Inspector Gadget (film)

Inspector Gadget is a 1999 American comic science fiction action film directed by David Kellogg and written by Kerry Ehrin and Zak Penn from a story by Ehrin and Dana Olsen. Loosely based on the 1983 animated television series of the same name, the film stars Matthew Broderick as the title character, Rupert Everett as Dr. Claw, Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny and Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby. Three new characters were introduced such as Dr. Brenda Bradford (played by Joely Fisher), Mayor Wilson (played by Cheri Oteri) and the Gadgetmobile (voiced by D. L. Hughley). The film tells the story of how Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw came to be. It 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
Inspector gadget ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Kellogg
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onInspector Gadget
by Andy Heyward
Jean Chalopin
Bruno Bianchi
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyAdam Greenberg
Edited by
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution[1]
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • July 23, 1999 (1999-07-23)
Running time
78 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$90 million[3]
Box office$134.4 million[3]

Produced by Caravan Pictures and DIC Entertainment (which was owned by The Walt Disney Company at the time of production), the film was released theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures on July 23, 1999. It was the last film produced by Caravan Pictures, before the company merged into Spyglass Entertainment. It was also dedicated to the memory of production designer Michael White who died on January 19, 1999 in Los Angeles during production of the film at the age of 36. The film was a moderate box office success with a worldwide gross of $134.4 million against a $90 million budget, despite receiving negative reviews from critics. It was followed by the 2003 direct-to-video sequel Inspector Gadget 2, though only one of the original cast members (D. L. Hughley) reprised his role.


John Brown lives in Riverton, Ohio, with his niece Penny and her pet beagle Brain. Dreaming of becoming a police officer, John works as a security guard for the Bradford robotics laboratory. Artemus Bradford and his daughter Brenda are designing a lifelike robotic foot as part of the Gadget Program, designed to add android officers to the Riverton Police Department. Sanford Scolex, a tycoon, steals the foot to build an army of androids from its technology, assassinating Artemus. John chases after Scolex’s limousine in his hatchback, but both vehicles crash. John is blown up in his car by Scolex, but a bowling ball launched from the wreck crushes Scolex’s left hand. Scolex receives a mechanical claw from his associate Kramer, taking on the alias “Claw”.

Brenda decides to make the barely alive John the first test subject of the Gadget Program, transforming him into a crimefighting cyborg with the alias of “Inspector Gadget”, powered by a control chip. He is helped by the Gadgetmobile, a robotic car with a chatty AI. At a charity ball, Scolex approaches Brenda, having known her at Harvard, inviting her to work for him in her own laboratory. Brenda accepts, much to Gadget’s dismay. Police chief Quimby is unimpressed with Gadget, assigning him to menial assignments rather than investigate Artemus’ murder. Gadget investigates on his own, finding a piece of scrap metal which he later connects to Scolex, with help from Penny.

Claw uses Brenda’s research to build his own android, “Robo-Gadget”, sending him out on a rampage across Riverton to frame the real Gadget. Gadget himself infiltrates Claw’s lab to recover the foot, but is caught and deactivated, Claw breaking his chip. Claw’s minion Sykes dumps Gadget in a junkyard, then is tasked to dispose of the foot. Brenda encounters her own robotic doppelganger, Robo-Brenda, who confirms Claw stole the foot and murdered her father. Brenda, Penny, Brain, and the Gadgetmobile track Gadget to a junkyard. A kiss from Brenda awakens Gadget, proving his will can control his new body.

After dropping Penny and Brain off at home, Gadget and Brenda chase Claw and Robo-Gadget’s limo. Gadget and Robo-Gadget fall off the roof and duel on a bridge, until Gadget removes the latter’s head, tossing it into the river, though Robo-Gadget’s body runs off.

Brenda crashes the Gadgetmobile into Claw’s limo, but is taken prisoner. Claw tries to escape in a helicopter, but Gadget appears using his helicopter hat to intercept. Claw destroys it, forcing Gadget to use an improvised weapon to damage Claw’s claw and the helicopter. Brenda leaps out of the helicopter onto Gadget’s back, but they fall down the side of Scolex’s skyscraper, using a parasol to land safely. Claw parachutes down, but lands in the Gadgetmobile. The police arrive to arrest Gadget, but Penny appears with a repentant Sykes, who confesses to his crimes. Saluted by Quimby, Gadget departs with Brenda and Penny, as Claw vows revenge.


During the "Minions Anonymous" scene in the credits, the henchmen include Mr. T and Richard Kiel (who is credited as the "Famous Bad 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", Bobby Bell as the "Famous Identifier of Sea Planes", Hank Barrera as the "Famous Native American Sidekick", Jesse Yoshimura as "Bane of the Bumbling, Idiotic Yet Curiously Successful French Detective's Existence, John Kim as "Son Before Second Son", and Keith Morrison as the "Famous Assistant to Dr. Frankensomething".



Universal Pictures at one point had an option on the film rights to the animated television series in 1993. Ivan Reitman signed on to produce with a script by Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman.[4] Inspector Gadget moved to Disney when the film studio bought out DIC Entertainment. At one point, Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly were considered to write and direct. Martin Scorsese was also considered to direct. Disney eventually hired David Kellogg to direct, best known for "The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman" TV commercials and the Vanilla Ice film, Cool as Ice (1991). At one point, Steven Spielberg, a fan of the 1980s cartoon, considered being the film's executive producer, but he was too busy with other films such as Saving Private Ryan.[citation needed]


Cameron Diaz declined the role of Dr. Brenda Bradford in favor of Any Given Sunday.[5] Brendan Fraser was considered for the role of Inspector Gadget, but turned it down on account of working on George of the Jungle, another live-action Disney film based on an animated cartoon. Kevin Kline, Steve Carell, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Robin Williams were also considered for the role. When Steven Spielberg considered being the film's executive producer, his two choices for the role of Inspector Gadget were Chevy Chase and Steve Martin, while the Farrelly brothers choice was Jim Carrey.[citation needed] Lindsay Lohan turned down the role of Penny, due to her working on her first film, The Parent Trap.[citation needed] Eddie Murphy was considered for the role of the Gadgetmobile. Tim Curry, James Earl Jones, Willem Dafoe, Jack Nicholson, John Lithgow and Dennis Hopper were considered for the role of Doctor Claw.[citation needed] Louis C.K. auditioned for a role as a police officer.[citation needed] Frank Welker provides the vocal effects of Brain and Mad Cat, reprising the roles from the original animated series.


After a test screening, the film was cut to 78 minutes from the original 110-minute version.[6][failed verification]

The GadgetmobileEdit

The Gadgetmobile, designed by Brenda Bradford, is a white & chrome 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible instead of a Matra Murena/Toyota Celica hybrid from the cartoon and can't transform from a minivan to a police vehicle and often drives by itself. It has an artificial intelligence with a male persona. Like most anthropomorphic cars, "his" front bumper is his mouth and he has eyes in his headlights. However, unlike those cars, who have two eyes, he has four. He also has a face on a computer screen on the dashboard and a license plate that reads "GADGET". Among other things, he can camouflage himself, has a radar system to track Gadget's location (and other people's as well), can extend his tires upwards, has retractable jail bars in his back seat (for transporting criminals), a vending machine (options on this include Skittles, M&M's, Surge, Sprite, Coca-Cola and McDonald's), police lights hidden in the hood that mechanically move onto the windshield, and a jet engine he keeps in his trunk. His artificial intelligence has a laid-back personality. The Gadgetmobile openly breaks the law constantly (he is a particular fan of backturns), but claims it is okay: "Speed limits are for cars, not the Gadgetmobile." Comedian D. L. Hughley provides his voice.


The soundtrack of the film, composed by John Debney, contains the singles "All Star" by Smash Mouth and "I'll Be Your Everything" by the boy band Youngstown.[7]

Home mediaEdit

Inspector Gadget was released on VHS and DVD on December 7, 1999,[8] and re-released on DVD May 27, 2003 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.


Box officeEdit

The film was a moderate box office success with a worldwide gross of $134.4 million worldwide, against a budget of $90 million.[3] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $21.9 million, finishing in second at the box office behind The Haunting ($33.4 million). In the United Kingdom, it grossed just over £7 million.

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 21% based on 63 reviews, with an average rating of 3.97/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Despite an abundance of eyecandy, the film doesn't amount to much."[9] Metacritic reports a weighted average score of 36 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times stated that it "wastes a lot of good talent".[12] In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four[13] and mentioned that fans were angered when Dr. Claw reveals himself in the movie.[failed verification] Ian Freer of Empire Magazine gave the film a two out of five stars, saying, "Something more engaging would not have gone amiss."[14]

At the 1999 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, the film received five nominations: Worst Picture, Worst Director (Kellogg), Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy, Worst Resurrection of a TV Show, and Least "Special" Special Effects.

Expanded franchiseEdit


Inspector Gadget 2 is a 2003 made-for-video sequel to Inspector Gadget, with French Stewart taking over the title role. It follows Gadget getting a replacement named G2 (Elaine Hendrix) who is a woman-like version of Gadget. Meanwhile, Claw gets out of prison and plans to steal gold from the United States Treasury, so it's up to Gadget, Penny, Brain and G2 to stop Claw's plans.

The sequel drew more from its source material than the original film and also experienced a slightly improved critical reception, earning a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 5 reviews. The film was released on March 11, 2003.


In May 2015, it was announced that a new film with a rebooted version of the character is currently in development. It will be by Disney, with Dan Lin producing it.[15][16] In October 2019, Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell were hired to write the film.[17] In January 2020, it was confirmed that the reboot would premiere on Disney+.[18]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Inspector Gadget (U)". British Board of Film Classification. August 19, 1999. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Inspector Gadget (1999) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Marx, Andy (April 30, 1993). "U plans live-action 'Gadget'". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Fleming, Michael (May 12, 1998). "Broderick, Everett gear up for 'Gadget'". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  6. ^ "Inspector Gadget". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Inspector Gadget (1999) Soundtracks Soundtrack Credits". IMDb. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  8. ^ Whitworth, Donovan (September 24, 1999). "Walt Disney Home Video's 'Inspector Gadget' Springing to Sellthrough in Time for Holiday Sales". Archived from the original on October 4, 1999. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  9. ^ "Inspector Gadget (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  10. ^ "Inspector Gadget Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  11. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Inspector Gadget" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  12. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (July 23, 1999). "Film Review – The Adventures of a Justice-Seeking Gizmo". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  13. ^ Roger Ebert (July 23, 1999). "Inspector Gadget".
  14. ^
  15. ^ IANS (May 25, 2015). "'Inspector Gadget' live-action reboot in the works" – via Business Standard.
  16. ^ Disney will produce a new Inspector Gadget Film
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (October 4, 2019). "New 'Inspector Gadget' Live-Action Movie in the Works From Disney (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  18. ^

External linksEdit