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Wowzers! They Nearly Got It Right This Time!
on September 10, 2005
Ah, good ol' Inspector Gadget. I have many fond memories of watching with laughter and excitement every Saturday morning as the good-natured, although often times misdirected, Inspector Gadget lumbered around some dangerous building or trap-infested jungle in search of clues that would solve the case-of-the-week. Often times his niece, Penny, and their dog, Brain, would pull some miraculous miracle in the nick of time that would save Uncle Gadget from his impeding doom. Other times, Gadget's typical "slip-up" would actually result in the foiling of Dr. Claw's dastardly deed-of-the-week. Either way, Inspector Gadget's clueless nature is what made the show so enjoyable. That is why when Disney announced they were making a live action movie based on the cartoon, I could hardly wait to see it in theaters.
Unfortunately, my memories of that movie are not nearly as fond as that of the cartoon, and that is why I never watched the sequel (although I hear it was equally as bad, if not worse). The movie lacked the charm of the cartoon, and it hardly seemed to be little more than loosely based off the show. That is why when I heard Inspector Gadget was getting yet another modern day facelift, this time through CGI, I found myself to be far more hesitant in picking up a copy. Surprisingly, my hesitation wasn't warranted.
Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever is by far, the closest thing to the original cartoon that has been released so far. Granted, there is probably enough in the movie to set it apart from the cartoon (such as the Gadget mobile being like the one in Disney's movie, where it talks and is an actual character) but, in my honest opinion, there is enough nods to the cartoon that will satisfy most fans of the original. Inspector Gadget is just as clueless and comical as in the original, and Brain is just as active and crucial to helping Gadget out of the crazy situations he gets himself in (again, unlike Disney's). Poor Chief Quimby gets blown up a couple of times from his self-destruct assignments, Dr. Claw is back to his ol' self with plans for world domination, and his MAD agents are just as useless, although amusing, as ever.
Really, the only major differences between this CGI movie and the cartoon is the Gadget mobile (although it's not nearly as bad as the one in Disney's movie, this one actually has some comical lines and cool stunts!), Penny's character (she doesn't seem nearly as smart or resourceful), and a couple new characters that didn't appear in the cartoon (such as the mayor), but I feel they add to the value of the movie. Another major difference is the original Gadget theme is nowhere to be found! That really disappointed me, as the new theme song doesn't sound nearly as good. It's ironic, the only thing the Disney movie got right was the theme song, and really, the only thing this movie gets wrong is the theme song!
Nonetheless, I was more than satisfied with this new Gadget adventure. I won't spoil the plot, but it's classic Inspector Gadget material, as is much of the world in which the story unfolds. The CGI, while nothing groundbreaking, flows nicely, and the dialogue is bound to bring about some laughter and fond memories. The DVD also comes with some nice bonus features, so it isn't barebones like some DVD's out there! The bonus features include:
Build Your Own Gadget
Inspector's School Of Gadgetry
I haven't checked out all of the bonus features yet, but so far, I'm not disappointed!
As for the bottom line, I can't say for certain every Gadget fan will love this new movie. All I can say for certain is that I enjoyed the movie, and that, in my opinion, it stayed fairly true to the cartoon in most respects. That is why I feel if you enjoyed the cartoon, you'll enjoy the movie, even if you're all grown up now. Heck, I was able to enjoy it even though I'm nineteen and haven't watched the show since I was about nine or so (it's never on anymore! Bring it back!), but hey, that's me. As for the rest of you, I would hope that you'll at least give the movie a chance and rent it... you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised!