Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

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Austin Powers :
International Man of Mystery
Austin Powers International Man of Mystery theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jay Roach
Produced by Jan Blenkin
Eric McLeod
Demi Moore
Mike Myers
Claire Rudnick Polstein
Written by Mike Myers
Starring Mike Myers
Elizabeth Hurley
Michael York
Mimi Rogers
Robert Wagner
Music by George S. Clinton
Cinematography Peter Deming
Edited by Debra Neil-Fisher
Dawn Hoggatt
Production
  company
Capella International
KC Medien
Moving Pictures
Eric's Boy
Distributed by New Line Cinema (USA) Capella Films/Intl. (Intl)
Release date(s)
  • May 2, 1997 (1997-05-02)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $16.5 million
Box office $67,683,989

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 American action comedy film and the first installment of the Austin Powers series. It was directed by Jay Roach and written by Mike Myers, who also starred as both the titular character Austin Powers and main antagonist Dr. Evil.,[1] Powers' arch-enemy. The film co-stars Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green and Michael York. The film also includes appearances by Will Ferrell, Mimi Rogers, Carrie Fisher, Tom Arnold, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Cheri Oteri, Neil Mullarkey and Burt Bacharach.

The film is known for parodying the James Bond films, amongst other classic movies.[2]

The film, which cost US$16.5 million, opened on May 2, 1997, to positive reviews. It made a modest impact at the box office, grossing US$53 million from its North American release and about US$68 million worldwide. The film later became a hit and cult classic in the home video market and cable television, spawning two sequels, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember, with a fourth film in the works.[3]

Plot[edit]

In 1967, British spy Austin Powers (Mike Myers) attempts to assassinate his nemesis, Dr. Evil (also Mike Myers), in his own nightclub (the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club). Dr. Evil escapes by launching himself in a space rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue, and cryogenically freezing himself, to return at a time when free love no longer reigned, and greed and corruption ruled again. Austin volunteers to be put into cryostasis to be revived when Dr. Evil returns.

Thirty years later in 1997, Dr. Evil returns with new plans for world domination, and discovers his henchman Number 2 (Robert Wagner) has transformed Evil's empire into Virtucon, a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Though already wealthy, Dr. Evil proposes several plans to threaten the world for more money. However, he finds that each of them have already been done during his absence. He ultimately falls back on his old plan to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage, and is advised to seek one hundred billion dollars (revised upward, on the advice of his employees, from his 1960s notion that one million dollars constitutes a world-dominating sum). Later, he also discovers that henchwoman Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling) used a sample of Evil's semen just a couple of years after his cryogenisis to artificially create his son, Scott Evil (Seth Green), now a Generation X young adult. Scott is resentful of his father, despite Dr. Evil's attempts to get closer to him through therapy.

Having been aware of Dr. Evil's return, the British Ministry of Defence (incorrectly referred to as the 'Ministry of Defense' as per American spelling) unfreezes Austin, acclimatizing him to the year 1997 with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), the daughter of his sidekick in the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers), who has retired during Austin's 30-year absence. Powers quickly finds his free love credo of the 1960s to be out of touch with the 1990s, and is unable to ensnare Vanessa with his charms. Later, the two pose as a married couple in a Las Vegas hotel and meet Number 2's Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina (Fabiana Udenio). Austin enters her penthouse suite for reconnaissance and fornicates with her. He discovers plans for Dr. Evil's "Project Vulcan", which aims to drill a nuclear warhead into the Earth's molten core and trigger volcanic eruptions worldwide. Dr. Evil, learning that Powers is back and on his trail, creates a series of seductive female robots (called Fembots) to charm Austin before killing him. Austin apologizes to Vanessa for the affair with Alotta and vows to only be with her.

Later the couple infiltrates Dr. Evil's headquarters but are captured by his henchman, Random Task. After Dr. Evil makes his demands to the world, he reveals that even after receiving the money he will still proceed with Project Vulcan. He then places Austin and Vanessa in a death trap that they easily escape from. Austin sends Vanessa for help, while he eludes and destroys the fembots by performing a striptease which arouses them so much that their heads literally explode. Austin finds the doomsday device and deactivates it at the last moment. He finds Dr. Evil in the main chamber and almost has a chance to bring him to justice, but Alotta Fagina arrives holding Vanessa hostage and thwarts Austin's chance to capture Dr. Evil. However, Number 2 appears and attempts to betray Dr. Evil, offering to make a deal with Austin. Dr. Evil disposes of Number 2 using the trap door leading to fire (although Number 2 survives) and escapes to his rocket, setting off the base's self-destruct system. Vanessa knocks Alotta unconscious and escapes with Austin as the lair explodes.

Austin and Vanessa are later married, but during their honeymoon they are attacked by Random Task (Joe Son). Austin subdues the assassin with his Swedish made penis enlarger and Vanessa knocks him out by whacking him on the head with a bottle of champagne. Then they push him down the hallway on a cart and the couple adjourns to their balcony to have wild sex. Noticing a rather bright star, Austin pulls out a telescope to discover that it is in fact Dr. Evil's cryogenic chamber in which he vows revenge.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Inspiration[edit]

Myers created the character of Austin Powers for the faux 1960s rock band Ming Tea that Myers started with Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs following his Saturday Night Live stint in the early 1990s.[4][5] Mike Myers stated[citation needed] that he was inspired to create the character after hearing the song "The Look of Love" on the radio, which was the theme song of Ursula Andress' character, Vesper Lynd, in the 1967 version of Casino Royale. Myers' then wife Robin Ruzan encouraged him to write a film based on the character.[5]

The film adopts many of the late '60s psychedelic pop culture stylings of that earlier film. Elements from all the early Bond movies are used for inspiration including:

  • Dr. No (1962): the shower sequence during the unfreeze sequence; Austin's and Vanessa's change of clothing and dinner with Dr. Evil; Dr. Evil's outfit and general surroundings during the climax; Vanessa's bikini identical to Honey Rider's.
  • From Russia With Love (1963): modeling the Irish assassin on both Red Grant and the leprechaun character from the Lucky Charms commercials; Frau Farbissina partly modelled on Rosa Klebb;
  • Goldfinger (1964): Random Task's name and role modelled on Oddjob; the dialogue "do you expect them to pay? - No, I expect them to die" based on "Do you expect me to talk? - No, I expect you to die"; Random Task/Odd Job chopping off the head of a statue; the final fight between Austin and Random Task against a wall modelled on fight between Bond and Odd Job against a wall inside Fort Knox; Powers stating to Random Task "Who throws a shoe, honestly?" (in Goldfinger, Oddjob kills by throwing his hat); the character Alotta Fagina modelled after the name of Auric Goldfinger's companion and partner in crime, Pussy Galore.
  • Thunderball (1965): Dr. Evil's headquarters, where he kills people around the table; the plot about stealing nuclear arms and holding the world to ransom; conversation about a swimming pool with sharks; Austin playing Black Jack with No 2.; No. 2 modelled on Emilio Largo; both Austin and Bond fighting with a bad-guy in drag—though the audience doesn't know that it's the bad-guy in drag until the fighting begins.
  • Casino Royale (1967): the song "The Look Of Love"; the rotating bed; psychedelic set during Dr. Evil's initial 1967 escape; No. 2 cheating at cards by having special glasses modelled on a similar sequence with Orson Welles.
  • You Only Live Twice (1967): the lines "this organization does not tolerate failure" and "in Japan men come first"; the scenes with the Jaguar and the video communication with Basil Exposition at the very beginning modelled on similar sequences with Bond, Aki and Tiger Tanaka; external shots of the Virtucon enterprise modelled on external shots of the Osato enterprise; interior of Alotta's apartment; bath tub sequence in Alotta's apartment; Austin's poetry similar to Tiger Tanaka's reading of poetry (actually written by Bond in the novel); Mr. Bigglesworth (Dr. Evil's cat) being a parody of Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld's white Persian, although it becomes hairless due to the cryostasis; interior of Dr. Evil's lair modelling interior of Blofeld's volcano lair; face and suit of Dr. Evil modelled on Blofeld.
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): the look and behaviour of Austin Powers modelled on Lazenby's Bond; Frau Farbissina modelled on Irma Bunt; Dr. Evil's killing at the Pussycat Club modelled on Blofeld's death; the Fembots are based on Blofeld's angels of death.
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971): Nevada and Las Vegas locations; Austin climbing through the window into Alotta Fagina's apartment modelled on how Bond enters Blofeld's apartment; double entendres by Austin and Vanessa modelled after those made by the two homosexual hitmen (i.e. "moving", "heartwarming" in the original film); No. 2 using a model of the US to explain the enterprise; final attack on Austin at the hotel modelled on similar final sequence on the Queen Elizabeth.
  • Live and Let Die (1973): Dr. Evil's shark tank is an allusion to Kananga's shark tank.
  • Octopussy (1983): Mustafa modeled on Gobina.
  • A View to a Kill (1985): Vanessa knocking out Random Task by hitting him on the head with a bottle of champagne is a reference to Stacey Sutton knocking out one of Zorin's henchman by hitting him on the head with a vase.

Additionally, Mike Myers has stated that Austin's thick chest hair is based on Sean Connery's. Other inspirations for the character and the film include Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, the BBC series Adam Adamant Lives!, in which an Edwardian hero is frozen by his arch-enemy The Face and is revived in 1960s London, Michael Caine's bespectacled Harry Palmer character from The Ipcress File (which is why Austin wears glasses), Matt Helm's The Ambushers (Mustafa) and Peter Wyngarde's "Jason King" character from Department S and Jason King.

The idea of the Fembots may have been adapted from the 1966 film Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs. The word "fembot" first appeared during a crossover episode of The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man.

The leather-clad Mrs. Kensington was inspired by Diana Rigg's character Emma Peel from the British TV series The Avengers.

The characters of Commander Gilmour and General Borchevsky were named after Doug Gilmour and Nikolai Borschevsky, two former players from Myers' favorite National Hockey League team, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

The iconic intro scene in which Austin is chased around London by a crowd of women is a reference to the The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night. Austin is chased down the street by a crowd of girls, like John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. He is also pictured disguised with a fake beard, after Paul McCartney.

The toilet fight scene resembles a similar scene in Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, and the unfreezing scene references Allen's Sleeper.

The shots of dancing girls in bikinis and body paint between scenes are taken from the 1960s television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

The line "This is my happening, and it freaks me out" is from the 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

The film ends with a parody/homage of Veruschka's photo shoot in the 1966 film Blowup.

Myers estimated that about 30-40% of film was improvised.[6]

Filming locations[edit]

The film was shot at the following locations:

Deleted scenes[edit]

The international release differs from the North American release, as it includes these additional scenes:

  • Evel Knievel is among the celebrities frozen in cryo-stasis alongside Austin.
  • When Austin and Vanessa first enter the restricted area at Virtucon, Austin hypnotizes the guard (played by Christian Slater) with a mind control technique he learned on a trip to India.
  • Right after one of Dr. Evil's security guards is crushed by a steam roller driven by Austin and Vanessa, the security guard's wife (played by former Bond Girl Lois Chiles) and stepson are notified of his death.
  • After another guard has his head eaten by ill-tempered mutated sea bass, his friends (led by Rob Lowe, who would play the younger No. 2 in the sequel and has previously worked with Mike Myers in the film version of Wayne's World and with Seth Green in The Hotel New Hampshire) hosting a surprise Bachelor's Party at a Hooters are notified of his death.
  • While Austin and Vanessa are escaping Dr. Evil's underground lair which is about to explode, the guard Austin hypnotized earlier in the movie shows up and gives Austin a container of orange Sherbet.
  • Austin's fight with Random Task is longer, with Austin reaching for a knife, a candlestick, and a coral rake during the fight.

The UK release deleted the Princess Diana joke from the cinema release, as the film was released on the week of her death. The joke was subsequently restored in the VHS and DVD releases, as well as its TV broadcast on UK's Channel 4.

In addition, many scenes cut from the theatrical release are found on the DVD:

  • While No. 2 talks about the business ventures he created during Dr. Evil's absence, he mentions the Franklin Mint Cheeses of the World Series Commemorative Plates;
  • Austin's flirting with the lead stewardess (played by Cheri Oteri, who later acted with Mike Myers in Shrek the Third) aboard his Jumbo Jet. A portion of this scene was played in the official trailer;
  • During Austin's final confrontation with Dr. Evil, No. 2 attempts to bribe Austin with $1 billion in a Fendi briefcase. When Austin grabs just one stack of $100 bills, he notes that the money is $832 short of a billion, to which No. 2 mentions that the cost of the Fendi briefcase makes up the remainder. They continue to argue until Dr. Evil presses the button to eliminate No. 2;
  • Three alternate endings, all of which show Austin and Vanessa in a lifeboat.

Soundtrack[edit]

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released April 15, 1997
Recorded 1996-1997
Genre Rock, pop, jazz
Length 78:44
Label Hollywood Records
Austin Powers series chronology
Austin Powers International Man of Mystery
(1997)
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
(1999)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[7]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Magic Piper (Of Love)" by Edwyn Collins
  2. "BBC" by Ming Tea
  3. "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock
  4. "Bad Reputation" by Divinyls and Ming Tea
  5. "Carnival" by The Cardigans
  6. "Mas Que Nada" by Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66
  7. "Female of the Species (Fembot Mix)" by Space
  8. "You Showed Me" by The Lightning Seeds
  9. "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones and His Orchestra
  10. "We Are Tonight" by Luxury and Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66
  11. "These Days" by Luxury
  12. "Austin's Theme" by The James Taylor Quartet
  13. "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls
  14. "Call Me" by The Mike Flowers Pops
  15. "The Look of Love" by Susanna Hoffs
  16. "What the World Needs Now Is Love" by Burt Bacharach and The Posies
  17. "The Book Lovers" by Broadcast
  18. "What Was I Thinkin'" by Wondermints and George S. Clinton
  19. "Somebody Like You by Ming Tea
  20. "Austin Powers" by Wondermints
  21. "Kiss You Tonight" by Ming Tea and Mike Myers
  22. "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" by Susanna Hoffs and The Posies
  23. "The 'Shag-adelic' Austin Powers Score Medley" by George S. Clinton

There are two notable omissions: "Secret Agent Man", which is played during the attack on Dr. Evil's compound, and "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", which plays during the Fembot presentation.

Another CD featuring George S. Clinton's scores to the film and its sequel was later released in 2000.[8]

Home video releases[edit]

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was released to region 1 single disc "flipper disc" DVD with widescreen and full screen versions on opposing sides of the disc. The widescreen transfer is unusual in that it is a modified version of the theatrical ratio: despite being filmed in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, on DVD it is presented as 2:1 ratio, "as specified by the director" according to the disc packaging. The film was featured in the correct theatrical aspect ratio for the first time when it was released on Blu-ray, in the Austin Powers Collection.

All versions of the film released on home video (including VHS) have two alternate endings and a set of deleted scenes. The DVD and Blu-ray versions feature a commentary, as well. However, all US versions of the films are the PG-13 cut, with edits to sexual humor/language.[9] International versions are uncut.

Reception[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, earning a 70% score on Rotten Tomatoes.[10] The movie debuted at No.2 at the box office with US$9.5 million.[11][12][13]

American Film Institute recognition:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Patricia Winters Lauro (14 June 1999). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Big marketers are betting on 'Austin Powers' to endear them to young people.". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Moore, Booth (1999-06-04). "Dressed to Regress". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  3. ^ Drew McWeeny (12 August 2011). "Exclusive: Mike Myers is signed, sealed, delivered for 'Austin Powers 4'". HitFix. HitFix.com. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Digital Hit (1997–2012). "Mike Myers". Digital Hit. Digital Hit Entertainment/ Multiplex Theatre Properties Inc. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Cherie D. Abbey, Omnigraphics, Kevin Hillstrom (2004). Biography Today Performing Artists. Omnigraphics. p. 101. ISBN 078080709X. 
  6. ^ "This Sort Of Thing Is His Bag, Baby". Newsweek. May 18, 1997. 
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at AllMusic
  8. ^ Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery & The Spy Who Shagged Me (Original Motion Picture Scores)
  9. ^ "Movie Censorship Report". 
  10. ^ "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 20, 2009. 
  11. ^ Puig, Claudia (1997-05-06). "Weekend Box Office; Box Office Continues Its Breakout". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  12. ^ "Breakdown, 'Austin Powers' Top 'Volcano' at Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. 1997-05-05. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  13. ^ MALCOLM JOHNSON (2 May 1997). "Talented Myers Out Of Control In `Powers'". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  14. ^ American Film Institute (2003). "The 50 greatest heroes and the 50 greatest villains of all time 400 Nominated Character" (PDF). AFI's 100 Years 100 Heroes & Villains. American Film Institute. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  15. ^ American Film Institute (2000). "America's Funniest Movies" (PDF). AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees. American Film Institute. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  16. ^ a b American Film Institute (21 June 2005). ""FRANKLY, MY DEAR, I DON'T GIVE A DAMN" TOPS AFI'S LIST OF 100 GREATEST MOVIE QUOTES OF ALL TIME" (PDF). AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes. American Film Institute. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  17. ^ AFI

External links[edit]