Inspector Gadget 2Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 05/16/04 14:13:45
It was a bored and skeptical me who sat down to experience the two latest releases from Disney's (seemingly open-all-night) Direct-to-Video-Sequel Division.Apparently not content to litter the video stacks with atrocious Cinderella 2 video Little Mermaid 2 sequels Lion King Christmas to their animated classics, this division has now set its sights firmly on the no-pressure business of sequels to cartoon properties not created by, but currently owned by the far-reaching Mouse House.
In other words, they're running out of animated movies worth sequelizing, so that explains why we're now being offered titles like George of the Jungle 2 and Inspector Gadget 2. How we've never been subjected to a direct-to-video sequel of that My Favorite Martian movie is simply beyond me. But now when Disney does make one, they owe me some residuals for the brilliant idea.
All you need really know about Inspector Gadget 2 are the following things:
1. The original Inspector Gadget, released theatrically in 1999, featured an ill-fitting Matthew Broderick in the title role and grossed about $100 million at the North American box office.
2. That film was based on a limp-yet-rather-popular cartoon series from 1983, which easily explains the impressive box office tally.
3. The sequel, the brilliantly titled Inspector Gadget 2 replaces Matthew Broderick with someone infinitely less talented and frankly quite obnoxious: French Stewart. So if the cancellation of Third Rock from the Sun has you itchin' for more of French Stewart's "comedic talents" - I'm sorry to report that Inspector Gadget 2 is basically the only place to get your fix. But keep checking Hollywood Squares; he's bound to show up any minute.
Since the defining trait of Inspector Gadget is that he's a gizmo-laden robot who only looks like a man, you can safely assume that that's all the Disney Sequel Folks needed to know. Hire a desperate actor willing to withstand a whole LOT of green-screen work, and there's your movie: a bumbling detective who has rockets shooting out of his hat and wheels popping out beneath his feet as he sits in a computer-generated car that talks like a sassy black guy. Oh, and there's pink goop flying everywhere.
It would all be a lot more fun if it weren't so damn lifeless. In a casual deference to 'plot', this Part 2 introduces a new-fangled lady Gadget who might just make our "hero" all but obsolete, just so the audiences can be sure that the screenwriters have all seen Terminator 3 and Robocop 2 or basically any sequel in which one cool robot is now being threatened by an upgrade. Of course Gadget's growling nemesis, The Claw, gets involved with some badness that must be thwarted. It's all very tiresome, trust me.
Featuring a truly awful screenplay and more overbaked CGI detritus than you can shake a claw at, Inspector Gadget 2 is a loud, leaden, garish and oppressively off-putting experience. The lead is nothing but a keening cipher, the narrative clearly has no intention of making sense, everything is beholden to the copious goopy layers of CGI stupidity. There's no heart, no wit and certainly no real sense of fun.The original Gadget flick was extremely mediocre and instantly forgettable. This money-grab video-sequel is a whole new kind of awful, and it's the kind of DVD release that should come with a free coupon of Advil as part of the product placement.
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