Inspector Gadget 2 (2002)

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Released 15-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-French Stewart,Elaine Hendrix (Actors)& Alex Zamm (Director)
Isolated Musical Score
Featurette-Illustrated Gadget
Game-Gadget Training Simulator
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Gadgets Behind Gadgets's Gadget
Deleted Scenes-With optional commentary
Outtakes
Music Video-"Up, Up, Up" by Rose Falcon
Storyboard Comparisons-Bridge Scene
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 85:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alex Zamm
Studio
Distributor
Disney
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring French Stewart
Elaine Hendrix
Caitlin Wachs
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Chris Hajian


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, popular family restaurant prominently featured.
Action In or After Credits Yes, both before title and (briefly) after end credits.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Like many Walt Disney sequels Inspector Gadget 2 is a direct to DVD release. Disney have come a long way in their production of DVDs, where the first film was originally released on a bare-bones disc, this one is presented with an excellent selection of extras. It also has excellent production values and will quite likely please the younger audience it is aimed at (my 3 kids certainly enjoyed it).

    Watching this film also provided an unusual lesson in perception, and the way that what we see is conditioned by our expectations. If, after 60 minutes of viewing, you had asked me what city it was filmed in, I would have answered "somewhere in America, I suppose". True, a few scenes had looked a little familiar, and wasn't that Bruce Spence playing Baxter? Then, staring me in the face, was the Brisbane City Hall. I lived in Brisbane for 20 years, but had expected urban America, and that was what I saw for most of the film. Watching the film a second time was most interesting, as I then spotted all the familiar Brisbane landmarks I had grown up with.

    And Brisbane makes an excellent backdrop to the film. Apart from the three leads, the rest of the cast is Australian, including a nice turn by Sigrid Thornton as the mayor of Riverton. I must say I enjoyed this film on its own terms, it was more like the original cartoon than the first, and the cast seemed to enjoy their roles. Opinion seems divided about the fact that most of the cast has changed from the first film, but if you view this as a fresh start this should not grate. As French Stewart (who plays Gadget) notes in the audio commentary, he viewed his replacement of Matthew Broderick in the title role as something akin to Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton as Batman.

    The story is pretty basic (this is a kids' movie based on an afternoon cartoon show, after all). Gadget is having trouble with his gadgets, so the police department have designed an improved model, G2 (nicely played by Elaine Hendrix). Gadget is keen to work with the attractive new robot, but she coldly notes that "I work alone". On top of this, Gadget's arch nemesis Claw (played by another Australian, Tony Martin) has escaped from jail and is on a quest to rule the world. Gadget's niece Penny (Caitlin Wachs) is keen to help, along with her dog Brain, but Gadget still sees her as a little child. Well, I imagine you can probably work out how it all comes together in the end, but there is lots of fun along the way, and the ending suggests that another sequel might be on the cards.

    The film begins 4 minutes before the opening title, with a very humorous scene between Gadget and a speeding driver (watch out for the kung-fu Granny). There is a brief moment of action after the end credits at 84:57.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This film has an excellent transfer and would serve as an example to other distributors on the sort of picture that should be gracing their DVD releases. As the film was direct to DVD there would not have been much opportunity for any damage on the original print.

    The film is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, 16x9 enhanced (and not the ratio of 1.85:1 noted on the box). This is the same aspect ratio as the Region 1 presentation. One usually reliable source lists the original ratio as being 1.85:1 as listed on the box, but as this is direct to DVD you would think it is being presented the way it was filmed. All scenes appear well-framed, so I will give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that 1.66:1 is correct.

    As mentioned above the picture is exemplary. It is sharp, with excellent shadow detail and no low level noise. The colours are vibrant, with a slight over-saturated look which suits the cartoon inspiration. It looks like a particularly vivid comic book at times and will surely please on a good display.

    There are no artefacts to be found in this transfer except for occasional minor pixelization. The visual effects are excellent but occasionally you can pick up some white outlines around picture elements in composited scenes, but they are infrequent and you have to be looking pretty carefully to spot them.

    The subtitles are close to the spoken word, and the explanation of other on-screen sound effects in the English for the Hearing Impaired track is excellent.

    I did not notice the layer change; it must have taken place during a fade between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As with the picture, the sound on this DVD is excellent, and is close to reference quality.

    There are three audio tracks on the disc. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English Audio Commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0. I listened to both of these soundtracks in full. There is also an isolated Music Score track in Dolby Digital 2.0, which I listened to extensively.

    The dialogue on this disc is clear at all times, with excellent audio sync, and no background or extraneous noise.

    The musical score by Chris Hajian complements the comedic action nicely. It is not especially memorable but makes a significant contribution to the overall effect of the film. Well, when I say not particularly memorable, it nicely incorporates elements of the classic Gadget tune, and I have been humming that rotten thing for days now.

    This is a nicely immersive sound field with the surround channels producing an enveloping presence that incorporates music, positional dialogue, and action effects.

    The subwoofer is a little more restrained than the rest of the speakers, but supports key action moments reasonably well. It is particularly effective in scenes involving explosions and fireworks but could have contributed a little more to the presentation.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This DVD includes an excellent selection of extras. The last few DVDs I have viewed have been devoid of any notable extras. This disc reaffirmed my opinion of how much a good selection of extras can add to the enjoyment of a film. The nine extras are presented in the order they appear in the menus (which are spread across two pages; 6 on the first page, 3 on the second).

Menu

    The menu is animated with music and sound effects. It includes at least three small "Easter eggs" (just move the cursor around a bit and you should find them), including an alternate main menu and some extra action from Gadget.

Illustrated Gadget

    This is an audio-visual presentation of four of the gadgets on Gadget and G2 (so 8 in all). They are each presented on a page with schematics, video examples, and a voice-over from Baxter, the inventor (each is around 1 minute in length). They are pleasant, with one or two humorous lines.

Gadget Training Simulator

    This is the most dispensable of the extras. It is a poorly presented game involving a few object selection exercises, with the odd quiz question thrown in. I have yet to see a game presented well on a film DVD, and this is another dire example.

Behind the Scenes

    These are presented as 13 short snippets which can be viewed separately or in sequence (where they run to 31:59 in total). They cover "The Gadgets Behind Gadget's Gadgets", but also include a lot more general information about the making of the film from cast and crew, including director Alex Zamm. They are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the picture is generally good, except occasionally where the video appears to have been taken from someone's personal video. On the whole they are quite informative and interesting.

Deleted Scenes

    There are 12 of these, and again they can be viewed separately or in sequence, both with or without a director's commentary. They run for a combined total of 10:35, and appear to be presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non 16x9 enhanced (now, what was the original shooting ratio for the film again?). The picture and sound are generally good, which suggests that most of them were cut late in production. In fact, during the audio commentary Alex Zamm mentions that he follows a suggestion from the Marx Brothers while editing films, to make a final cut and then cut another 5 minutes from that for the release version. Most of the deleted scenes fill in more background to Penny's character, and so are not essential to the action of the film, but they are worth watching.

Outtakes

    These are a short (2:51) selection of scenes from the gag reel, and some of them are quite funny.

Commentary track

    The commentary track is presented by director Alex Zamm, French Stewart (who stars as Inspector Gadget), and Elaine Hendrix who plays G2. The sound is generally clear, though occasionally Hendrix is too loud. The track at times includes too much mutual admiration, but is interesting for the view of Australia presented by the American trio. It is obvious they all really enjoyed the experience of working in Brisbane (though they somehow arrived at the conclusion that Mungo is a common Australian name?). There are some insights into the making of the film, and influences for particular scenes, but hey, this is Inspector Gadget we are talking about, so how profound can any of this really be?

Isolated Music Score

    As I mentioned earlier, this is not a particularly memorable musical score, but the music does support the action nicely. I found myself watching (and of course listening to) this more than I thought I would.

Music Video

    It seems that you either love these or hate them. I like them, and this is a nice bouncy presentation from Rose Falcon of Up, Up, Up. It incorporates the commonly used juxtaposition of the performers against scenes from the film. It is presented at 1.33:1 aspect ratio and runs for 2:58.

Storyboard / Film Comparison

    A short (1:51) comparison of the bridge scene near the end of the film with the original storyboards, which revealed that heavy use was made of them during production. There was no explanation given of the use of these boards in film production, so you could be in the dark about what you are being shown if you have not come across their use before.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    Given the PAL picture, and the fact that the director is already present on one commentary track (and has nothing too exciting to say), I feel that the honours are about even.

Summary

    This is a nicely presented DVD. The film itself is entertaining, especially for the younger audience at which it is aimed. The picture and sound are excellent, and it is rounded out with a nice selection of quality extras (well, as long as you forget the game).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

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