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Film / Inspector Gadget (1999)

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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.

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 (Fisher), 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 Artemus (René Auberjonois), 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, a bowling ball from Brown's car flies into the air and lands Scolex's own left hand, crushing it to pieces and leading to him getting a selection of cybernetic replacements. His favourite replacement (because it looks cool) is a metallic crab-claw. He dubs 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—and his own talking wisecracking car the Gadgetmobile (voiced by D.L. Hughley). 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...

It was successful enough for Disney to produce a direct-to-video sequel, Inspector Gadget 2 (2003), though none of the original cast returned (except for D.L. Hughley who reprised his role as the Gadgetmobile).

Previews: Two Trailers and TV Spots, Trailer #3.

The film provides examples of:

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  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Happens a few times to Gadget.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Penny is brunette in this movie, while she was blonde in the cartoon. The sequel would make her a blonde again.
    • The colors of Gadget's outfit are different than the cartoon as well. His hat is changed from gray with a light gray band to brown with a black band. His coat is beige instead of gray (though the sequel would make it gray again). His pants and shoes are both black, as opposed to his blue pants and gray shoes from the cartoon. He also wears an assortment of different colored ties, though he does wear a blue one at one point.
    • While his face was never shown in the cartoon, Claw's action figure depicted him with white hair. In the film, he has black hair.
  • Adaptation Expansion: We actually learn both Gadget and Claw's real names (okay, Claw's name was eventually revealed in the cartoon) and backstories, with the story of how they got their robotic add-ons taking up the better part of the first act.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the original cartoon, Claw's birth name was Edward Claw. Here, it's Sanford Scolex. Also, he only goes by "Claw" instead of Dr. Claw, though the "Doctor" part would be used in the sequel.
    • Similarly, Inspector Gadget, whose real name here is John Brown, went by the name of Augustin Tamare (not that the show ever revealed that one, either) in the original cartoon.
    • Metro City was renamed Riverton.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Granted, the original cartoon never really gave origin stories for Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw to begin with, but this film chose to make John Brown's conversion into a cyborg have a connection with Sanford Scolex's hand getting crushed and having it replaced with a robotic claw. John Brown is injured in an accident caused by Scolex. However, the explosion also sends a bowling ball flying out of Brown's car and crushes Scolex's left hand as he is closing the sunroof. Yet another thing to note is that Brown was rebuilt as a cyborg as part of the Gadget Project and Scolex's interest in using the technology for his own ends was what caused Brown's accident in the first place.
  • Adaptational Hairstyle Change:
    • Gadget is depicted with short, clean cut hair in the films as opposed to the longer, shaggier style he has in the cartoons.
    • Penny either wears her hair down, or in braids instead of in pigtails like in the cartoons.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Gadget is far more competent in the movie than in the cartoon, and doesn't rely entirely on Penny and Brain.
  • Adapted Out: Dr. Claw was the leader of an international crime syndicate known as M.A.D. in the cartoon, but his evil organization is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he is aided by a thug named Sykes and a bumbling scientist named Kramer.
    • In the sequel Claw does display a logo that looks very similar to the M.A.D. Logo though.
  • Age Lift:
    • Penny was a prepubescent girl in the original cartoon. Here, she's a teenager.
    • While Claw's face wasn't shown in the cartoon, his action figure's white hair suggested that he was at least middle-aged. Sanford Scolex seems to be a relatively young man.
  • Air Vent Escape: John enters Scolex's building through the vent system.
  • Alliterative Name: Sanford Scolex for Claw. Brenda Bradford as well.
  • Alternate Continuity: It is clearly not canon to the original cartoon because of the huge amount of differences from the source material.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Inspector 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." Shortly after being activated, he accidentally extended his neck into the hospital ceiling.
    • Also Dr. Claw's, well, claw.
    • The robotic foot that Dr. Bradford was working on at the start of the film, although it isn't attached to anyone.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: Lampshaded by Claw when he has Gadget at his mercy:
    Claw: COMPRENDE!?
    Gadget (sarcastically): 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.
  • The Cameo:
  • Camera Abuse: The GadgetMobile ejects a bug that got caught in his grill and it splatters against the camera.
    • During the end credits when the headless RoboGadget runs into the camera.
  • Catchphrase: "Wowser!"
  • Cat Up a Tree: John is tasked with rescuing several of these while on the police force. Though he feels like the job is beneath him, he nonetheless rescues 13 kittens before asking to be reassigned to the Bradford murder.
  • Creator Cameo: Andy Heyward- head of DIC Entertainment and one of the original series' co-creators- makes a cameo as a party guest, credited (appropriately enough) as "Mr. D.I.C.". He and his wife Evelyn (credited as "Trophy Bride") can be seen in the background when the camera zooms onto Gagdet's tethered ear stuck onto a sculpture.
  • Character in the Logo: The logo had Gadget's silhouette inside a gear.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Robo-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.
    • After pulling out Gadget's NSA chip, Claw presses the red button on his claw, crushing it to pieces. When trapped on Scolex's chopper, Gadget launches a pen chamber into the cockpit, which hits the red button, causing the claw to break the controls.
    • When Gadget punches the Gadgetmobile's monitor, the car tries to sock him with an Extendo Boxing Glove. Gadgetmobile later uses it on Claw after he parachutes into the front seat of the car, knocking him into the backseat so it can cage him.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Gadget puts the training he received from the guru to good use in the film's climax. His skill with a pen-gun would have counted as this in an earlier draft (at least if the novelization is anything to go by), but the relevant scene was either cut or not filmed at all.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Coincidentally while Claw is screaming about eating brownies... and waffles.
  • Chubby Chaser: Brenda implies that she was one: she tells Scolex that she "liked him better fat".
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: From Gadget during his fight with Robo-Gadget. Thankfully, he's wearing boxers.
    • Also from Scolex, who loses his briefs to Brain while escaping with Brenda.
  • Composite Character: Sykes is one for the various hulking, dim-witted henchmen from the cartoon show.
  • Cool Car: The Gadgetmobile. Now a 1960s Lincoln Continental, it can talk, it has a giant booster rocket and a Skittles compartment.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Scolex/Claw, who will resort to cold-blooded murder to further his goals.
  • Covered in Gunge: Used so much (toothpaste is the main example), you wonder if it's a private fetish on the part of a producer/director.
  • 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 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 film PG? (Aside from the accidental language, namely, "obtaining the balls", and other innuendo, of course.)
  • Delayed Safety Feature: Played for Laughs when Gadget and Brenda fall off a skyscraper. He frantically tries to find the keyphrase for his parachute and eventually ends up with a Parasol Parachute. They land safely, and then the actual parachute opens.
  • Demoted to Extra: Penny; 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.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The opening credits sequence.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: An early scene has Scolex cause John's car to crash into a Yahoo! billboard, causing it to topple onto the former's limo. The "Yahoo!" jingle even plays as it falls.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Not from Gadget, but instead from Scolex, who went out of his way to build a robotic version of Brenda who was programmed with a Motor Mouth for reasons we dare not explore. She ends up blabbing everything to the real Brenda without a second thought.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Despite the name, Dr. Claw doesn't actually have a claw in the cartoon, he just wears spike gauntlets. Here, he lives up to his namesake, having a claw replace his left hand after it's crushed.
  • Disney Death: Happens to John when Claw removes the chip that powers his robotics and dumps him in the dump. He is revived by The Power Of Life after Brenda kisses him.
  • The Ditz: Inspector Gadget, but slightly less so than in the cartoon. The Mayor of Riverton also has shades of this.
  • Doorstopper: The manual to John's robot upgrades is at least two feet thick — and it's just volume one.
  • Dream Sue: At the beginning of the movie, Gadget imagines himself as a super cop. Apparently this happens regularly, as pointed out by Penny.
  • Dull Surprise: "Dull" is stretching it a bit, but Brenda nonetheless reacts remarkably well at the appearance of her robotic lookalike, designed by the man who hired her. And this is all before she even finds out what he did to her father.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Claw's reveal.
  • Enormous Engine: The jet engine deployed by the Gadgetmobile.
    Gadgetmobile: Better buckle up, Penny. This car's got only two speeds. "Fast" and "Whoo! What was that?"
  • Everyone Can See It: John's feelings towards Brenda are so obvious, both the GadgetMobile and Penny see it, to John's surprise.
  • Evil Is Hammy: You can tell Rupert Everett is having an absolute blast as Claw.
  • Evil Plan: Acquiring Gadget Technology so he can sell it on the black market and acquiring his crush.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Scolex's tower, portrayed by the highly ornate One PPG Place in Pittsburgh.
  • Extendo Boxing Glove: The GadgetMobile uses one on John after John tries to take control of him. He also uses it on Scolex at the end of the film.
  • Failed a Spot Check: No one, be it strangers on the street or the chief of police, notices RoboGadget's obviously fake teeth, odd movements and motors making noises and think he's the real Gadget.
  • Fainting: Kramer faints as he's asked to essentially murder John Brown.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Claw, who goes from suave and debonair to boastful condescension at the drop of a hat.
  • Fingore: Claw has the fingers of his left hand crushed early in the first film.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: RoboGadget's favorite gadget seems to be the flame thrower that comes out of his sleeve.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Gadget doesn't think to use his iconic Gadget Copter to bypass Robo-Gadget's You Shall Not Pass! ploy on the bridge. Nor does he think to use it when Robo-Gadget has him clinging to one of the bridge's supports, a good 100 feet in the air, by his fingertips. The worst part is that, after Gadget has defeated Robo-Gadget and gotten back to ground level, what's the first thing he does? "Go-Go Gadget Copter!"
  • 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 as well as the implication that he might have been teased for being fat in his youth, he has no other deeply personal motivations for his crimes.
  • Frame-Up: Scolex creates Robo-Gadget to terrorize Riverton and pin the blame on the real Gadget. Unfortunately for Scolex, Quimby is convinced otherwise when Penny and Sykes tell them the truth.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Brenda and her father who worked together to create the technology for creating Inspector Gadget.
  • Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic: Gadget has an entire cybernetic body stuffed with all manner of bells and whistles, yet it's otherwise indistinguishable from the human form. Meanwhile, Claw is mostly human, but has replaced his left hand with a sinister, ferocious-looking, stainless-steel pincer that's as much a weapon as an appendage (to be fair, he does have a more conventional-looking prosthetic hand he can use when he's out in public).
  • Grammar Nazi: Scolex.
    Gadget (sarcastically): Yeah! I comprende!
    (Scolex winces in barely-controlled fury)
    Scolex: No, no, no. I comprend-o. Yo comprendo. Conjugate the verb, for pity's sake. Kramer, pull the NSA chip before he butchers another language!
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: John has one that comes out of his hat. He uses it twice throughout the film: One to stop an escaped convict, and the second time to scale a building to warn Brenda about Scolex.
  • Gratuitous Italian:
    • Scolex often uses the Italian words "Arrivederci" and "Ciao".
    • Also, the Brazilian dub uses this for the "comprende" dialogue quoted above, replacing it with "capisce"/"capisco".note 
  • Groin Attack: John Brown AKA Inspector Gadget mistakenly does this to the guru while trying to train his new cybernetic body (he was blindfolded so that he could "visualize his goal"), after the guru tells him to focus on "obtaining the balls" — as in the metal balls on the floor.
    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 a huge ice pack on his crotch]
    Guru: He is not a man, you know. He is a monster!
  • Happy Place: Kramer attempts to go to one of these when he is asked to remove the chip that powers John's robotics, essentially killing him. As he goes to perform the deed, he closes his eyes and imagines himself on a beach with dolphins. It doesn't work and he faints.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Scolex tells Gadget that "in the real world, evil quite often prevails," which is a pretty hard truth for those who had to suffer injustice in reality. Fortunately, Gadget proves him wrong.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: John Brown/Gadget is infatuated with the redheaded Brenda Bradford.
  • Heart Symbol: Appears on Gadget's hat.
  • Hook Hand: Dr. Claw.
    • "No no, just... 'Claw'... one word. Like Madonna."
    • "Too bad Hook's already taken, huh?"
  • Human Hammer-Throw: RoboGadget does this to a poor civilian at one point.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Inspector Gadget's robotic clone Robo-Gadget does this to scare a child that mistakes him for the real Gadget.
  • I Am the Noun: Gadget says "I am the Police."
  • Idea Bulb: A literal one pops out of John's hat, with the first notes of Jeopardy! Thinking Music, during his training when he's thinking of what gadget to use to foil jewelry thieves.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Scenes are transitioned with various technological things, like wireframe versions of Gadget's equipment or various mechanical objects.
  • Imagine Spot: Done with thought balloons.
  • I'm Going to Disney World!: Used by Claw and Gadgetmobile.
  • 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 Sykes not revealed that detail about Claw's Evil Plan.
  • Implied Death Threat: When asking Kramer to remove the chip, Claw warns him that he will be "building himself a new head."
  • In Name Only: Save for a few shared names and the fact that the main character has bionic implants, but otherwise bears little-to-no resemblance to the 80s cartoon.
  • Insistent Terminology: GadgetMobile resents being called a "car". He's a crime-fighting machine.
  • Inspector Oblivious: He wouldn't be Inspector Gadget if he weren't. In his first day back on the job, he unwittingly helps two escaped convicts break into a Dodge Viper.
  • Instant Soprano: Happens to the guru trying to train John after his accidental Groin Attack.
  • Insult Backfire: Claw, when told he looked better fat.
  • 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: Gadgetmobile says this... before promptly working with Gadget to stop some car thieves.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Quimby is an Obstructive Bureaucrat who refuses to let Gadget work on the Bradford case. However, he makes the very true point that, contrary to the name he was given, Gadget is not actually a police inspector, or even a trained officer. He is just a security guard turned into a publicity stunt that Quimby now has to put up with.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although Quimby can be amoral towards Gadget, he's ultimately a good guy who's willing to help his friend wherever necessary.
  • Kicked Upstairs: John Brown, a security guard with two years of experience and not the brightest bulb around, is promoted to Police Inspector upon his lifechanging revival.
  • Killed Off for Real: Artemus Bradford, courtesy of Scolex. However, this occurs off-screen.
  • Killer Robot: Scolex designs RoboGadget as a robot whose sole function is to terrorize the city and make Inspector Gadget look bad.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: In addition to the instance between Gadget and RoboGadget (see Aside Glance above), there's this exchange between Scolex and Kramer.
    Scolex: Now all I need is a dashing appellation.
    Kramer: What's that? A hillbilly in a tuxedo?
    Scolex: No, you idiot! It's a nickname.
  • Large Ham:
    • Rupert Everett as Claw, so very much.
    • And Robo-Gadget. Who knew Matthew Broderick could be such a wonderful Large Ham?
  • Lean and Mean: Claw himself, who as we find out was formerly a Fat Bastard.
  • Logo Joke:
    • The Walt Disney Pictures castle is completely mechanical at the beginning; in addition, the arc of light that draws itself behind said castle is replaced by the top half of a cog.
    • The end credits has the walking man from the Caravan Pictures logo, forming his Gadget-Copter and flying off. Kind of a metaphor considering this is the last film from the company.
  • MacGuffin: Bradford's robotic foot. Scolex steals it at the start of the film to duplicate it's technology. John and Penny both try to retrieve it from Scolex later in the film to prove his guilt.
  • Meaningful Name: A Scolex is the front end of a tapeworm.
  • Male Gaze: As she retrieves his manual while explaining his mechanics, Brenda bends over with her butt in full view and this causes Gadget to screech like a monkey.
  • Mad Scientist: Artemus and Brenda Bradford, whose company started Project Gadget, are heroic. Baxter, in the sequel, is more of a "mildly-eccentric scientist" in the employ of Riverton's police department.
  • Mayor Pain: According to Mayor Wilson, Chief Quimby was calling her "Evil Gidget" behind her back.
  • Mighty Roar: Robo-Gadget emits one during his rampage.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Sykes, who does a Heel–Face Turn after an emotional talk with Penny. Dr. Kramer as well, who gets incredibly uncomfortable at the idea of killing anyone and faints when he is asked to kill John.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Gadget does one in Scolex's lair when he tries to retrieve the stolen bionic foot.
  • Mooks: Sykes and Kramer are Scolex's henchmen.
  • 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.
  • Mythology Gag: Scolex's very first appearance is set up almost exactly like how Claw typically appeared in the cartoon — facing away from the camera (with only his arm and hand visible, and a fancy-looking ring on his finger), watching a screen, with his Right-Hand Cat nearby. His voice is also very low and ominous, though not like the cartoon's almost-guttural voice.
    • Scolex's skyscraper is shaped like a castle. In the cartoon, Claw's usual lair was in fact in a castle on a mountain somewhere. (Unusually, they didn't make the building appear like that— PPG Place was designed like that already, which may explain why they chose Pittsburgh as a filming location.)
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: The Gadgetmobile knows how John really feels about Dr. Bradford.

  • No Fourth Wall: "It's a Disney movie!"
    • There's also the extremely awkward Aside Glance to the audience Scolex and Kramer make to the audience while mocking Gadget.
  • Noodle Implements: Part of the rebuilding sequence involves a wheelbarrow of garden hoses.
    • Where do you think the toothpaste comes from? Now, the Slinkies, Tinketoys 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.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Artemus has a quick moment of terror when he realizes that Scolex is going to kill him.
    • John utters "Oh, boy..." before Scolex's cigar explodes right near his Chevette. Barely an instant later, Scolex has one when the bowling ball crushes his hand.
    • Gadget when he realizes that he unintentionally helped the jailbreakers get into the Dodge Viper so they can escape.
    • Gadget has one when he unintentionally sets off the laboratory alarm at the worst possible time when he tries to recover the foot. Then, Sykes gets one when he wakes up to discover Gadget on the TV monitor. Gadget has another one seconds later when Sykes lowers the door to prevent him from escaping and when he encounters the robots that killed Artemus.
  • Oil Slick:
    • Subverted by Gadget, whose oil slick actually sprays toothpaste.
    • Played straight with Scolex's limo, complete with "oil slick" button on the dash.
  • Only One Name: "Just Claw. One word. Like Madonna."
  • Overused Running Gag: The gag of the hearts popping up on Gadget's hat showing he's in love happens several times.
  • Ow, My Body Part!: Sanford Scolex shrieks this as the bowling bowl crushes his left hand.
  • Pedal-to-the-Metal Shot: Not a pedal, but pulling hard on the Gadgetmobile's "jet thruster release" handle has the same effect. Later on, Brenda slams down hard on the brake when they catch up to Claw's limo.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: During the climax, Gadget manages to thwart Claw's escape by throwing a pen into the latter's helicopter, hitting his claw hand and forcing it shut, crushing the chopper's control stick.
  • Police Are Useless: The cops are completely helpless to stop Robo-Gadget's rampage across Riverton. They've also been unable to track down Bradford's killer throughout the whole movie.
  • The Power of Friendship: When Penny reaches out to Sykes near the end, prompting his Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Power of Love: Gadget is brought back to 'life' with a kiss.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Shortly after stealing the robotic foot from the Bradford laboratory, Scolex says "Arrivederci, professor" and kills Artemus.
  • 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!
    • Gadget is featured on the cover of The Sharper Image catalog.
    • The Gadgetmobile also dispenses Skittles and Coke products.
    • One of the cars in the beginning belongs to Pennzoil.
    • McDonald's.
    • There is a Sony television at Sykes' room.
  • Read the Freaking Manual:
    • John's robotic upgrades comes with a comically oversized manual that John barely skims for a moment before deciding he has it all figured out. Of course this leads to John consistently summoning the wrong gadget or using it incorrectly. Brenda calls him out for this when he can't figure out the what gadget to call out when they're falling off a building.
    • Apparently the GadgetMobile also has a manual and he calls John out for pressing his buttons before reading it.
  • Remake Cameo: Don Adams, the classic voice of Inspector Gadget in the original series, voices Brain in a brief credits scene.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: Youngstown's "I'll Be Your Everything," which existed before the film but still used a sample of the theme song for its hook. A newer version was recorded for the movie, with more uses of the sample and lyrics alluding to the plot, as well as some of the more suggestive lines removed.
  • Research, Inc.: Bradford Labs
  • 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.
  • The Reveal: Claw's face is fully seen by the audience all throughout the movie, as opposed to it being constantly obscured in the cartoon. In his first scene, it is barely concealed by the shadows before he emerges with it fully uncovered.
  • Robot Girl: Robo-Brenda..!
  • Robot Soldier: Scolex plans to build an army of these using the technology from the Gadget Project.
  • Rollerblade Good: Gadget's shoes can inexplicably turn into rollerblades with tiny gas-powered motors attached. The sequel ditches this for an even more implausible scooter, which comes out of Gadget's shoe.
  • Rummage Fail: John fails to summon the correct gadget several times.
  • Shotgun Dance: RoboGadget invokes this on John during their confrontation.
    "You know how to dance, don't you?"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The knob for the helmet voltage goes up to 11.
    • 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.
    • Minion Kramer's hair is reminiscent of another Kramer.
    • Mayor Wilson says that Chief Quimby calls her "Evil Gidget" behind her back.
    • The plot shares many similarities with RoboCop (1987).
    • "Let's see what you can do, Gadgetmobile, because I feel the need, the need for speed."
    • Early on Gadget is described as "Columbo and Nintendo all rolled into one".
  • Soft Glass: When Gadget tries to rollerblade his way out of the lab, Sykes lowers a glass door to prevent him from escaping. Despite shattering the glass, no visible injuries are present on Gadget.
  • 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.
  • Spit Take: Chief Quimby does this after drinking a cup of coffee after a kitten had been drinking from it.
  • Spring Coil: John summons these in order to chase after a criminal.
  • Sticky Shoes: John uses suction cup shoes to walk across the ceiling to retrieve the robotic foot from Scolex Industries.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Played for laughs. Brown asks Chief Quimby when he'll be put on the big case. 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.
  • Surveillance Station Slacker: Sykes is asleep in front of the security monitors as John is trying to steal the robotic foot from Scolex Industries. Well, until John sets off the laboratory alarm, at least...
  • Swiss-Army Appendage: Claw can take off his mechanical pincher-hand and replace it with cosmetic ones for different occasions. Claw only uses one of them once, much preferring the titular claw.
  • Tae Kwon Door: When John tries to escape Scolex Industries with the robotic foot, Sykes closes the door on him, which he bursts through.
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: The Gadgetmobile.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When John pursues Scolex, Thelma says "This isn't going to end well."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Robo-Brenda, so much so that she actually flips herself off the roof of a skyscraper. She actually does survive, though.
  • Translator Collar: Brain is shown to have one in the post credit scenes, which they for some reason forgot about and had to re-invent for the second film.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: Sykes' minion support group seen during the credits.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked for Robo-Gadget — compared to the real Gadget, his skin is a bit more plastic-looking, his eyes are blank, his teeth are perfectly straight, white and aligned, his movements are stiff, and he has physical tics. It all acts as a tip-off this is not a real human being. Despite this, no one can tell he's not the real Inspector Gadget.
  • Verbal Backspace: When Brenda is explaining to John how to summon his gadgets, he starts to tell her that he doesn't like the summoning phrase, until Brenda explains that it was her deceased father's idea, and then suddenly he loves it.
  • We Can Rule Together: Robo-Gadget to the real Gadget.
  • Wet Cement Gag: John lands face first in some wet cement while chasing after a criminal.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Claw was captured, Sykes went to rehab... so what happened to Kramer? The novelization states he ended up in a hospital.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Averted. Unlike the original series' ambiguous location of Metro City, this one is set in the equally fictional city of Riverton, Ohio (though it's actually filmed in Pittsburgh- perhaps it's the Pittsburgh equivalent of an alternate universe?).
  • A Wizard Did It
    • Dog translator collar? Supercop cybernetics? Cybernetic control chip? Dr. Bradford and her father did it. Even Kramer's work is based on duplicating her work. It even turns out that Dr. Claw's whole reason for losing weight, getting rich, and being a supervillain was to find a way to impress her (he's fancied her since they went to boarding school together).
  • Worst Aid: In an early trailer, John flatlines 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.
  • You're Insane!: Brenda say this to Claw near the end of the film. He calmly agrees.
  • You Killed My Father: Quoted during the climax:
    Claw: So what's new?
    Brenda: Hel-LO, you killed my father!

Alternative Title(s): Inspector Gadget