Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: Inspector Gadget

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, July 30, 1999

“Go Go Gadget airplane! Go Go Gadget trampoline! Go Go Gadget parachute! Go Go Gadget parasol!”

Matthew Broderick ends up losing most of his body and is rebuilt by Joely Fisher into the kind of man she’d really like. Or was that the porn version?

DirectorDavid Kellogg
Movie Rating5

Inspector Gadget” was a fun movie. The best parts were the beginning, opening credits, and the ending, closing credits. The composer did a good job of converting the television cartoon’s theme music to the movies, although this show does use the standard lame pop song over the ending credits. What’s with this? I mean, I’m glad they’re smart enough to know the lame song doesn’t belong in the movie, but why have it at all?

Dabney Coleman makes an appearance, as does Don Adams in a surprise cameo. Rupert Everett was made to be a villain. You may remember him from “An Ideal Husband”, “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, or “The Madness of King George”. Now I want to see him take on Superman or Batman (or, perhaps, Supergirl and Wonder Woman, both at the same time).

If you don’t know the premise, you probably should. The whole thing is based on a Saturday morning cartoon that apparently resonated with the GenXers in the audience (either that, or they were here early for the San Diego Comic Convention… sometimes its really hard to tell geeks from grungers) who liked it but complained about the lack of fat on Claw. Inspector Gadget is a semi-robotic police inspector who solves crime with his niece Penny (Michelle Trachtenberg), his dog (uncredited) and his car (Fred Williamson). His doctor Brenda (Joely Fisher) helps out occasionally as well, and, at least in the movie, shows up as a reasonably intelligent love interest. I’m guessing about a lot of that based on the reactions of the sticklers in the audience because I’ve never seen more than a few seconds of the cartoon. I do remember the dog. The important bits to remember: 1. This is a cartoon. 2. Inspector Gadget is a bit of a loser. A whacky, violent loser, but it’s really his “co-workers”, his niece, his dog, his car, and his girlfriend, who solve the crimes. Don’t go to this movie expecting a standard hero flick.

Everyone here did a pretty good job. It was nice to see Matthew Broderick again. I haven’t seen him since “Ferris Bueller”. I overheard someone talking about a second Ferris Bueller. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since the first one, Broderick can still play Ferris because “he’s the next Dick Clark”.

The television and cartoon aspects of the movie were handled very well. The opening credits are cool to watch, and the “scene shifts” are done in a nice superhero manner, with Gadget logos popping on screen and popping off. The gadgets, especially in the beginning when Broderick first discovers his gadget ability, are nearly psychedelic.

By the way, even though this is rated PG there is nothing in here for the kids to avoid. The MPAA just keeps getting better and better. Does anyone take these folks seriously anymore? “Rated PG for whacky violence” doesn’t quite beat “Rated R for teen lawlessness” but it’s pretty damned close. If Warner Brothers ever brings “The Road Runner” to the big screen, it’ll probably be rated “X” for looney tunes.

Recommendation: Rent

DirectorDavid Kellogg
ActorsMatthew Broderick, Joely Fisher, Rupert Everett
Spoken languageEnglish
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If you enjoyed Inspector Gadget…

For more about Matthew Broderick, you might also be interested in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Ladyhawke.

For more about saturday morning, you might also be interested in Land of the Lost, Scooby Doo’s Original Mysteries, and Underdog.