A human Swiss Army knife, Inspector Gadget was a very animated individual - especially on weekday afternoons when his cartoon played to the after-school crowd. But now Disney has put Gadget into the real world, and although the effects are amazing, you get the feeling this thing just isn't going to fly - even with a helicopter stuck under his hat.
Ever wonder how this cross between human and machine was created? The movie provides the answer to the question the cartoon never asked. In the beginning there was John Brown (Matthew Broderick), a security guard yearning to do real police work. Guarding a lab where Brenda Bradford (Joey Fisher) and her father were doing research on mind controlled robots, Brown was the first to jump to action when the evil Sanford Scolex (Rupert Everett), otherwise known as "Claw", sent in a team to capture Bradford's prized work - a mind controlled foot. When Brown pursued the thugs, his car rolled leaving him an easy target for Scolex's stick of dynamite.
With her father dead, Brenda wants to do anything she can to save the seriously injured man who tried to capture her father's killers, so she puts her robotic research into Brown's body, and turns him into Inspector Gadget. Though an awkward learning period follows, with Gadget sticking his extending head through ceilings and having odd things pop out of his fingers, he soon masters the "go-go-gadget" command.
For children, especially those who have seen the cartoon, Gadget will likely entertain but parents may want to monitor the comic violence. The one death, the result of a light-ray weapon, is not seen. Other concerns include Gadget's misdirected aim when a meditating guru asks him to focus on two balls, reckless driving, dismembered human-like robotic parts, and an evil Gadget clone equipped with machine guns and a flamethrower.
The movie's short length is both a curse and a blessing. A Polaroid print can barely develop in this much time, let alone a character. Yet if a movie can't be good, at least it should be short. "Go-go-gadget credits!"