Inspector Gadget Mar 26, 2013 22:05:19 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Mar 26, 2013 22:05:19 GMT -5
Matthew Broderick is Inspector Gadget.
When you want to see a horrid bastardization of a TV series, you should look no further than Inspector Gadget. It's so bad and disheartening to its fanbase that I can't recall the last time I've seen a children's film so wretched and unpleasant. It's the kind of picture that is so flamboyantly bad that, after a while, you begin to cringe at the material and begin to drum up ideas on how you could've repaired its broken nature and saved thousands of people from enduring such unspeakable madness.
For starters, let's get this plot out of the way. Matthew Broderick is John Brown, a rent-a-cop security guard who patrols outside the building where two scientists, Brenda (Joely Fisher) and her father (René Auberjonois) are working to construct artificial limbs than can be operated through mind control. The possibilities of such technology catch the attention of Sandford Scolex (also known as "Dr. Claw" and played by Rupert Everett), who steals the functioning limb with plans to replicate it and use it to evil's advantage. Brown, who gets in a horrific car accident while trying to catch Claw, has irreparable tissue damage that can only be fixed by having alternate, technological gizmos put into his body effectively making him "Inspector Gadget." It's now up to him and his sly daughter Penny (a young Michele Trachtenberg) to stop him, allow justice to prevail, etc.
The first problem is the pacing itself; the film moves so fast and so quickly that it could be the direct blame for young children with lower attention spans. The action is manic, the overall material choppy and inconsistent, and with situations happening too abruptly to be taken seriously and ending too quickly with no payoff. Poor Broderick is at the center of this absolute madness, thrown into so many messy, incoherent instances with no rhyme or reason, I can see him going home from the set, everyday, a disgruntled mess that would slave over a bottle of hard liquor.
The second major issue here is the writing, which is worst I've seen in a children's film in a while. For once, it's not for its immaturity, as most films targeted at the youth demographic succeed in, but just for the stench of desperation this film has no problem letting loose. It tries every possible thing, even resorting to disjointed, second-long credit cookies at the end of the picture trying to leave the audience giggling at something. I laughed not a single time during the course of this film; desperation is almost never funny and that alone should be the encompassing message of Inspector Gadget.
There's a term I use when describing unsubstantial movie affairs for children and that term is "fast food filmmaking." It's films that seem to only exist as a cash-grab for a kids-movie-deprived season, often raking in cash from parents who are looking for a quick little babysitter for their youngsters, and in return, they get a film that does nothing but that. Instead of giving them lovable characters, entertaining and memorable fun, and a keenly wrapped moral, they are given nothing but uncreative, unfunny drudgery.
This is a painful exercise to say the least. The imagination that could've spawned a wonderful adaptation of Inspector Gadget is halted by desperately unfunny writing, bland acting, awkward and frantic pacing, and to add one more nail into one more coffin, the transfer from animation to live-action. With the limited the knowledge of the Inspector Gadget TV series that I have, I can say the charm seemed to stem from the limitless possibilities that could be done thanks to the likes of 2D animation. Nudging that eclectic and visually-visceral world into the live-action world simply doesn't translate well. The dizzying sound effects, exhausting use of computer-generated gags, and tiresome slapstick instances never amount to anything aside from frustration and true tedium. With that in mind, and the fact that they completely skewed the villain of the series and provided everything with a shamelessly half-baked treatment goes to show that this particular cinematic gadget needs more than a few tweaks; it needs reprogramming.
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Rupert Everett, Joely Fisher, Michelle Trachtenberg, Dabney Coleman, and D. L. Hughley. Directed by: Dave Kellogg.