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.The movie opens with an origin story for the titular hero (Broderick). Originally a human security guard named John Brown, he dreams of one day being a respected police officer, though he is continually rejected due to his lack of experience. He also has designs on Brenda Bradford, a scientist that works at the cybernetics lab he's employed for. After the lab creates a prototype for a computer chip that can control lifelike robotic limbs, Brown's life changes as Corrupt Corporate Executive Sanford Scolex (Everett) breaks into the lab, kills Brenda's father, and makes off with the prototype foot. When Brown pursues him, the resulting car chase ends with Scolex blowing up his car and leaving him with extensive tissue damage. In the aftermath, Scolex's right hand is crushed, leading to him dubbing himself "Claw." As for Brown, Brenda decides to make him the prototype for the "Gadget Program" and repairs his damaged body by converting him into a cyborg with numerous odd and zany functions. Now dubbed "Inspector Gadget," he realizes his dream of joining the police force - though his generally goofy and awkward nature and lack of control over his new hardware makes him something of a walking disaster area. Meanwhile, Scolex still has designs on the technology that created him, as he plans to use it to build an unstoppable robot army to take over the world...While the film was pummeled by critics and fans of the original show alike, it was successful enough for Disney to produce a direct-to-video sequel, Inspector Gadget 2 (2003), though none of the original cast returned.
Alternate Continuity: Given the numerous inconsistencies with the cartoon (e.g., Gadget being more competent, Claw having a robotic claw for a hand rather than wearing metallic gloves, and the absence of Claw's international crime organization M.A.D.), this seems to be the case.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Robo-Gadget apparently has gone berserk in the downtown Riverton area... reports indicate that he has already caused a major traffic accident, destroyed private property, and set fire to an elderly man's beard."
Artificial Limbs: Interestingly, in the film, Gadget takes some time to get used to them and even comments "it doesn't feel like me."
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.
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. As Gadget himself puts it after G2 tells him there's nothing he can do to help her:
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.
California Doubling: Pittsburgh, PA in the first and Brisbane, Australia in the second; both for Ohio. Still, the use of Pittsburgh is at least justified—PPG Place is Dr. Claw's castle.
Call Back: "Our relationship is strictly professional."
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.
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: Double subverted. Claw does plan on selling the gadget technology so anyone with enough money can have an army of obedient Super Soldiers but decided to send the first to terrorize the city 'and have some fun'.
Damsel in Distress: Brenda in the final act of the first film and Penny in the final act of the second film.
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.)
Demoted to Extra: Penny in the first film; despite being the true hero of the original series and frequent appearances throughout the movie, she rarely plays a part in the main plot of the film until the actual climax, with most of the screentime going exclusively to Gadget, his love interest, or Dr. Claw. This is averted in the second film, however.
Evil Plan: The first one is about acquring Gadget Technology so he can sell it on the black market and acquring his crush. The second is revenge.
Exact Words: Gadget uses this tactic a couple of times while going undercover. It backfires on him the second time. Also, the "100 yards" business. Gadgetmobile himself falls victim to this with the word "citation".
For the Evulz: In revealing his evil plan, Claw seems quite eager to see the raw chaos that would be unleashed through his robotic warriors upon selling them to the highest bidders; Aside from exacting revenge on Gadget for the loss of his hand, he has no other deeply personal motivations for his crimes.
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.
When the newly operated on John Brown lands on top of Brenda Bradford, she starts talking about how all this was new to him, and he nods sheepishly in agreement. Brenda means having John having the added parts now and being Inspector Gadget, of course. However, given the position they are in, could John be assuming that Brenda meant, well, what two adults usually do in that position- and that he has not done it yet?
Groin Attack: John Brown AKA Inspector Gadget mistakenly does this to the guru while trying to train his new cybernetic body (he was blindfolded for some reason), 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!
Impersonating an Officer: Robo-Gadget, who isn't so much impersonating a police officer as he is downright smearing the police officer's good name by committing all sorts of crimes–and takes it so far that Chief Quimby would've arrested the real Gadget had Penny and Sikes not revealed that detail about Claw's Evil Plan.
In Name Only: Some names are shared, and Gadget has bionic implants. Otherwise, it bears not a shred of resemblance to the original.
Claw: BRING ON THE BROWNIES! WHEEL IN THE WAFFLES! I'M READY TO BINGE!
In the Name of the Moon: Gadget would like to say something heroic like 'in the name of justice' to activate his gadget abilities. Brenda says he could (thus fullfilling this trope) but it wouldn't activate the gadget abilities.
I Work Alone: Gadget resists Penny's help. G2 quotes the trope verbatim. TWICE.
Gadgetmobile says this in the first one... before promptly working with Gadget to stop some car thieves.
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.
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!"
Logo Joke: The Walt Disney Pictures castle is completely mechanical at the beginning of both films; in addition, the arc of light that draws itself behiind said castle is replaced by the top half of a cog.
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.
Gadget: Penny was right... I should have listened to her.
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.
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.
Overprotective Uncle: Gadget goes to great pains to keep Penny away from detective work in the sequel.
The Pen Is Mightier: During the climax, Gadget manages to thwart Claw's escape by throwing a pen into the latter's helecopter, hitting his claw hand and forcing it shut, crushing the chopper's control stick.
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.
Reality Ensues: Brown asks the Police Chief Quimby when he'll be put on the big case in the first film. The chief assures him he has something for him to "cut [his] teeth on". Cut to a newspaper montage of Brown being a crossing guard and helping the sanitation department. Remember, Brown is a security guard who was rejected from the police academy early in the film, and is markedly incompetent even after being upgraded. In fact, it's the central joke of the character.
The knob for the helmet voltage goes up to 11, along with several to the original show.
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 otherBerserk 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.
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.
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".
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.
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-proven medical treatment known to man: The Miraculous Bitchslap of Life.