On the outskirts of Riverton, "The Safest City in America", a pensive Inspector Gadget sits in his Gadgetmobile, along with his canine companion, Brain. Gadget is back on the job, on stakeout, but he is concerned that everything is too quiet in Riverton. He has a very simple, rational answer to this; " it's always the most quiet just before criminals strike". Evil must be afoot. In a moment of overzealous crime fighting Gadget arrests an elderly women for wreckless driving, but not without incident. In his effort to make the arrest Gadget's many crime fighting "accessories" go wildly astray. It's time to report back to headquarters for a checkup. Baxter, the "Q" of the Police Department, delivers the prognosis - as he is a prototype things are bound to have some glitches. The remedy is close at hand. But, before Baxter can tell of his new "top secret", Gadget is confronted by a furious Chief Quimby. The little old lady arrested earlier for wreckless driving turns out to be Quimby's ...Written by
Disney today has gone through multiple changes throughout its history. There's the classical period, the slump period, the renaissance period and the rise to super studio power in the late 2000s. However even during the 1990s when Disney was breaking records in its animated films, they also were breaking records in flops in another type of film. Those films were in live-action, many of which were derived from cartoons from decades before. For those cases, Disney had made some pretty bad films. Mr. Magoo (1997), George of the Jungle (1997) and Inspector Gadget (1999) being relatively the last bunch of theatrical releases to be made, for the most part signaled the end of such cartoon live-action adaptations. But even for Disney, nothing would stop the studio giant from making a little extra cash even after that. Some years later, Disney would release sequels to some of these movies and for the poorly adapted Inspector Gadget (1999), he too got his own. The question is, is it worth a watch?
Ehhh,...in some respects yes because there seems to be improvement. Then again, there really was no need to begin with because a sequel will not make up for the mistakes of the first. With a script written by the director Alex Zamm (Chairman of the Board (1998), Tooth Fairy 2 (2012) and Jingle All the Way 2 (2014)) and two other writers, the adaptation part of the film is more faithful to that of the original cartoon. And for some viewers, that may be all they need because the entirety of the movie does feel more cartoonish than that of the first movie. When Dr. Claw (Tony Martin) escapes from prison, it's up to Inspector Gadget (French Stewart), his niece Penny (Caitlin Wachs) and newly activated member G2 (Elaine Hendrix) to bring the evil mastermind to justice. The idea is as routine as ever but it again sticks to the formula that made the cartoon what it was. Also what makes this film more faithful than the one before is that most of Dr. Claw's face is kept concealed from the audience. It was a big gripe people had with the 1999 film.
As stated in the plot prior, much of the cast from the first film have been replaced or rewritten out. The only actor who didn't get replaced was D.L. Hughley as the Gadget Mobile; because people loved him the most? Also there's no mention of whatever happened to Joely Fisher's role as Brenda who played Gadget's love interest in the first movie. French Stuart as Gadget looks more like his cartoon counterpart than Matthew Broderick. Caitlin Wachs taking over Michelle Trachtenberg's role performed okay but nothing special. As for Claw, Tony Martin's portrayal Vs Rupert Everett is not hilariously funny but it's alright. Elaine Hendrix as G2 was okay even though her role was very contrived. It's pretty obvious what she serves as to Gadget. If there's one thing that stays true through this film is that almost every actor chews up the scenery around them. Almost every scene is super hammy. It's not bad occasionally or maybe for one character but even the less important characters are biting at the corners of every frame.
With that being said, the comedy isn't that funny either. Thankfully, Disney toned down the inappropriate humor from the first film but didn't bother fix anything else. The one liners are formulaic and predictable but they do at least sound more believable being delivered from Stewart than Broderick. Dr. Claw also has a bunch of stock henchman that do act like the cartoon but here just feel silly. Of all things, why would Dr. Claw hire a single ninja? Also sometimes the dialog doesn't make a lot of sense due to certain characters having knowledge that goes unexplained. How would one specific character know how a mechanical device works if the villain didn't even give the obligatory exposition to them? The stretch of the imagination only goes so far. Seeing Dr. Claw make a weapon out of 3 or 4 non-connective items is one thing, but knowing how it works without even being told? Yeah,...not buying it.
Even with this mediocre writing, there is still some visual integrity. The special effects to this entry are adequate for its budget even though they are not as polished as the first film. However considering it was 12 million Vs 75 million (estimated), that's not entirely bad. There are places where it's noticeably fake though. The cinematography shot by Geoffrey Wharton who is usually just a camera operator does okay here. There's no strange angles or up close facial zoom-ins so that's praiseworthy. Anything else though is just standard shooting. The musical score composed by Chris Hajian is okay too. Even though the sound is not as bombastic as John Debney's version of the first one, Hajian retains the Inspector Gadget theme and does what he can to make it sound acceptable for a DVD sequel. The overall product is still messy but some may like it more than the original film.
Having its cast mainly replaced, the actors are a lot hammier, the comedy is still predictable and the effects do look somewhat cheaper. However some of the writing does follow the cartoon more this time than the first movie and although not everything makes sense it feels more like an extended cartoon episode. So that kind works in its favor.
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