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Inspector Gadget is a 1999 American live-action comedy film, loosely based on the series of the same name. It starred Matthew Broderick as the title character, along with Rupert Everett as Dr. Claw, Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny, Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby, and Frances Bay as Thelma Bodkin. 5 new characters were introduced: Brenda Bradford (played by Joely Fisher), Kramer (played by Andy Dick), Mayor Wilson (played by Cheri Oteri), Sykes (played by Michael G. Hagerty), the Gadgetmobile (voiced by D. L. Hughley), RoboGadget (played by Matthew Broderick), and RoboBrenda (played by Joely Fisher). The film tells the story of how Gadget and Claw's origins and how they came to be in the cartoon.

Inspector Gadget was produced by Caravan Pictures and DIC Entertainment and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. This was the last film produced by Caravan Pictures before it absorbed into Spyglass Entertainment.

The film was followed by the 2003 direct-to-video sequel Inspector Gadget 2.


One day in Riverton, Ohio, Jonathan "John" Brown (Matthew Broderick) is working as a police officer when he notices an out-of-control bus with no brakes, with scared people screaming for help inside. He then notices kids walking a dog from school on the street, so he throws the dog away and saves the kids and pulls the bus back and stopping it, thus saving the day. However, the dog is still in danger and John saves it in time by grabbing it and giving it back to the kids. A witness named Brenda Bradford (Joely Fisher) congratulates John and tells him he's a hero. However, the entire thing turns out to be a dream as John and his niece Penny (Michelle Trachtenberg)'s dog Brain wakes John up by licking him in the face. In reality, John works as a security guard at the laboratory run by the robotics scientist Brenda and her father Artemus (René Auberjonois) in Riverton, Ohio. John wishes to join the Riverton Police Department, with full support from Penny and Brain.

Brenda and Artemus create a life-like robotic foot which they can control through thought as a prototype for the Gadget Program. However, tycoon Sanford Scolex (Rupert Everett) attacks the lab, kills Artemus, and steals the foot in his plan to replicate the technology, create an army of machines, and eventually conquer the world. John chases Sanford, but they are both severely wounded, with John being blown up in his car with a stick of dynamite thrown by Sanford whilst the criminal's left hand is crushed by a blue bowling ball blasted out of the latter's car, making him scream loudly in pain. John is rushed to intensive care, with Brenda deciding to turn him into a completely cybernetic man using a computer chip that powers John's in-built gadgetry (à la The Six Million Dollar Man) since she feels that he is "the perfect candidate" for the Gadget Program.

John, now with the name of Inspector Gadget, joins the police squad, which irritates Chief Quimby (Dabney Coleman). He is also accompanied by his talking, intelligent car the Gadgetmobile (voiced by D. L. Hughley) and is forced to do community service assignments when wanting to investigate the Bradford case. Meanwhile, Sanford has been given a prosthetic claw and he renames himself Dr. Claw ("One word. Like Madonna.") after his minions try to give him different names, intending to build the first of his mechanical army using Brenda's technology and hires her to join his business. Unsatisfied with his mediocre work, Inspector Gadget decides to take up the Bradford case in secret and with help from Penny and the Gadgetmobile, he realizes that Dr. Claw is behind Artemus' murder. As he sneaks into Claw's headquarters, Claw completes an evil replica of Gadget named RoboGadget (Matthew Broderick) after hacking into Brenda's systems and stole her research. Gadget is captured by Claw and his minions Kramer (Andy Dick) and Sykes (Michael G. Hagerty), who shut down (and apparently kill) Gadget by removing and crushing his computer chip before dumping him in the junkyard.

RoboGadget goes on a mad rampage across the city whilst Brenda, Penny, Brain, and the Gadgetmobile come across Inspector Gadget in the junkyard. Brenda manages to revive Gadget by kissing him and the group rush to Riverton to stop Claw and RoboGadget. Gadget confronts RoboGadget and they fight across a bridge until Gadget pulls a cord on his counterpart's neck, which makes his head fall off whilst his body runs off. As RoboGadget tries to convince Gadget into letting them be partners and rule the world together, Gadget ignores him by replying he should've quit while "he was a head" and throws the robot's head into the nearby river, apparently killing and drowning it. Soon, Brenda is taken captive by Claw, who tries to make his escape in a helicopter. Gadget appears using his helicopter hat, but he's shot down and suspended from the landing gear of Claw's helicopter above the city. Gadget and Brenda are able to get away by using an umbrella to sail safely to the ground, with Claw following by using a parachute. He is then promptly arrested by the police when Penny appears with a now-reformed Sykes, who hands over the robotic foot to Chief Quimby. Gadget and Brenda become a couple, but Dr. Claw promises Gadget that they'll meet again in the future.

Over the closing credits, RoboBrenda is seen teaching "robo-aerobics", RoboGadget's body is seen running around the streets and then it runs into the camera, Sikes is now in a support-recovery group. and Penny is now equipped with a wrist-monitor, trying to make contact with Brain (voiced by Don Adams). Finally, the Gadgetmobile tells the viewers what happened to him after the end (while also claiming that it was his movie, despite the title being Inspector Gadget).



Cast notes

During the "Minions Anonymous" scene in the credits, the henchmen include Mr. T (who is credited as himself) and Richard Kiel (who is credited as the Famous Big Guy with Silver Teeth, in reference to his role of James Bond's enemy Jaws), as well as Richard Lee-Sung as the Famous Villain with Deadly Hat, Robert N. Bell as the Famous Identifier of Sea Planes, Hank Barrera as the Famous Native American Sidekick, Keith Morrison as the Famous Assistant to Dr. Frankensomething, John Kim as the Son Before Second Son, Jesse Yoshimura as the Bane of the Bumbling, Idiotic Yet Curiously Successful French Detective's Existence, and Aaron Meyerson as himself.

In the party scene, the party guests are played by executive producer Andy Heyward as Mr. D.I.C., Evelyn Heyward as the Trophy Bride, Amy Derrick as the Zoftig Woman, William Smith as the Little Man, David Page as the Flat Top Guy, Jacob Avnet as Flash, Dorothy Davis as Go Girl, and Huck Hackstedt as Mr. Gadget.

Matthew Broderick (Inspector Gadget) and Dabney Coleman (Chief Quimby) previously worked together in WarGames.



The film was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Los Angeles, California, with the ice castle-like main tower of Pittsburgh's PPG Place playing a central role.


Inspector Gadget was a moderate box office success with a worldwide gross of $134.4 million worldwide[1] on a budget of $75 million. It made $75.9 million in its first 4 weeks.[2] In the United Kingdom, it grossed just over £7 million.

Despite the moderate box office success, the film received generally negative reviews from critics and viewers alike. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 21%, based on 62 reviews, with the consensus "Despite an abundance of eyecandy, the film doesn't amount to much."[3] Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times stated that it "wastes a lot of good talent".[4] In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert said that fans were angered when Dr. Claw reveals himself in the film.[5]

The Gadgetmobile

The Gadgetmobile, designed by Brenda Bradford, is based on a 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible instead of a matra maurena car from the cartoon and does not transform from a van to a police car and has an artificial intelligence with a male persona. Among other things, "he" can camouflage himself, has a radar system to track Gadget's location (and other people as well), can extend his tires upwards, has retractable jail bars in his back seat for transporting criminals, and has a powerful engine he keeps in his back trunk. His artificial intelligence also has a laid-back personality. The Gadgetmobile openly breaks the law constantly (he is a particular fan of back turns), but he says it is okay: "Speed limits are for cars, not the Gadgetmobile."

The Gadgetmobile's voice is provided by D. L. Hughley.


The soundtrack of the film contains the single "I'll Be Your Everything" by the boy band Youngstown.


  • This movie only airs on Cartoon Network once.
  • Dr. Claw reveals his face in the movie.
  • Despite negative reviews, the film brought a resurgence of interest in the franchise.
  • Before Broderick was cast to play Inspector Gadget, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Kline, Steve Carell, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Robin Williams were considered for the role. Tommy Lee Jones, Tim Curry, James Earl Jones, Willem Dafoe, Jack Nicholson, John Lithgow and Dennis Hopper were considered for the role of Doctor Claw.
  • Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Nicole Kidman, Helen Hunt, Rene Russo, Anna Nicole Smith and Laura Dern were considered for the role of Brenda Bradford.
  • Lindsay Lohan was considered for the role of Penny Brown.


Main article: Inspector Gadget 2

On March 11, 2003, a direct-to-video sequel called Inspector Gadget 2 was released.


  1. Inspector Gadget (1999) - Box Office Mojo. Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved on March 5, 2011.
  2. "Movies; Branded Into the Scenery; Commentary: Advertising is so much a part of life that it's understandable to find familiar products in films. But sometimes it goes too far.", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2012-05-17. 
  3. Inspector Gadget (1999). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on March 23, 2011.
  4. Van Gelder, Lawrence. "FILM REVIEW; The Adventures of a Justice-Seeking Gizmo", The New York Times, July 23, 1999. Retrieved on August 14, 2010. 
  5. Roger Ebert (July 23, 1999). Inspector Gadget.

External links