Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery places Wayne’s World‘s Mike Myers in the title role of a James Bond spoof. The world is being held to ransom for a considerable sum by Dr. Evil (again played by Myers). If they don’t pay up $100 billion, the madman will tunnel into the earth’s core and set off a nuclear warhead, resulting in every volcano erupting simultaneously and signalling the end of the world.
Before this happens though, the action begins in 1967 and Dr. Evil is overplaying his hand once again. To escape our intrepid hero, he climbs into a cryogenic rocket which takes him into space for the next thirty years. However, he didn’t reckon on Powers’ pursuit, freezing himself in time as well until Dr. Evil returned to Earth.
Now it’s 1997, Evil returns and Powers is defrosted. What follows is a series of very funny sketches as Evil takes on the world and Powers tries to put it back to rights. Most of the comedy is derived from Powers trying to apply 60’s logic to a 90’s world and his unquestionable sexual powers amongst the female members of Earth, with plenty of double-entrendre thrown in for good measure.
In the old days, Powers’ girlfriend was Mrs Kensington (played by Mimi Rogers), but in the 90’s it’s her daughter Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley). She vows never to end up in bed with Austin, but you know how the story ends in the regular Bond films… Also, whereas Bond films have bad girls as well as good girls, the bad alternative here is portrayed by Fabiana Udenio as Alotta Fagina (!)
Add to this cameos from several people including Carrie Fisher, Burt Bacharach, Rob Lowe, Susannah Hoffs, Christian Slater and Roseanne’s ex, Tom Arnold and you have a comedy which I thought would be way too over-the-top to be funny before I saw it, particularly since both Wayne’s World 2 and So I Married An Axe Murderer needed much improvements making to them, but one that I found myself laughing out loud to when I did watch it.
Finally, when this first came out, I understood a joke about Prince Charles was meant to be edited out of this film, but I definitely heard one so I presume it’s been reinstated. The reason was that the UK cinema release happened to come on the Friday following the death of Princess Diana. It’s a good job that the John Goodman comedy King Ralph wasn’t released at the same time otherwise we could be living as a republic now :)
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, but while print is as colourful as Austin Powers himself, this disc’s mastering suffers from the same problems as Three Wolves’ other releases, including House On Haunted Hill and Orgazmo, in that there’s a regular and recurring element of the ‘sticking’ problem, giving a jittery picture. Just what is going on in the mastering process and why is no-one spotting this at Quality Control. Or, to the point, doing anything about it? Surely they’ve read these reviews??
Aside from that, the print occasionally looks a little soft on some shots, but that’s due to the filming process. And during Rob Lowe’s cameo, the picture jumps about a bit – not sure who’s at fault there!
The audio is fine, however, with the sound in Dolby Digital 5.1. There’s no split-surround sound effects that sprang out, but there are some cool swingin’ sixties tunes from the impressive opener, Quincy Jones and his Orchestra doing the “Soul Bossa Nova”, through Brazil’s soccer anthem, “Mas Que Nada” and offerings from The Lightning Seeds, The Divinyls, The Cardigans, Space, Edwyn Collins and Susannah Hoffs, to Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”.
The extras are brief, but are as follows:
- Theatrical Trailer (2:03): Cropped to 16:9 and decidedly not HD…
- Alernative Endings: Two of them, running 2:47 and 2:00. They’re not essential, but at least they’re in the correct ratio.
- Deleted Scenes: Two in 4:3 (running 0:59 and 0:45) and one in 2.35:1 (running 1:50). Again, worth a look but nothing revolutionary.
Also, some of these were featured on the 1999 DVD release, but sadly we don’t get the audio commentary track from director Jay Roach plus Mike Myers.
Menus are silent and static, and while Blu-ray menus are meant to flow between each one fluidly, these have been encoded like a DVD menu, making your player jerk between them. There are also no subtitles. On the plus side, though, the menu says there are 12 chapters, but Three Wolves redeem themselves slightly with an odd-numbered 25 across the film.
Running time: 95 minutes
Studio: Three Wolves
Released: June 29th 2015
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jay Roach
Producers: Demi Moore, Mike Myers, Jennifer Todd and Suzanne Todd
Screenplay: Mike Myers
Music: George S Clinton
Austin Powers / Dr. Evil: Mike Myers
Vanessa Kensington: Elizabeth Hurley
Basil Exposition: Michael York
Mrs Kensington: Mimi Rogers
Number Two: Robert Wagner
Scott Evil: Seth Green
Alotta Fagina: Fabiana Udenio
Frau Farbissina: Mindy Sterling
Patty O’Brien: Paul Dillon
Cmdr. Gilmour: Charles Napier
Mustafa: Will Ferrell
’60s Model: Joann Richter
’60s Model: Anastasia Nicole Sakelaris
’60s Model: Afifi Alaouie
Mod Girl: Monet Mazur
Andy Warhol: Mark Bringelson
Johnson Ritter: Clint Howard
Gen. Borschevsky: Elya Baskin
Gary Coleman: Carlton Lee Russell
Vanilla Ice: Daniel Weaver
Quartermaster Clerk: Neil Mullarkey
Go-Go Dancers: Lea Sullivan, Chekesha Van Putten, Heather Marie Wayne, Sarah Christine Smith, Laura Payne-Gabriel
Random Task: Joe Son
Las Vegas Tourist: Tyde Kierny
Casino Dealer: Larry Thomas
Fembots: Cheryl Bartel, Cindy Margolis, Donna W Scott, Barbara Ann Moore, Cynthia Lamontagne
UN Secretary: Brian George
Mrs Exposition: Kaye Wade
Son: Steve Monroe
Dad: Vince Melocchi
Cowboy: Tom Arnold (uncredited)
Therapist: Carrie Fisher (uncredited)
Ming Tea: Susanna Hoffs (uncredited)
Beavis / Butt-Head (voice): Mike Judge (uncredited)
Decapitated Henchman’s Friend: Rob Lowe (uncredited)
Cameo Appearance: Priscilla Presley (uncredited)
Easily Fooled Security Guard: Christian Slater (uncredited)
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.