Toon Talk: Inspector Gadget 2 DVD
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Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
Inspector Gadget 2 DVD
From Gear to Eternity
The bumbling bionic detective Inspector Gadget first sprung on the scene twenty years ago in his self-titled animated television series. Week after week, the trench-coated sleuth found himself in the middle of the latest evil scheme from his super villainous arch nemesis, Dr. Claw (voiced by Disney mainstay Frank Welker). And although he had an arsenal of gadgets that would pop out of various parts of his body (think of him as a human utility belt), it was usually his perky niece Penny (voiced by Atlantis: The Lost Empire’s Cree Summer) and their faithful dog Brain (also Welker) who did most of the detective work.
With the glib voice of Don Adams (forever remembered as another accident-prone secret agent, Maxwell Smart, in the 60s TV classic Get Smart) and a catchy theme song, Inspector Gadget became a Gen X favorite, spawning a live action film in 1999. Starring Matthew Broderick (blandly mild-mannered as the Inspector, yet mischievously maniacal as his evil doppelganger, Robo Gadget), glamour puss Rupert Everett (as the before-now never seen Claw) and a pre-Buffy the Vampire Slayer Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny, this Gadget proved mildly amusing yet apparently successful enough (at least on home video) to garner the video premiere sequel Inspector Gadget 2, now available.
But I guess it wasn’t quite successful enough to lure Broderick, et al, back to the fictional burg of Riverton. (Only comedian D.L. Hughley returns from the original, as the jive-talkin’, border-lining on offensive, voice of the Gadgetmobile.) Stepping into the springy shoes of Inspector Gadget is 3rd Rock from the Sun’s French Stewart, whose casting throws a monkey wrench into the whole production: instead of the ironic idiocy of Adams or the straight-laced simpleton of Broderick, Stewart chooses to play Gadget … exactly like his 3rd Rock character Harry Solomon, all squinty-eyed and over-the-top foolishness.
IG 2 begins with the Inspector itching for action in his now crime- and Claw-free city. But two events shake up his restless solitude: first, he is introduced to the newest model (super model?) in the Gadget program, a blue-leather-uniform-as-designed-by-Jean-Paul Gaultier-clad robocop (robobabe?) called G2 (fembot Elaine Hendrix) and, as could be expected in this type of comic book escapade, the inevitable escape from prison of the nefarious Dr. Claw (Tony Martin, who’s face, harkening back to the original series, is never clearly seen).
Needless to say, the dim-witted detective is bumped from the case in favor of his state-of-the-art successor, Claw hatches a fiendish plot to rob the Federal Gold Reserve conveniently located in Riverton, Penny (Caitlin Wachs) does most of the investigating but ends up captured by Claw’s henchmen anyway, thereby forcing ‘G1’ and G2 to team-up to save the day and the world, not to mention hatch a little robotic romance on the side.