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Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (New Line Platinum Series)

review by Ren C.

 

Rated PG-13

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Starring Mike Meyers, Elizabeth Hurley

Studio: New Line

Written by Mike Meyers

Directed by Jay Roach

 

Retail Price: 24.99

Features: Theatrical Trailers, Commentary with Mike Meyers and Jay Roach, Music To Shag To, Original Animated Sequence, Deleted Scenes, Bios

Specs: 1.90:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen Dolby Digital English 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Captions, Spanish Captions, French Captions, Chapter Search

Just in case there's anyone out there that actually hasn't seen this movie, I'll give you the thumbnail version. Mike Myers plays Austin Powers, a 60's swinging British secret agent, in the vein of James Bond. As with any good secret agent, Powers needs an evil counterpart, in this case Dr. Evil, also played by...Mike Myers. The film begins with Powers and his partner Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers) trying to apprehend evil at a '60s club. Evil escapes by cryogenically freezing himself, and his cat Mr. Bigglesworth. Powers is also frozen, should the need ever arise and Dr. Evil resurface.

Naturally, Dr. Evil does resurface, otherwise it would be a very short movie. Powers is brought into the 90s as well, and is forced into a "fish-out-of-water" plotline, by having to become acclimated to both the 90s in general, and his new partner, Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), daughter of the original. Dr. Evil is also doing some acclimating of his own, namely to his son Scott (Seth Green). The film progresses from here with Powers getting into any number of zany situations on the way to a confrontation with Dr. Evil.

While my preview may not do proper justice to the movie, let me just say that this is the funniest movie I have seen in years. I didn't understand what all the fuss was about until I saw the movie for the first time. I've seen it at least five times since then, and each viewing just seems to enrich the movie that much more. Mike Myers does a great job as both Powers and Dr. Evil, to the point where I tend to forget that it's the same person playing the role. Jay Roach, as well, has done a great directing job, in that he wasn't married to the script, and gave the actors some room to ad-lib, leading to scenes that were above and beyond what was originally written in the script.

For a 1997 film, and an early DVD, this holds up. The colors are bright and rich, in both the widescreen and (ugh) pan-and-scan versions. There is little-to-no artifcating, and in all a very nice transfer.

Again, holds up very well. The movie sounds very psychedelic, with both effects and dialogue coming through very clearly. New Line delivers with their discs, and this is no exception.

To paraphrase Powers, "features are my bag, baby", and this disc does not disappoint. There is a commentary by Myers and Roach, which is generally entertaining, although I do have one nitpick. The two participants have a tendency to lapse into awkward silences, and when this happens the volume of the movie stays down. While I can generally fill the gaps in from memory, this can definitely be annoying to someone new to the experience. The next feature is a series of deleted scenes. These are very entertaining, although somewhat rough-looking from being cut from some of the initial footage. Surprisingly, some actors were cut completely out of the movie by being cut from these scenes including Rob Lowe and SNL's Cheri Oteri, who has a very fun turn as a stewardess here. Also, a nice little surprise is included in the filmographies. These are quoted on the case as film highlights, which feature the stars of the movie in other endeavors. Included is a full trailer for "Lost In Space", and several other short movie trailers. Also entertaining is the "Music to Shag To" original animated sequence, which cannot be done justice in words. This is one of those features that has to be seen to be believed. Rounding out the disc are the usual trailer and biographies, which I generally consider to be more standard issue than features, per se.

Considering this was one of the very early DVD's, it stands up very well. The movie is absolutely hilarious, and the features are icing on the cake. If you liked the movie and don't own this, buy it. If you haven't seen the movie, definitely give it a rent first, it's a great movie, but it's not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. High recommendation.

(4.5/5, NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(3.5/5)

(3.5/5)

(4/5, NOT an average)

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