TL;DR – While it works as a time capsule of the 90s, so much of this film was left back 30 years ago
Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes
Disclosure – I paid for the Binge service that viewed this film
Austin Powers Review –
When you have had a bad week, one reflex you do is go back to old films from your youth. The only issue is that the movies of your youth might often not have the narrative legs you once thought they did, or you are just looking at them with new eyes. This week, the film in this situation is the James Bond spoofing Austin Powers.
So to set the scene, in 1967, somewhere outside of Las Vegas, Dr Evil (Mike Myers) is holding court with his minions, frustrated that none of them has been able to kill the famous British agent Austin Danger Powers (Mike Myers). Meanwhile, in London, after a significant musical number during the credits, Mrs Kensington (Mimi Rogers) lets Austin know that Dr Evil has set a trap for him at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Not wanting to be left out, Austin goes to the club, but Dr Evil is about to escape and has himself cryogenically frozen. In 1997, NORAD is looking at their scopes, and suddenly an object appears, and they discover that Dr Evil has returned, and it is time for the world to need Austin Powers again.
Okay, let us rip that Band-Aid off and clarify that a large section of this film has aged like blue cheese left in the hot Sun. However, some moments still shine through after these 30 odd years. The strength of this film lies in its physical comedy, which is still a delight after all this time. You see this in the reanimation sequence, where the constant urination still brings a chuckle and the opening dance number. As well as this, when it gets deep into the weeds of its James Bond parody, it still hits. It mostly goes after the very old Connery and Moore eras, and those moments where the film goes full-1960s capture that vibe. The best moment comes in the third act, where we get a rerun of a classic Big Bad Evil Lair attack. We get the film’s highlight, with Dr Evil and Scott (Seth Green) talking about just killing Austin, which still holds up on multiple viewings. The vibe and the music help sell everything
However, and it is big, so much of this film does not work outside of those snapshots that have been mined for memes in the modern era. Watching it today and then going ‘oh wow, just some random brown face’ is a surreal feeling as you get wrenched out of the film. Also, when you already know the beats are coming, the whole second act drags to a crawl as we get the genuinely odd love story between Austin and Ms Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley). I am not sure if I noticed how much Venessa swings 180 degrees in an instant. You also start seeing more on the veneer that they tried to slap over the film, and you begin to see the cracks.
In the end, do we recommend Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery? Well, for me, I still have fond memories of sitting down and watching them all with the extended family, and there are chunks that, when someone mentions it, it will always brings a smile. However, going back and watching it today is like walking into a house you used to live in and seeing the peeling paint on the walls. If you liked Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, I would recommend to you Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Austin Powers
Directed by – Jay Roach
Written by – Mike Myers
Based on – Let’s be honest, the James Bond franchise
Music by – George S. Clinton
Cinematography by – Peter Deming
Edited by – Debra Neil-Fisher
Production/Distribution Companies – New Line Productions, Capella International Moving Pictures, Eric’s Boy, KC Medien & New Line Cinema
Starring – Mike Myers, Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Mindy Sterling, Michael York, Fabiana Udenio, Will Ferrell, Mimi Rogers, Joe Son, Paul Dillon, Charles Napier, Elya Baskin, Clint Howard & Neil Mullarkey with Tom Arnold, Carrie Fisher, Larry Thomas, Burt Bacharach, Michael McDonald, Cindy Margolis, Lois Chiles, Christian Slater & Rob Lowe
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13