Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
|Austin Powers :
International Man of Mystery
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jay Roach|
|Produced by||Jan Blenkin
Claire Rudnick Polstein
|Screenplay by||Mike Myers|
|Music by||George S. Clinton|
|Edited by||Debra Neil-Fisher
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Box office||$67.7 million|
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 American spy 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, 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, which cost US$16.5 million, opened on May 2, 1997, grossing US$53 million from its North American release and over $67 million worldwide. The film later spawned two sequels, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), with Myers repeatedly mentioning the possibility of a fourth film over the years (as of 2015).
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 kills his henchman Mustafa (Will Ferrell) for making his (Dr. Evil) cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, go bald in the unfreezing process. The fire doesn't kill him but gets shot twice. Dr. Evil 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 cryostasis 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 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 nearly gets killed by Dr Evil's assassin, Paddy O'Brien (Paul Dillon) while going to the restroom but drowns him in an attempt to find out who Number 2 and Alotta work for. Austin later enters Alotta's penthouse suite for reconnaissance and 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. After Alotta finds Austin in her suite, she seduces him by taking off all of her clothes. The two eventually have sex in her hot tub, unbeknownst to Vanessa. 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. Vanessa finds about Austin's affair with Alotta, deeply upsetting her. Realizing he has fallen in love with Vanessa, Austin apologizes to her 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 (Joe Son). 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 tries to find Dr. Evil. Austin enters Dr. Evil's meeting area where he finds what he thinks are sexy women but really, the Fembots. The Fembots are wearing sexy pink and purple lingerie and do sexy poses. Austin gets distracted and a Fembot lands on his shoulders while another sprays him with pink knockout gas. He lies in bed with them happy, surrounded by them in a lustful daze but snaps out of it and tries to go get Dr. Evil. They rub his chest and convince him to stay. They continue to talk sexy to him and make smooching sounds. After a Fembot shows him her underwear, Austin tries to escape but the Fembots say he can't resist them so he performs a sexy dance where he strips down to his UK flag underwear and does sexy dance moves which arouse the Fembots so much, their heads literally explode. He gets spotted by Vanessa but explains what happened and gets changed. Austin, Vanessa and British forces later raid Dr. Evil's compound and 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. Austin subdues the assassin with "his" Swedish made penis enlarger pump and Vanessa knocks him out by hitting 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.
During the end credits, Austin does a photoshoot with Vanessa and Austin's band "Ming Tea" perform their debut single "BBC"
- Mike Myers as Austin Powers/Dr. Evil
- Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington
- Robert Wagner as Number 2
- Seth Green as Scott Evil
- Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina
- Michael York as Basil Exposition
- Fabiana Udenio as Alotta Fagina
- Will Ferrell as Mustafa
- Mimi Rogers as Mrs Kensington
- Joe Son as Random Task
- Paul Dillon as Paddy O'Brien
- Charles Napier as Commander Gilmour
- Elya Baskin as General Borschevsky
- Clint Howard as Johnson Ritter
- Tom Arnold as Cowboy
- Carrie Fisher as Therapist
- Larry Thomas as Casino Dealer
- Burt Bacharach as Himself
- Michael McDonald as Security Guard #2
- Cindy Margolis as Fembot #1
- Cynthia Lamontagne as Fembot #2
- Mike Judge as Beavis/Butt-Head
- Rob Lowe as Decapitated henchman's friend
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. Mike Myers stated 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. Dana Carvey felt that Myers copied Carvey's impression of Lorne Michaels for the Dr. Evil character.
James Bond references
||This section possibly contains original research. (March 2015)|
The film adopts the late '60s psychedelic pop culture stylings and adapts / parodies many characters, lines, set pieces, and plot points of the James Bond films from that era. Elements from all of 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 modeled on Rosa Klebb.
- Goldfinger (1964): Random Task's name and role modeled 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 modeled 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 modeled 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 modeled on Emilio Largo; both Austin and Bond fighting with a bad-guy in drag—though the audience does not know that it is 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 modeled on similar sequences with Bond, Aki and Tiger Tanaka; external shots of the Virtucon enterprise modeled 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 modeled on Blofeld.
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): the look and behaviour of Austin Powers modeled 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 modeled on how Bond enters Blofeld's apartment; double entendres by Austin and Vanessa modeled 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 modeled 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 Gobinda.
- 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 an urn containing her grandfather's ashes. The bed onboard Austin's jet is an homage to Bond's onboard his personal submarine craft. The tub scene with Allota Fagina is similar to the scene Bond has with Pola Ivanova.
Additionally, Mike Myers has stated that Austin's thick chest hair is based on Sean Connery's.
Other sources of inspiration
||This section possibly contains original research. (March 2015)|
The film also drew inspiration and elements from other movies and television shows of the late 1960s, including:
- 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 1965 film The 10th Victim and 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 intro scene in which Austin is chased around London by a crowd of women is a reference to the iconic opening of The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night, in which John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison are similarly chased by a frenzied mob of admirers. Powers is also pictured disguised with a fake beard, after Paul McCartney in the same scene.
- 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.
- The film contains several references to The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! including the steamroller scene and Dr. Evil's finger pointing move.
Myers estimated that about 30-40% of film was improvised.
The film was shot at the following locations:
- Japanese Gardens, Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California—Alotta Fagina's penthouse (interior shots);
- Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Paradise, Nevada—Alotta Fagina's penthouse (exterior shots);
- Riviera Hotel and Casino in Winchester, Nevada—Interior shots;
- Stardust Resort & Casino in Winchester, Nevada—Interior shots;
- Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada;
- Vasquez Rocks National Area Park in Agua Dulce, California;
- Circus Circus in Winchester, Nevada—Exterior shot
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.
|Original Soundtrack: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||April 15, 1997|
|Genre||Rock, pop, jazz|
|Austin Powers series chronology|
- "The Magic Piper (of love)" by Edwyn Collins
- "BBC" by Ming Tea
- "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock
- "Carnival" by The Cardigans
- "Mas Que Nada" by Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66
- "Female Of The Species" (Fembot Mix) by Space
- "You Showed Me" by The Lightning Seeds
- "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones and His Orchestra
- "These Days" by Luxury
- "Austin's Theme" by The James Taylor Quartet
- "I Touch Myself" by Divinyls
- "Call Me" by The Mike Flowers Pops
- "The Look Of Love" by Susanna Hoffs
- "What The World Needs Now Is Love" by Burt Bacharach and The Posies
- "The Book Lovers" by Broadcast
- "Austin Powers" by Wondermints
- "The 'Shag-adelic' Austin Powers Score Medley" by George S. Clinton
Home video releases
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. International versions are uncut.
On their official website, the UK Ministry of Justice revealed that every week they have one person who wants to change their middle name to 'Danger' – inspired by the line in Man of Mystery, "Danger is my middle name!".
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery received positive reviews. The film received a 70% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating on 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus read, "A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers". The movie debuted at No.2 at the box office with US$9.5 million.
American Film Institute recognition:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- 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.
- Moore, Booth (1999-06-04). "Dressed to Regress". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- Drew McWeeny (12 August 2011). "Exclusive: Mike Myers is signed, sealed, delivered for 'Austin Powers 4'". HitFix. HitFix.com. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Digital Hit (1997–2012). "Mike Myers". Digital Hit. Digital Hit Entertainment/ Multiplex Theatre Properties Inc. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Cherie D. Abbey, Omnigraphics, Kevin Hillstrom (2004). Biography Today Performing Artists. Omnigraphics. p. 101. ISBN 078080709X.
- Brandon Kirby (April 24, 2013). "Mike Myers, Dana Carvey Set Aside 'Wayne's World' Feud at Academy Screening". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-07-08.
Carvey is said to have been upset that Myers' Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers bore a striking resemblance to Carvey's impression of SNL creator Lorne Michaels.
- "How Mike Myers and Dana Carvey Resolved Their 'Wayne's World'-'Austin Powers' Feud". Hollywood Reporter. April 11, 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-08.
Carvey felt Myers later stole his Dr. Evil impression for Austin Powers, which supposedly was based on Carvey's goof on Lorne Michaels.
- Evans, Bradford (17 March 2011). "The Lost Roles of Jim Carrey". Splitsider. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- snell. "I Expect You To Die!: A View To A Kill". expectyoutodie.blogspot.com.
- ""The bubbles tickle my . . . Tchaikovsky!"". epinions.com.
- "This Sort Of Thing Is His Bag, Baby". Newsweek. May 18, 1997.
- Cling, Carol (1997-04-28). "Two movies using Nevada as backdrop set to open Friday". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on 2001-09-08.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at AllMusic
- "Amazon.com: George S. Clinton: Austin Powers International Man of Mystery and The Spy Who Shagged Me: Music". amazon.com.
- "Movie Censorship Report".
- "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
- Puig, Claudia (1997-05-06). "Weekend Box Office; Box Office Continues Its Breakout". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- "Breakdown, 'Austin Powers' Top 'Volcano' at Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. 1997-05-05. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- MALCOLM JOHNSON (2 May 1997). "Talented Myers Out Of Control In `Powers'". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- 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.
- American Film Institute (2000). "America's Funniest Movies" (PDF). AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees. American Film Institute. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- 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.
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- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at the Internet Movie Database
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at Rotten Tomatoes