|Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jay Roach|
|Written 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 (or simply Austin Powers) is a 1997 American spy comedy film directed by Jay Roach. It is the first installment in the Austin Powers series. It stars franchise co-producer and writer Mike Myers, playing the role as Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, Powers' arch-enemy. Supporting roles are played by Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, and Michael York. The film is a parody of the James Bond films and other popular culture from the 1960s.
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 spawned two sequels, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).
In 1967, British spy Austin Powers thwarts an assassination attempt by his nemesis Dr. Evil in a London nightclub. Dr. Evil escapes in a space rocket and cryogenically freezes himself. Powers volunteers to be placed into cryostasis in case Dr. Evil returns in the future.
Thirty years later, in 1997, Dr. Evil returns to discover his henchman Number 2 has developed Virtucon, the legitimate front of Evil's empire, into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Uninterested in business, Dr. Evil conspires to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage for $1 million. He increases his demand to $100 billion when he learns that the value of the dollar has fallen due to inflation. Dr. Evil also learns that, during his absence, his associates have artificially created his son, Scott Evil, using his frozen semen. Now a Generation X teenager, Scott is resentful of his father's absence and resists his attempts to get closer to him.
Having learned of Dr. Evil's return, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Powers, acclimatizing him to the 1990s with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington, the daughter of his 1960s sidekick Mrs. Kensington. Posing as a married couple, Powers and Kensington track Number 2 to Las Vegas and meet his Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina. Powers infiltrates Fagina's penthouse suite and discovers Dr. Evil's plans to drill a nuclear warhead into the Earth's core and trigger volcanic eruptions worldwide. Fagina discovers Powers and seduces him to learn his identity. Dr. Evil and his entourage conspire to defeat Powers by creating a series of fembots: beautiful female androids equipped with guns concealed in their breasts.
Powers and Kensington infiltrate the Virtucon headquarters but are apprehended by Dr. Evil's henchman, Random Task. Meanwhile, the United Nations accede to the demands of Dr. Evil, who proceeds with his plan nonetheless. Powers and Kensington escape Dr. Evil's death trap and Kensington is sent for help. While searching for Dr. Evil, Powers is confronted by the fembots; Powers seduces them with a striptease that makes them explode.
British forces raid the underground lair, while Powers deactivates the doomsday device. Powers confronts Dr. Evil, but Fagina arrives holding Kensington hostage. They are interrupted by Number 2, who attempts to betray Dr. Evil by making a deal with Powers. Dr. Evil uses a trap door to eliminate Number 2, then activates the base's self-destruct mechanism and escapes. Powers and Kensington flee as a nuclear explosion destroys the lair.
Powers and Kensington marry. During their honeymoon, Powers is attacked by Random Task. Powers subdues him using a penis pump, allowing Kensington to knock him out. The newlyweds adjourn to the balcony. Among the stars, Powers spots the cryogenic chamber of Dr. Evil, who vows revenge.
Mike 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. Myers said that the movie and the character were inspired by the British films, music and comedy of the 1960s and 70s his father had introduced him to as a child. "After my dad died in 1991, I was taking stock of his influence on me as a person and his influence on me with comedy in general. So Austin Powers was a tribute to my father, who [introduced me to] James Bond, Peter Sellers, the Beatles, The Goodies, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore".Dana Carvey felt that Myers copied Carvey's impression of Lorne Michaels for the Dr. Evil character.
Myers sought Jim Carrey to play Dr. Evil, as his initial plan was not to play multiple characters in the series. Carrey was interested in the part, but had to turn the role down due to scheduling conflicts with Liar Liar.
Since the 1960's had a big influence on his childhood, Myers cast Robert Wagner and Michael York, two household names from the late 1960's, in key supporting roles. The popularity of the film revised both Wagner's and York's careers. Myers has referred to Wagner as "the coolest guy I know" and York as "the classiest guy I know." Rhea Perlman was in talks to play Frau Farbisssina, but had scheduling conflicts. She has always regretted turning the movie down.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was released to region 1 double-sided 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 2.39:1 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 also feature a commentary. However, all US versions of the film are the PG-13 cut, with edits to sexual humor/language. International versions are uncut.
On their official website, the Ministry of Justice revealed that every week they have one person who wants to change their middle name to 'Danger' - claiming that this was inspired by the line in Man of Mystery, "Danger is my middle name!". This phrase, however, had been in common use for many years prior to the film: it may be found in James Wallerstein's The Cactus Wildcat (1954) and E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan (1970)
Daniel Craig, who has portrayed James Bond on screen since 2006, credited the Austin Powers franchise with the relatively serious tone of later Bond films. "We had to destroy the myth because Mike Myers fucked us," Craig said in a 2014 interview, making it "impossible" to do the gags of earlier Bond films which Austin Powers satirized.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery received positive reviews. The film has acquired a 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating on 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "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.Time Out New York critic Andrew Johnston observed: "The film's greatest asset is its gentle tone: rejecting the smug cynicism of Naked Gun-style parodies, it never loses the earnest naivete of the psychedelic era."
"...Austin Powers was a tribute to my father, who [introduced me to] James Bond, Peter Sellers, The Beatles, The Goodies, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore".
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.
Carvey felt Myers later stole his Dr. Evil impression for Austin Powers, which supposedly was based on Carvey's goof on Lorne Michaels.