Oddly enough I was introduced to the character of Austin Powers back with The Spy Who Shagged Me instead of the initial film, The International Man of Mystery. The Spy was incredibly funny to me, but for some reason I never took it upon myself to check out the first film in the franchise and merely stayed content with the sequel. Goldmember got ready to get released in theatres and my anxiousness to see it grew and grew as the time for its debut came closer. Finally it arrived and my humor senses were pleased, but still the first film had yet to be watched by me. I figure that it had been at least five years since hitting theatres and Man of Mystery had to be seen and appreciated for generating two sequels that tickled me beyond all belief.
Little did I know how high the disappointment factor would be. Makes me kind of wonder now if being a tad bit older and more (?) mature would make feel different about the two films that provided me with so many laughs and so much joy. So the main question here is…does the world of Austin Powers still make me horny? Let’s find out.
Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
Austin Powers is an international spy that may have had bad teeth, an awful hairdo, and didn’t look like the hottest man in the world but he was admired and envied by all. Men wanted to be just like him and every woman wanted to be with him and Austin knew it but he loved it. Besides being the playboy of the decade, Austin is also a top-notch spy that does whatever is necessary to bring the bad guys to justice. His arch-enemy, though, always happens to elude capture no matter what Austin throws his way. Dr. Evil may end up getting all of his plans thwarted, but he still is good enough to get out of Austin’s clutches and make his escape. Finally, Dr. Evil has a plan to outwit Austin by freezing himself and launching himself into space only to return and thaw out when Austin is too old to do anything about it. But Austin is one step ahead of the eeeevvvilll genius and also freezes himself so that he can keep up with Dr. Evil and not let him get away again.
Once they are thawed out and ready to battle again, things aren’t nearly as easy as they expected. The world has advanced and they are no longer in the hippie and free-loving times of the past but must now deal with present troubles and money that’s worth a lot more then Dr. Evil ever imagined. Dr. Evil’s marvelous plan of drilling a core to the center of the Earth and planting a nuclear weapon also happens to be long outdated and no longer relevant. Austin, however, may face even bigger problems because the world has changed and his “sexy” ways and charms don’t quite have the same effects they used to. So he’s got to stop Dr. Evil…err, from something and prove to the world that he’s still got it to be sexy, yeah!
People love Man of Mystery and I can’t quite seem to figure out why. Sure it’s funny, but my allegiance lies with Spy Who Shagged Me and more so Goldmember in what is an odd case of the sequels besting the original. Maybe it’s only me, but I’ll tell you that this film seems to be missing a few openings for jokes and the timing appears to be off at times but I blame that on being the first shot at everything. Myers is great but his surrounding cast just doesn’t mesh well with him, and Elizabeth Hurley looks out of place or almost like she feels she doesn’t belong. And let’s face it, she doesn’t. Maybe my intuition told me not to watch MoM for so long, but I’m glad I didn’t and almost wish I hadn’t.
Audio Commentary – Director Jay Roach and Mike Myers sit down for a commentary track that is decent, but nothing too special. During the times they are sharing stories from the shoot or talking about how certain scenes in the film were accomplished, then it gets really fun and light-hearted with a good bit of comedy. But then there are times when the conversation just seems to peter out as if they’ve run out of anything to talk about. It’s a rather hit-or-miss commentary with some fun times and others when you just want to turn it off.
Deleted Scenes Including Alternate Endings – Nothing that was left out of the film would have done anything to make the completed picture any better. It’s good that all of this was left out and the final ending was the chosen one.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Now hear me out here when I say that The Spy is better then MoM because it’s almost as if my opinion is ass-backwards compared to other people who’ve watched this collection. This sequel did bring back a lot of the same jokes and recycled gags that were in the first film and the trend would actually continue into Goldmember, but now they just seem funnier. I believe it was because they had gotten first round under their belt and now had better timing as well as a better lead actress in Heather Graham. Not to mention that she’s much better looking then Hurley who reminds me of a man at times. Oh and did I mention Mini-Me? Because Mini-me appears for the first time and brings about a whole new line of jokes.
This film starts off exactly where the first stopped and sees Austin on his honeymoon with Vanessa and ends up putting him right back into the single bracket again. To make matters worse, Dr. Evil has returned from the coldest depths of space and is looking to cause more trouble but now he’s got a secret weapon. Dr. Evil managed to go back in time and steal Austin’s mojo making the secret spy incredibly insecure and not as sure about himself in every aspect of life. In order to counteract the evil deeds that Dr. Evil has done, Austin finds out that British Intelligence also has a time machine and needs to go back in time to make things right. He must go back, retrieve his mojo, get back to his old ways, and stop Dr. Evil’s plans once again. Things won’t be nearly that easy though because not only is Mini-Me biting at Austin’s ankles, but a giant obstacle is in Austin’s path to making things right. His name is Fat Bastard.
The Spy Who Shagged Me is what I consider to be the turning point of the Austin Powers‘ trilogy because it isn’t all funny, but it’s finally got the right idea that wasn’t there in the first film. Fat Bastard and Mini-Me honestly add so many new jokes and just seeing them on screen is funny enough that they barely need to talk in order to bring about the humor. Bring up Austin Powers to someone and chances are you will have nine out of ten people say a line from Fat Bastard’s part of the script. It’s just the way it is because this film is just better and knows what Man of Mystery was missing.
Audio Commentary – Director Jay Roach and Mike Myers are joined by writer Michael McCullers this time around for the commentary track and his presence actually makes things a little bit better, but not by much. In the same way that the track for International Man was; this one has some great stories when they actually appear to give a damn to be talking about things. Sadly the conversation dies five minutes after each story and goes off into boredom or silence.
Groovy Deleted Scenes – Nothing of much interest here that could have made Spy any better then the final cut, but there are some pretty funny scenes here none the less. These are well worth checking out and actually make me wish there had been a gag reel included or something. You just know that with people like Myers on the set, there was a ton of joking around and improving.
Behind The Scenes Featurette Gallery – Pretty basic “making” stuff here with footage from behind the scenes and comments from cast and crew as to how the shoot went. (26:00)
Comedy Central Can Hammed: The Dr. Evil Story – By far the funniest special feature so far because it takes a “real” look at the arch-enemy of Austin Powers, Dr. Evil. This story comes off as a documentary and all interviews and footage is shown with everyone in character from the film making it all even funnier. Not only do we get the thoughts on Dr. Evil from others, but there is a look into his past and where he came from. Well worth the time spent to check it out. (20:00)
Madonna “Beautiful Stranger” Music Video
Lenny Kravitz “American Woman” Music Video
Mel B “Word Up” Music Video
Dr. Evil And Mini Me “Just The Two Of Us” Music Video
Austin Powers In Goldmember
The final part of our shagadelic trilogy here is by far the funniest. At least in my opinion it is, because I can’t help but laugh at the actual character of Goldmember whenever he’s on screen. If you’re looking for something with more of a plot or a better storyline then you’re not going to get it here because all they did was throw in more characters and even more insane crap like secrets from the past you never expected and sharks with frickin’ lasers on top of their frickin’ heads. One thing I could have done without here is Beyonce Knowles who just gets on my nerves no matter what she does. She could be singing, dancing, or doing what she may consider to be acting but I find her quite talentless and don’t care for her whatsoever. That would make Heather Graham the best Powers’ girl by far and it’s a shame she didn’t end up popping back up for the final film.
Dr. Evil and Mini-Me have broken out of prison and know that they need more help in order to get past Austin Powers, finally get all the money the long for, and take total control of the world so they team up with the infamous Goldmember. Now they need more leverage on Austin so they travel back in time (yes, again) and this time kidnap Austin’s father Nigel Powers (Michael Caine). With Nigel as their hostage, the gang of evil knows they have the advantage on Austin and can get away with almost anything. Things won’t be as simple as they anticipate though as Austin teams up with his old partner, Foxxy Cleopatra and vows to not only get his father back safely but also keep the world at ease and not under the thumb of Evil. Little does everyone know that Nigel Powers holds the one piece of evidence that may finally end this decade long battle between good and well…Evil.
Like I said, this is my favorite film out of all three and it is the one I’d actually consider watching over and over again which has already been done. Fat Bastard shows up even more in this film and has an unforgettable fight scene with Austin that ends with some low brow humor that had me rolling in the aisles. Again, don’t expect much of a story-oriented sequel because all the plots are pretty much the same throughout the franchise but the jokes tend to get a little different. Well, even that’s not the case all the time either but at least some other things get funnier to keep my attention. I’m sorry, Goldmember didn’t manage to keep my attention but it actually gained it considering Man of Mystery barely had it and The Spy only grabbed it halfway.
Audio Commentary – McCullers is gone and we’re back to just director Jay Roach and Mike Myers again.
Deleted/Alternate Scenes – Nothing really funny or even worth checking out here as all these scenes were rightly cut and never should have been filmed in the first place.
Fast Track – Icons will pop up periodically throughout the film and you can access featurettes and such without ever stopping. Not a bad feature, but nothing too exciting.
Documentary Gallery – All the behind the scenes featurettes that could be thought of to put together Goldmember are thrown in here. Each segment has a different topic such as choreography, costuming, make-up, dialect, and more. The segments included here are “MI-6: International Man Of Mystery,” “Fashion vs. Fiction,” “Disco Fever,” and “English, English.” (13:00)
The World Of Austin Powers Featurette Gallery – Six more behind the scenes featurettes that actually get more into the cast and crew on the set and how everything came together with them. Included in this gallery are “Jay Roach And Mike Myers: Creative Convergence,” “Confluence Of Characters,” “Opening Stunts,” “The Cars Of Austin Powers In Goldmember,” “Anatomy Of Three Scenes,” and “Visual F/X.” (42:00)
Beyonce Knowles “Work It Out” Music Video
Britney Spears “Boys” Music Video
Ming Tea “Wasn’t There” Music Video
Dr. Evil And Mini-Me “Hard Knock Life” Music Video
Our shagadelic spy appears in all three films shown in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and they all look great but get better as they get newer. International Man has great colors that are sharp and bright making it a beautiful film. Spy and Goldmember have all those qualities and continue looking even better with every second so the studio did a great job when putting together these films in true quality.
The films are all heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and with most comedic films; you’re going to get a lot of dialogue and not much else. All three films have dialogue heard clearly through the front speakers and make decent use of the surrounding speakers with some good music and plenty of sound effects.
Special Features – See above.
Austin Powers is a great character that had lasting power for a long time, but he may have finally run its course. The first film never had much appeal to me when I saw it the first time and it still continues to barley do anything for me. The Spy Who Shagged Me is not as funny as I remember it while Goldmember still continues to make me laugh. The problem is that all three of these films are on television constantly and it is hard to find a reason to own the Blu-rays/DVDs. The humor is stale, and then when Myers hung up the bad teeth and awful wig, he still came through with almost the exact same character in the awful film The Love Guru. This set is good for some laughs every once and again, but dropping at least forty bucks for something you probably already have on DVD or have seen recently on cable really isn’t necessary.
New Line Home Video presents Austin Powers Collection: Shagadelic Edition. Directed by: Jay Roach (Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery); Jay Roach (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me); Jay Roach (Austin Powers In Goldmember).
Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers (Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery); Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me); Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Michael Caine (Austin Powers In Goldmember).
Written by: Mike Myers (Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery); Mike Myers & Michael McCullers (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me); Mike Myers & Michael McCullers (Austin Powers In Goldmember).
Running time: 278 minutes on 3 discs. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: December 2, 2008. Available at Amazon.com