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INSPECTOR GADGET 2

Review by Ruth E. Ferguson

Stars:  French Stewart, Elaine Hendrix, Bruce Spence, Caitlin Wachs, and Tony Martin
Director:  Alex Zamm
Audio: 
THX-Certified, ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1, SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo, FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video:  Anamorphic
Widescreen 1.66:1 Color
Studio:  Walt Disney

Features:
  See Review
Length:  88 Minutes
Release Date:  March 11, 2003

“Save it for the judge, perp.” - Inspector Gadget, as he leads a grandmother away in handcuffs.

Film ** ½

In a follow-up to the 1999 film Inspector Gadget, Disney is releasing Inspector Gadget 2 on video and DVD.  This time out French Stewart is in the title role, not Matthew Broderick, but again IG faces his old nemesis, Claw (Tony Martin).  Helping the Inspector out in his crime fighting caper is Penny his niece (Caitlin Wachs), her dog Brain, and the Gadgetmobile. 

But the big surprise for IG is that Baxter (Bruce Spence), his creator, has finally worked out the kinks in the system that causes IG to malfunction constantly.  But rather than upgrading IG’s hardware, they have created G2 (Elaine Hendrix), a female, 100% robotic, blue leather clad crime fighter and they plan to put ole’ IG out to pasture. 

IG2 was filmed in Australia to save money, but obviously, Disney still realized this film was not going to do well enough at the box office so they sent it straight to video and DVD.  It is humorous at times, but generally just too overdone, even for a kid film. 

Video ***

As you might expect with a Disney film, the video is good, but not especially sharp or crisp as one of their premiere titles.  The color palate is designed for young kids so plenty of bright and goofy décor, green kitchen, and purple car – you get the picture.

Audio ** 1/2

The audio is adequate, nothing particularly special about it so I am not sure why they went to the trouble of THX Certified.  The audio is hardly called up on to do much more than let out a few bongs and wowsers.  The music soundtrack is appropriately perky and lively but not overly annoying.

Features ***

The menus and opening title sequence are the best part of the feature.  The main menu actually has two versions, when the first one pops up click on the IG2 logo and a second version of the menu appears.  Also shortly after the film begins a cartoon title sequence appears - makes you wish this was an animated version of the film.  Probably the best stuff on the disc is the special features; after all, it is a gadget themed flick.

Illustrated Gadget Activity – Baxter, the creator of IG1 & 2, and all of their gadgets describes how selected gadgets work. 

Gadget Training Simulator – Think you are ready to join the IG team?  Well, The Gadgetmobile guides you through three missions, which if you successfully complete will earn you a Merit Badge. 

Behind the Scenes Featurettes - Thirteen segments show how they film the various special effects, including the Gadgetmobile, The Claw, fight scenes, including interviews with the actors and cast members.  For tech geeks, this is a lot of fun, for kids it might take too much fun out of everything.

Deleted scenes – Twelve deleted scenes are available, again you can select the individual scene or press play all.  You may watch this with or without the director’s commentary.

Audio Commentary with the director Alex Zamm - Commentaries on bad flicks are always intriguing to me because when you see the end result, it leaves you wondering – what were they thinking? Zamm clearly is a fan of the original TV show and was trying to bring back the spirit of that show to this version of the film.  Also little things like making sure anything violent is presented in a very absurd way to take the edge off of it, and never showing Claw’s face.

Also included is a commentary track with the director and two lead performers, French Stewart and Elaine Hendrix.  There is simply one of those how much fun, how good so and so was, blah, blah type of tracks.

Other special features include: Bloopers, Storyboard to Film Comparison of the final face off, and a Music Video “Up, Up, Up” by Rose Falcon.

Summary:

While the film is not Disney’s best work, the extras are interesting and kids might enjoy watching it at least once.