget and Quimby (who came to pick her up) bear witness to her badassery as she clobbers a few punks in her cell.
- Bad Guy Bar: The Blue Monkey.
- Berserk Button: Mayor Wilson and Chief Quimby press Gadget's Berserk Button when he learns that G2 is to be deactivated. Fortunately for them, this Berserk Button doesn't see Gadget take his anger out on them; rather, it merely revitalizes his sense of justice and gives him new motivation to redeem himself by capturing Claw by rescuing G2 and the Gadgetmobile, taking a lead from Brain, and foiling Claw's Evil Plan with the help of Penny, who they rescued from Claw's grip after a long chase.
- Better Than New: Brown was originally human. Then his body was busted and he was remade into a Super Soldier.
- Big Damn Heroes
- Bolivian Army Ending: At the end of 2, a gag scene occurs when a rocket accidentally deployed by Gadget as he made out with G2 lands in front of Chief Quimby and Mayor Wilson. They panic for a while, then realize it was a false alarm. They were wrong. "GAAADGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!"
- Break Them by Talking: "Have a cocktail! Don't you know bad robots have more fun?"
- Brainless Beauty: Robo-Brenda.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Gadgetmobile tells Gadget to buckle up, because "It's a Disney movie!"
- There's also the scene where Claw tells Gadget that he's been watching too many Saturday morning cartoons... and then looks directly into the camera, followed by Gadget doing the same thing, and then Kramer leans into the shot for no other purpose than to look into the camera as well.
- The Cameo: A post-credits gag has Mook #1 Sikes attending Minions Anonymous, where other attendees include "Hat Throwing Minion," "Minion Who Identifies Seafaring Aircraft," and "Minion with Metallic Teeth."
- Car Fu
- Check, Please!
- Chekhov's Gun: when Robot-gadget is first activated, a close-up of him shows a tarantula in a plastic sphere in his body. During his fight with Inspector Gadget, he unleashes this tarantula as a weapon.
- Chewing the Scenery: Coincidentally while Claw is screaming about eating brownies... and waffles.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Brenda Bradford is not mentioned in the sequel.
- Cool Car: The Gadgetmobile. it can talk, it has booster rockets and a skittles compartment.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Scolex/Claw.
- Covered in Gunge: Used so much (toothpaste, gum, batter), you wonder if it's a private Fetish Fuel on the part of a producer/director.
- Crashing Dreams
- Creative Closing Credits: Absolutely lousy with mostly unnecessary epilogues.
- Credits Gag: A few.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
- Cut and Paste Note: Gadget gets one in the sequel, and assumes the writer used this trope because he had terrible handwriting.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check
- Darker and Edgier: At least one person gets killed and another critically injured in a series of violent acts that set the plot in motion. Is there any wonder why the MPAA rated the first film PG? (Aside from the accidental language, namely, "obtaining the balls", and other innuendo, of course.)
- Design Student's Orgasm: The opening credits sequence in the original and the sequel.
- Detachable Lower Half: G2.
- Detachment Combat: G2.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Claw.
- Distaff Counterpart: G2.
- Distressed Damsel: Brenda in the final act of the first film and Penny in the final act of the second film.
- Dynamic Entry
- Emergency Transformation
- Emerging From the Shadows: Claw's reveal.
- Enormous Engine: The jet engine deployed by the Gadgetmobile.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Quimby in the sequel actually tries to argue with Mayor Wilson when she orders the Gadget Program discontinued in a fit of rage after G2 failed to stop Claw's latest crime in front of her.
- Evil Knockoff: Robo-Gadget.
- Executive Meddling: The first film suffered it as over thirty minutes got cut from the film before it opened. Many of the cut scenes can be seen in the trailer or as flashbacks in the final cut.
- Around 10 minutes were cut from 2, partially to obtain a G rating.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Brenda and her father.
- Genre Savvy
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Double Entendre is the preferred choice.
- In the sequel, Gadget talks about how he and G2 can be partners. He can be Good Gadget and she can be Bad Gadget.
- "She certainly is well-equipped, isn't she?"
- Later Gadget and G2 exchange chips. Gadget protests briefly: "But G2, you might get the glitches!"
- "Hey, I have heat sensors. I know what you were thinking when she gave you that smile..."
- The first film is one of few PG-rated movies to refer to testicles using a vulgar term, albeit accidentally--the guru was pointing to metal balls on the floor in front of him when he mentioned "obtaining the balls", but Gadget grabs his balls accidentally instead. The MPAA still rated the film for language because of it.
- Glad I Thought of It
- Groin Attack: John Brown AKA Inspector Gadget mistakenly does this to the guru while trying to train his new cybernetic body, after the guru tells him to focus on "obtaining the balls" -- as in the metal balls on the floor.
Guru: Ungrip! Ungrip! Turn it off! TURN IT OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!
Chief Quimby: Well, I guess six million dollars doesn't buy what it used to.
Brenda: Excuse me.
[As hospital workers put the guru in an ambulance, with an ice pack on his crotch]
Guru: He is not a man, you know. He is a monster!
- Heart Symbol: Appears on Gadget's hat in both films.
- Helium Speech: The Guru after Gadget grabbed the wrong balls.
- Heroes Want Redheads
- Hey, It's That Guy! / Hey, It's That Voice!:
- Since this is a Disney movie we're talking about, Simba is Inspector Gadget!
- Speaking of The Lion King, Nuka is Kramer.
- Prince Charming is Claw.
- Joy Stark is Brenda. And Odo is her dad.
- Dawn Summers is Penny.
- Maxwell Smart -- who was the inspiration of and the voice actor of the original Inspector Gadget -- voices Brain in a short snippet during the credits.
- One of The Original Kings of Comedy is a crimefighting car and wisecracking Snark Knight.
- Since this is a Disney movie we're talking about, Simba is Inspector Gadget!
- Hollywood Nerd: Gadget, Brenda.
- Hook Hand: Dr. Claw.
- Hot Scientist: Brenda.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Inspector Gadget's robotic clone Robo-Gadget does this to scare a child that mistakes him for the real Gadget.
- I Can See My House From Here
- Idea Bulb
- Imagine Spot: Done with thought balloons in the first. Deliberately Monochrome in the sequel.
- I'm Going to Disney World: Used by Claw and Gadgetmobile.
- In Name Only: Some names are shared, and Gadget has bionic implants. Otherwise, it bears not a shred of resemblance to the original.
- Inspector Oblivious: Most notably when he unwittingly helps two escaped convicts break into a Dodge Viper in the first film.
- Instant Expert
- Insult Backfire: Claw, when told he looked better fat.
Claw: BRING ON THE BROWNIES! WHEEL IN THE WAFFLES! I'M READY TO BINGE!
- I Work Alone: Gadget resists Penny's help. G2 actually says "I work alone." TWICE.
- Gadgetmobile says this in the first one... before promptly working with Gadget to stop some car thieves.
- Karma Houdini: Averted in the first film, when Claw gets arrested and according to one novelization gets a life sentence handed down on him. Played straight in the sequel, when Gadget, G2, and Penny merely run him out of town. Both instances incorporate a variation of Claw's catchphrase, "I'll get you next time, Gadget! NEXT TIME!"
- Kid Detective: Penny in the sequel, despite her uncle's objections.
- Jeopardy Thinking Music
- Jerkass: Chief Quimby, but only in the sequel. In the main film, he's more Jerk with a Heart of Gold like his cartoon counterpart.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: After Gadget brings up the point that the department NEEDS him while defending his job after "assisting" G2 at the stakeout, Quimby acknowledges that very fact to him... right before assigning him to toilet duty.
- Jumped At the Call
- Kick the Dog
- Killed Off for Real: Artemus Bradford.
- Large Ham: Rupert Everett as Claw, so very much.
- And Robo-Gadget. Who knew Matthew Broderick could be such a wonderful Large Ham?
- Laser Guided Karma Chief Quimby and Mayor Wilson at the end of the sequel.
- Let's Get Dangerous
- Live Action Adaptation
- Losing Your Head
- Mad Scientist
- Mayor Pain: Mayor Wilson in 2, as seen in a deleted scene where she flat-out states that she'll have G2 deactivated if Claw's next crime succeeds if that's what it takes to ensure her re-election.
- Minion with an F In Evil: Sikes.
- "Mission Impossible" Cable Drop
- Mood Whiplash
- Mooks: Sikes and Kramer. Brick and McKibble in the sequel.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When Gadgetmobile lets Gadget know the two men he helped break into a Dodge Viper (because he thought they had locked themselves out) were actually jailbreakers, he says, "Wait a minute!" before he and the Gadgetmobile go after them.
- In the sequel, Gadget gets a Heel Realization when he learns that Penny really was more competent than he had anticipated and that she had willingly risked herself to further his investigation of Dr. Claw after Brain tells him via translator that Penny had gotten kidnapped by Claw.
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast
- Nice Hat: Dr. Claw's hat in the second film.
- Noodle Implements: Part of the rebuilding sequence involves a wheelbarrow of garden hoses.
- Where do you think the toothpaste comes from? Now, the Slinkies and mousetraps on the other hand...
- Noodle Incident: Gadget mentions taking dance lessons at one point, but he's forced into some fancy footwork when Robo-Gadget fires at his feet before he can elaborate any further.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Penny's science teacher, as revealed in a deleted scene. He was certainly embarrassed when Penny busted him for stealing ice cream from the cafeteria, but he promised to let the principal know he was responsible right away, telling his students to concentrate on their studies as he left the classroom.
- Offhand Backhand
- Off with His Head: Claw to Kramer when ordering him to remove Gadget's chip (though he gives him points for at least locating the chip before fainting):
Claw: Do it, or you'll be building yourself a new head.
- Oil Slick: Toothpaste, actually.
- Opera Gloves: One alternate hand for Dr. Claw made by Kramer is based on this. Supposedly its because Claw likes going to operas. We never see it again.
- The Other Darrin: Matthew Broderick gets replaced with French Stewart (y'know, the guy from 3rd Rock from the Sun) in the sequel.
- Overprotective Uncle: Gadget goes to great pains to keep Penny away from detective work in the sequel.
- Playing Against Type: Dabney Coleman as a Reasonable Authority Figure, as opposed to his more typical role type as more smarmy, morally bankrupt characters, such as his roles as philandering father Nelson Fox in You've Got Mail and autocratic boss Franklin Hart, Jr. in Nine to Five.
- Coleman also does this to a degree in The Beverly Hillbillies, where he plays Mr. Drysdale. In the film, unlike in the series, it's an employee of Drysdale who's scheming to exploit the Clampetts, and Drysdale actually reacts in horror when he learns that one of his own employees is attempting to embezzle his most recent (and fairly unusual) clients.
- The Power of Friendship: When Penny reaches out to Sikes near the end, prompting his Heel Face Turn.
- The Power of Love: Gadget is brought back to 'life' with a kiss.
- But... he had the heart...! He could do it himself...!
- Product Placement: YAHOOOOOO-OOO! That's right, Disney actually used the Yahoo yodel as the billboard falls on the limousine near the start of the film!
- The Gadgetmobile also dispenses Skittles and Coke products.
- McDonald's is in both, actually. It's more prominent in the 2nd though.
- Retractable Appendages: Gadget retracts his head into his body to duck a punch in the face in Inspector Gadget 2.
- Revenge: Inadvertent when presented onscreen, inverted when Gadget and Claw bring up that particular incident that "made" them:
Gadget: I owe you one, Scolex. You blew up me and my Chevette. And I really liked that car!
Claw: Well, you crushed my hand, and I really liked that hand. So Go Go Get over it.
- Robot Girl: G2
- Don't forget Robo-Brenda..!
- Robot Names
- Rollerblade Good
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules: It's revealed in a deleted scene from 2 that Penny doesn't care that Gadget doesn't take her seriously as a detective as long as he has a sense of justice, which Claw obviously doesn't. When Claw tempts her to his side after capturing her, she basically tells him to go fuck himself (but not in those words, thankfully).
- Shotgun Dance: "You know how to dance, don't you?"
- Shout-Out: The knob for the helmet voltage goes up to 11, along with several to the original show.
- Not to mention to Godzilla; when Robo-gadget is rampaging through the City, he imitates Godzilla with his shadow. The scene also had a Japanese man running away from Robo-gadget, while screaming that this is why he left Tokyo.
- Something Else Also Rises: Among other things, Gadget's hat-based rocket launcher, which blows up a car when Brenda arouses him; his head, when Brenda shows up to the gala; and his foot-based rocket launcher, in the final pre-closing credits scene. Also his hat when he first sees G2.
- Spanner in the Works: Gadget, after Mayor Wilson and Chief Quimby press his Berserk Button (deactivating G2), which he directs toward capturing Claw and redeeming himself, and he and G2 find out that Claw had pressed his other Berserk Button (kidnapping Penny). Claw does NOT see Gadget, G2, and Penny coming when the former two rescue the latter and the three work together to stop his evil plan and run him out of Riverton.
- Swirlie: Gadget gives himself one through sheer clumsiness and his glitches.
- Swiss Army Appendage: Claw can take off his mechanical pincher-hand and replace it with cosmetic ones for different occasions. None are practical and Claw only uses one of them once.
- Time Stands Still: Claw's evil plan in the sequel so no one can stop him from robbing the Federal Reserve in order to restore his lost assets.
- Television Geography
- The Cheerleader: For some reason, Robo-Brenda is this.
- Theme Tune Cameo
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Robo-Brenda, so much so that she actually flips herself off the roof of a skyscraper.
- Also Gadget himself in the sequel; it's a miracle he can survive toilet duty! In fact, it's even more of a miracle he can successfully explain away how he put a hole in a wall separating the bathroom from the main lobby.
- Translator Collar: Which they for some reason forgot about and had to re-invent for the second film.
- Tropaholics Anonymous: Sikes' minion support group seen during the credits.
- Turn in Your Badge: In the sequel, after Gadget causes a scene at the science convention. Of course, it wasn't his fault, seeing that Claw's minions, disguised as nerds, stuck a tiny device to him so Claw could use his remote control on him to wreak havoc at the convention. Gadget shows the evidence to Quimby as a last resort, but does Quimby give a shit? No, no he does not.
- Of course, seeing that he was off the force at the time Mayor Wilson shut off the Gadget program to save face (as revealed in a deleted scene) after G2 got curb-stomped by Claw, Gadget himself got off easy compared to G2 (who got deactivated), which led to him being able to rescue G2 from possible recycling.
- Verbal Tic: In the sequel, Gadget gets this, spouting a Catch Phrase nearly every five seconds, particularly "wowsers".
- We Can Rebuild Him: Gadget is basically an experimental cyborg.
- What Could Have Been: Executive producer Steven Spielberg wanted either Chevy Chase or Steve Martin to play Gadget. Also, Tim Curry was considered for the role of Claw.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Claw was captured, Sikes went to rehab... so what happened to Kramer?
- Wicked Cultured: Claw.
- Worst Aid: In an early trailer for the first live-action film, he codes during the transformation surgery. What do they do to revive him? Administer the most scientifically-
disproven medical treatment known to Hollywoodman: The Miraculous Bitchslap of Life.
- You Have Failed Me: Mayor Wilson orders G2 deactivated after her embarrassing failure to stop Claw from stealing the ruby.
- You Killed My Father: Quoted during the climax:
Claw: "So what's new?"
Brenda: "Hel-LO, you killed my father!"