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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 63 - Inspector Gadget (1999)

Eight years before Michael Bay would begin to assault my childhood with his despicable Transformers movies, Disney scarred me with its hideous, unfunny and sloppy film adaptation of one of my favorite cartoon characters of the 80’s, Inspector Gadget.  Matthew Broderick is cast as the titular bionic man who just can’t seem to get anything right.  The problem is, occasionally the animated Gadget did, this one... Well, this Gadget is just an idiot.  Completely.  Oh, yeah, and the film is an unfunny mess too.  Cool!

The plot focuses on back story (Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!) when John Brown suffers a near fatal accident, a friend rebuilds his body into a machine with dozens of functions.  He is to use these gadgets to take down the evil Dr. Claw (played by Rupert Everett... Oh! By the way, they show his face!  Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!) These robotic extensions take the form of hideous computer animated objects that in no way fit in with the rest of the film.

The remakes and reboots of the 90’s (and booooy were there a lot of them) were all pretty much horrible.  Many of them are on this list.  This trend died out for the most part, but studios hoping to wring extra cash out of lost franchises occasionally try to push for more and more retreads.  The biggest problem with this genre is the material they try to adapt is more often than not weak at best.  The reason for this is if they tried to make a remake of a beloved show like I Love Lucy or M.A.S.H. (oh... wait...) there would be an outcry and a rejection from nostalgic viewers or pop culture aficionados.  So, the studios opt to resurrect forgotten or already pretty weak programs to make a quick buck.  Now, there are a few exceptions to this rule (the really bad Flintstones movies for instance) but this is usually the case.

This trend is even worse with animated series.  In recent years we’ve seen more and more live action adaptations of classic animated series like Speed Racer, Astro Boy and Transformers.  All of these films are bad, some are really, really bad.  This goes back to the lack of material.  Some franchises could be made into a good movie in the right hands, but the problem is, in marketing these films to mostly younger audiences, they are riddled with ugly CGI and cartoon performances by most involved.  Live action and animation are two very different mediums, and what we accept from cartoon characters may not be equally acceptable from action human beings.  This goes especially for Inspector Gadget because Broderick’s performance is so bad here, this was the film that pretty much knocked him off of the A-List for good.  Well, that and another film from 1998 that just might appear on this list later.

Matthew Broderick was good in a little 1986 film called Ferris Bueller’s Day off.  I think nostalgia goggles have convinced many people that he is a good actor.  I guess the fact that he has starred in mostly really bad films since then (The Lion King and Glory notwithstanding) isn’t a clue that maybe he’s not.  Since, Broderick has been on Broadway and has made fewer and fewer films (I wonder why?).  He is really bad here, completely unconvincing as this robotic agent of justice, he really seems bored, as if he took the role as a bet or something.  The rest of the cast is bad too and even includes (shutter) Andy Dick!  I don’t know what they were thinking with this one.  As if the casting for this one wasn’t bad enough, a straight-to-DVD sequel was made a few years later starring French Stewart as Gadget!  What the hell guys!?

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