Scolding Reviews: Inspector Gadget 2


There's a dog in this movie, kids! You like that shit, right?
I've always sustained that, when adapting, you can't let  the original material being simple stop you in the way of making  a good product. Sure, the original Transformers series wasn't the height  of writing, but that's where you come in and make it interesting. Give new layers to the story and characters. Do a fresh take.

Or you could  have  pee jokes and questionable morality. And then blame the original material.

1999's Inspector Gadget was...not the best movie in the world and certainly not the best adaptation of the source material either.. However, the original cartoon had a pretty thin premise: A cybernetic doofus detective spy gets into worldwide adventures against a dangerous organization while a combination of luck and help from children and dogs win the day, which lead everyone, from the series' unseen villain to the hero himself, to think he was a force to reckoned with. The movie, however, was about a cybernetic mall cop who gets tooth paste put on him, and through a combination of Talking Car and the power of heart gets to defeat the always seen villain.
Also, Boy bands where involved.

In that sense, the 2003 sequel is closer to the source material. However, it still lives in the same universe as the first movie. In more senses than one.

The movie starts with Gadget going after an old lady for a slight speeding violation. It turns out, thought, she was the Police chief's mother, turning this into a twisted thriller about corruption and nepotism.

Also, they sort of recast everyone. Mathew Broderick, Michelle Tretchenberger, Rupert Everett...none of them are back.In their place we have an Earnest like Camera mugger, some girl who barely registers, and some guy in Panama hats. Even the thugs where recast. I guess they where just too good for a 3 years too late straight to video, severely lower budget cash in, right?
The whole thing is.
It turns out Gadget is just bored because, between  movies, he defeated all crime in the city. This is, despite his system "glitching out", which in this case is that Inspector Gadget thing where he orders one thing, and another entirely different thing comes out. He's sort of always had that.

It's worth noting that the cartoon sound effects from  Inspector Gadget Uno are mostly gone. However, in keeping with the spirit of the first movie, he's still filled with mostly things that don't help the fight against crime. Think about this: this Man Machine project must have cost millions: why would you put chewing gum in there? Even in the original cartoons, it was mostly useful stuff like telescopic arms and helicopter craniums. And that was a cartoon!
You're gonna be a bad motherfucker...when you're not blowing bubbles.



Still, while the local science guy is unable to help with his glitches, he subtly hints at the encroaching obsolescence of Gadget, which he doesn't seem to take too seriously. Also, Penny, who somehow managed  to not be like Michelle Tretchenberger Or the cartoon Penny without being like, black or a man or  something, wants to solve cases with her uncle. However, the plot soon gets going as Dr Claw escapes from jail.  And now they're trying an entirely different voice, closer to the menacing original as well as trying to do the whole "you can't see him" thing ..

See, most kids in 2003 probably wouldn't get a Blofeld rip off parody that wasn't fucking Dr Evil, but the essence is that the character is mysterious.  Now, we saw this Claw, and he's still the Dr Claw that has "the clamps". Everyone sees him, in broad daylight. Why bother? If you're gonna make a sequel to the movie, make a sequel to the movie. At least his promise to gain weight at the end of the first one sort of came true.

So , the Good Doctor plans to steal the federal reserve, which is now in Inspector Gadget's city because it's so safe with a guy who can shoot toothpaste on a whim(with a 10% margin of error in which a novelty umbrella comes out instead).  So in 10 days they are tasked with stealing a laser, fuel cells and a ruby. Knowing science won't help you guess what he's planning.

Meanwhile, at a gala event, they announce a sequel to the original Gadget, the all robot, all woman G2.
Hot French Cop Action!



 Yes, even though crime is a thing of the past, they still felt the need to add more robots to the city. Here's a thought: Why not share your cyborgs with towns that DO have crime? Maybe rent them?

That said, G2 is pretty cool. Played rather robotically by Elaine Hendrix and given a moderately cool costume, she's essentially the highlight of this movie.

Anyway, Gadget  becomes worried that he might no longer be necessary, and this existential crisis  lends a  lot of characterization has an erection at the sight of G2.  Even after he's publicly humiliated in front of a live audience, Gadget still has the hots for her, and even being taken off the Claw case doesn't engender any animosity toward G2. I have a penis too, but if a sexy lady stole my job from under my nose, I'd still be angry with her.

Under Penny's advise, Gadget enters undercover in one of those bars where Steven Seagal beats people up, dressed like half Matches Malone, half Patch. But being a lovable buffoon, he quickly gets people punching him, while Penny successfully sneaks into Dr Claws  evil Henchmen audition, which includes a dude called "The Ninja".  When asked why he's called that, he flips into the air and cuts a fly off the guy's forehead.
They call me Ninja because of my introverted personality and  tendency to hide from my  landlord.

So, G2 comes to Gadget's rescue, because he doesn't have enough toothbrushes in his hands to deal with a bar full of surly PG13 bikers.

After proving her superiority a second time, G2 finds herself with macking and offers of working together by Gadget. But she works alone, damn it! I don't question why the city would put breasts on a crime fighting robot. Breasts tend to make those better. But wouldn't they WANT a cooperative robot?

Still, Gadget gets threatened with being fired if he interferes again with the case. But as you might have guessed, he goes there anyway. And ruins everything G2's graphically deficient, poorly  edited fight scene accomplished and the bad guys get away with the fuel cells.
However, she does fail to recognize this as "surrender". It's ED-209 all over again.

Gadget gets demoted to toilet scrubbing duties which, to be fair, he's better equipped to do than crime fighting. While Claw takes a pretty good dig at this, he also unveils his next plan, the acquisition of an experimental laser. But they would need to distract Gadget with a red herring letter. Gadget, however discusses the letter with her Niece by doing that thing where a character says something, and then the second one says it like he didn't hear it. You know, like in the Flinstones. For those of you playing at home, the answer is "very, very old and not even that funny back then".

Regardless, Gadget goes to a science fair, because it could be a trap.  There, two of Claw's Henchmen, disguised as bespectacled Rosie O'Donnell and bespectacled  Helen DeGeneres successfully implant a device on Gadget that lends Claw direct control of him. With full control of his archenemy, Claw  makes him embarrass himself by spilling his McDonald's Combo(even a McHotdog!), making him dance and making him slime a Nobel prize winner.
Seriously, I don't know what they are.

Now, I know this movie is directed at kids. It would be unfair of me to ask that Claw make Gadget kill himself, or go after his loved ones and murder them slowly. However, spilling your product placement is not the best option here either. How about making Gadget steal the laser? Then we could have had some G2 vs Gadget action.

Then Inspector Gadget gets thrown off the force even after explaining what happened. He struggles with finding a job despite being a crime ending celebrity that apparently even won an Academy Award. Come on, dude, Charlie Sheen never won no Oscar, and he still gets gigs, despite murder attempts. No other city wants a crime fighter cyborg that ends crime?

Penny continues to try and keep on the case, but she gets browbeat by Gadget. She says  he doesn't believe in her and goes off to cry.

You know what this is? It's set up for betrayal. I've seen it a million times. First they establish the lack of trust and increasing rancor between each part.  Then there's a scene like this:


P-Penny? What are you doing here? I heard a Henchmen of Dr Claw was around here...


Don't you get it, uncle Gadget? You never trusted me! You threw me under the bus, even as I was 3 times the detective you will ever be!

What are you saying Penny? Penny what are YOU TALKING ABOUT? Don't let this get out of hand, Penny. (mugs at the Camera)
Here's the punchline to that stupid pun, Uncle.
Nooooooooo!
What? Uh, Daydreaming again... No, she doesn't stay down for long. Cue the montage of Penny detective-ing, Gadget failing at life, and Claws Henchmen stealing, even though they only need one more thing. Who knows.  Then Dr Claw and his men hit a fundraiser event, use laughing gas on everyone, subdue G2 and make off with the Ruby. Of course, Gadget was a valet at the event, and he successfully remains ignorant of it. He even opens the door for the villains. I call bull on that one.

Come on, Gadget, you recognize this guy. He's like a fat Rupert Everett. You've seen him UP CLOSE! I guess his Panama Hat is great at hiding his identity...
You where this close to his face! Andy Dick was there!

Penny gets kidnapped, then the chief declares that the whole "Robot Cop" program is not working out. They take G2 back to the precinct for "deactivation". She takes it well.


No, seriously, she cries a little. Because the people behind the Gadget project made a machine that feels bad and cries about being scrapped, and discarded it after a single mistake. Again, millions of dollars of research on Gadget and G2 and they're throwing them out the window the first chance they get. Your tax dollars at work! No wonder you Americans are so uptight about that. Just kidding!
No new things! No New things!

However, the subplot of man's desertion of it's own creation and what it means to be human is quickly disposed off as Gadget takes G2 out of her...recycling pod the very next scene. Then they flirt. Now, this movie never shied away from the fact Gadget was gonna get with the robot, but they have zero chemistry. Or maybe it's just that Gadget is unlikeable in this movie. You gotta wonder why Brenda left him.

A previously hinted at device is used on Brain the dog to reveal that Claw has kidnapped Penny. This triggers powerful yet cliche dialogues like " I should have listened to her". They suit up. No butt-shots sadly/fortunately.

Then Claw reveals to Penny, as Super Villains are known to do, his plan: he would use the laser, the ruby and the fuels cells to somehow make a Time Displacement Laser, a device that can stop time itself by bouncing off a satellite. I know this IS sort of scifi and sort of for children, but it makes using diamonds to create ice sort of believable.

I can make it fly if you get me two fishbowls and a defibrillator.

That said, the effect is moderately well realized. It's no Matrix, (and didn't everyone want to be in 2003?) but they don't spare on showing things frozen in midair. Claw sends the whole town into Bullet Time, then moves in to steal the Federal Reserve. However, Vanilla Gadget and G2 escape from the blast, then return to face the villains.

While you wonder if things that are frozen in time wouldn't explode when impacted by things not frozen in time because the force is being exerted at essentially no time...Claw robs the Bank. He's getting a kick out of it, too, until the good guys show up. Then Claw uses Penny as a human shield and drives away. So G2 has to fight the minions, and Gadget has to rescue his next of kin. But wait, Gadget is a total screw-up has glitches!

So G2 and Gadget switch chips(continuity snag ahead, as Gadget's chip was destroyed in the first movie. But the power of love or something revived him. So I guess they don't die without the chip, now?) I guess there's some kind of lesson about how we can all be heroes or how the New G needs to get the stick out of her ass. However, G2 uses the old chip, which I guess activates her 1930s Cartoon gag weapon-set DLC to devastating effect on some goons. See, G2 isn't a weak ass like Gadget, and she don't let a bad chip slow her down.  However, the new chip on Gadget doesn't really make him much more than barely effective.
The chip is docked in her cleavage. Another point for G2.



The final chase sequence is pretty well realized. It would be easy to ignore the fact time froze in mid day in a busy city by having magically empty streets, but the fact that time froze is constantly reinforced. I'm not saying it looks "real" or anything, but for Direct to home vid, it wasn't too bad. Eventually, after Gadget catches up to Claw, he puts Penny on a wheeled cart with bowling pin bombs(It makes sense in context...maybe) and Gadget has to free her just before one of those convenient bomb timers from movies ends. However, because they waste a lot of time, they don't really get too far away before it explodes.
Where are my Hurt Locker direct to Home sequels?

So you might think that they're probably dead because they SHOULD be, or  escaped on a refrigerator or something, but in actuality they just survived.  Penny is a little Scorched and Gadget falls from the sky. Hey, it's a live action cartoon, right? Severe eardrum damage is for the birds!

After some quick bonding, they jump AHEAD of Claw(who I guess must have been driving in circles) and stop his car by sticking a bunch of bubblegum in the floor. The result is pretty unsightly.

Claw, though, has a pretty advanced rocket on the wagon and flies away. But he'll get you next time, Gadget! Even if he could have gotten you this one easy and this plan barely had anything to do with you, and you'd think he's be pretty sore from his fall from grace! Silence, Panama Hat!

So they stop the machine by guessing the password and return the city to it's proper chronology, showing us the people who  didn't feel affected by the bullet time, and not the confused or dead guy who was kicked in the face by Gadget during the chase.

So everyone gets medals except for the dog and the car, and Gadget acknowledges his niece's right to exist as a crime fighting detective in a city that has no crime to speak of. And then Gadget and G2 kiss, because movie romance am good! We no need characters  sin-gull aftarr movie! One final cartoon gag and...courtains(or rather, the menu screen)

What did I think? While the movie is underwhelming as a whole, there are some good elements here. Mostly regarding G2, who disappears from the movie for a pretty good bit. The final chase wasn't bad.  And Claw, while not quite Frank Welker, does have a sort of cartoonish viscerality.

There is some more characterization beyond the first movie. Penny's role is expanded from what was essentially a glorified cameo in the first movie, and it's a little more realistic than the cartoon about the relationship between a proactive, heroic girl and a conceited, self-righteous hero parent figure. The contrast with Gadget's all around cartoony personality often clash, though. And while Brenda's role as support and love interest is lost, G2 as a heroic partner and all around awesome device is far more entertaining, even with all the missed storytelling potential and forced romance.

However, In making Gadget almost as aloof as his cartoon version, it essentially turns him into a huge douche.   The whole character and the way he's brought on screen is mostly bothersome. I don't know if he was miscast of if it was just horrible material, but I hope it wasn't the latter because the director of this will go on to direct Hong Kong Phooey. I'm not gonna watch it...but we don't need another bad cartoon adaptation stinking up the place.



1 comments:

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