What You Need To Know:
Christian worldview with some pagan elements; four exclamatory Oh God's; action cartoon violence; mildly frightening scenes with villains including explosions, blows on body parts, pratfalls, & frightening situations; romantic attraction but no explicit sexual activity; no nudity; no alcohol; no drugs; and, good triumphs over evil.
INSPECTOR GADGET is a good-hearted movie with many positive virtues and lots of good special effects but it never seems to go beyond its cartoon roots. My son Jim calls it nostalgia for his age group. If so, it might find an audience.
It tells the story of a kind-hearted security man named John Brown who wants to do good and believes the best way to do that is by joining the police force. In spite of his good intentions, however, he doesn’t have what it takes.
John serves as a security guard for an inventor and his daughter who are trying to develop a robotic policeman. When the villain, Sanford Scolex, decides to steal the top secret robotic research, the inventor is killed, and John goes off to apprehend the villain. In the process, Sanford loses his hand, and John gets blown to smithereens. However, the inventor’s daughter, Brenda Bradford, decides that, for his bravery, she will reconstruct John as the robotic Inspector Gadget. Meanwhile, surrounded by his minions, Sanford gets a claw to replace his missing hand.
It takes a while for John to deal with his new identity, especially his Gadgetmobile car, which has a sassy personality. His niece, Penny, whom he trying to rear, actually takes care of John. Eventually, he discovers that Sanford is the villain. Sanford constructs a demonic, mean-spirited robotic version of Inspector Gadget called Robo-Gadget, and there is a big fight to the finish.
There are many positive elements in this movie. Inspector Gadget literally has to be brought back to life, in effect he is resurrected, and clearly it is a miracle which includes love. Later, Penny, a 13-year-old prodigy, helps Sanford right hand minion overcome his evil nature. Therefore, there is redemption, love triumphs over evil, miracles happen, and the good guys win. When I interviewed Jordan Kerner, who has received many MOVIEGUIDE® awards for his previous films, he himself said they intended to put all these elements into the movie.
Regrettably, however, all these gadget parts don’t seem to make a whole. Just like I’d like to root for the clumsy John Brown, I want to root for this movie, but it does not have a compelling storyline. What it does have are a lot of fantastic special effects which help propel the action and provide some humor along the way.
Furthermore, there are a very few offensive elements. There is one scene which seems to mock eastern religion where a Yogi is trying to teach Inspector Gadget how to use his will power to control his robotic parts by extending his robotic arm to grab a bunch of balls. When Gadget finally gets it, his robotic hand shoots out in a way that clearly hurts the Yogi in his private parts, although this is done off screen. Also, British actor Rupert Everett has an annoying tendency to say “Oh, Gawd!” in the movie in an equivocal fashion.
Aside from that, however, INSPECTOR GADGET is as clean as his police whistle. Thus, it is a welcomed change from the extreme in-your-face scatological humor and foul material of most of this summer’s offerings.
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