Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 American science fiction/action-comedy film and the first film of the Austin Powers series. It was directed by Jay Roach and written by Mike Myers who also stars in the title role. Myers also plays Dr. Evil, Austin Powers' arch-enemy. The film co-stars Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington, Robert Wagner as Number Two, Seth Green as Scott Evil, and Michael York as Basil Exposition. There are cameos by Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Tom Arnold, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Neil Mullarkey, and Burt Bacharach, and an uncredited cameo by MADtv star Michael McDonald, among many others.
The film is a parody of the James Bond films (particularly the earlier features in the franchise) as well as other 1960s spy films.
The film, which cost $16.5 million, opened on May 2, 1997, to positive critical reviews. It made a modest impact at the box office, grossing US$53 million in its North American release and about US$68 million worldwide. The film later became a hit and cult classic on the home video market and cable television, spawning two more commercially successful sequels.
In 1967, British gentleman spy Austin Powers attempts to assassinate his nemesis, Dr. Evil, in his own nightclub. Dr. Evil escapes by launching himself in a space rocket disguised as a Bob's Big Boy statue, and cryogenically freezing himself. Powers 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, discovering his henchman Number 2 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, but finds each of them have happened naturally during his absence; he ultimately falls back on his usual plan to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage, and is advised to seek one hundred billion dollars. Later, he also discovers that henchwoman Frau Farbissina has used a sample of Evil's semen to artificially create his son, Scott Evil, now a Generation Y teenager. Scott is resentful of his father, despite Dr. Evil's attempts to get closer to him through therapy.
Having learned of Dr. Evil's return, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Powers, acclimating him to the year 1997 with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington, the daughter of his sidekick in the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington. Powers quickly finds his free love credo of the 1960s to be out of touch with the 1990s, and is unable to turn Vanessa onto his charms. Later, the two pose as a married couple in a Las Vegas hotel and meet Number 2's Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina. Powers later breaks into her penthouse suite for reconnaissance and sleeps 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 identical female robots (called Fembots) that will lure Powers with their charm before killing him. Austin turns the tables by using his 'mojo' to seduce them, causing them to short-circuit. Powers apologises to Vanessa for the affair with Alotta and vows to only be with her.
Later the couple infiltrate 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 Powers and Vanessa in a death trap that they easily escape from. Powers instructs her to get help, while he eludes and destroys the fembots by performing a striptease which they cannot handle. Meanwhile, Vanessa returns with British forces. Powers finds the doomsday device and deactivates it at the last moment. He later finds Dr. Evil in the main chamber along with Alotta Fagina who is holding Vanessa hostage, but Number 2 appears and offers to make a deal with Powers. Dr. Evil apparently kills Number 2 and makes his escape back to his rocket, setting off the base's self-destruct system. Vanessa knocks Alotta unconscious and escapes with Powers as the lair explodes.
Powers and Vanessa are later married, but during their honeymoon they are attacked by Random Task. Powers subdues the assassin and the couple adjourn to their balcony to observe the stars. Noticing a rather bright star, Powers pulls out a telescope to discover that it is in fact Dr. Evil's cryogenic chamber in which he vows revenge.
* Mike Myers as:
** Austin Powers. Austin Powers' flamboyant fashion sense shows strong similarities to the TV character Jason King, while his copious chest hair is a homage to the Sean Connery-acted version of James Bond and his glasses are owed mainly to Harry Palmer and partly to Peter Sellers' 'Evelyn Bond' character in the 1967 Bond spoof Casino Royale. His main outfit also resembles one worn by George Lazenby in the 1969 James Bond Film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The fact that he is woken up after years of being frozen to fight his enemy again is a parody of the premise of Adam Adamant Lives!. The idea of Austin Powers being a photographer chased by beautiful women is a reference to David Hemmings' character in the film Blowup.
** Dr. Evil, a spoof of James Bond's nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld. His famous pinkie-on-mouth gesture is based on the doctor from The Twilight Zones Number 12 Looks Just Like You.
Mike Myers has 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's character, Vesper Lynd, in the 1967 version of Casino Royale, and thus the film has many of the late 60s psychedelic pop culture stylings of that earlier film. Not only Casino Royale, but elements from all the early James Bond movies are used for spoof or inspiration:
* Dr. No (1962) - 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.
* From Russia With Love (1963) - The Irish assassin being modelled on both Red Grant and the leprechaun character from the Lucky Charms commercials, the toilet fight modelled on the train fight, Frau Frabissina partly modelled on Rosa Klebb, Mustafa based on a character in Matt Helm's The Ambushers.
* Goldfinger (1964) - The character Random Task 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, final fight between Austin and Random Task against a wall modelled on fight between Bond and Odd Job against a wall inside Fort Knox, and Powers stating to Random Task "Who throws a shoe, honestly?". Finally, the character Alotta Fagina is a play on the name of Auric Goldfinger's companion and partner in crime, Pussy Galore.
* Thunderball (1965) - Dr Evil's head quarters where he kills people around the table, the plot about stealing nuclear arms and holding the world ransom, conversation about a swimming pool with sharks, Austin playing Black Jack with No 2.
* Casino Royale (1966) - The song "The look of love", the rotating bed, Austin Powers' glasses, psychedelic set during Dr Evil's initial 1967 escape, No 2 cheating at cards by having special glasses modelled on 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 is modelled on similar sequences with Bond, Aki and Tiger Tanaka, external shots of the Virtucon enterprise modelled on external shots of the Osaka 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 modeling 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 modelled on Lazenby's Bond, Frau Fabissima partly modelled on Irma Bunt, Dr Evil's killing at the Pussycat Club in line with how Blofeld did his own killing in OHMSS.
* 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 for explaining the enterprise, final attack on Austin at the hotel modelled on similar final sequence on the Queen Elisabeth.
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 Harry Palmer character from The Ipcress File, 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 characters of Commander Gilmour and General Borchevsky were named after Doug Gilmour and Nicolai Borchevsky, 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 Beatles film "A Hard Day's Night". Austin is chased down the street by a crowd of girls, like Lennon, Starr and Harrison are in "A Hard Day's Night", and he is also pictured wearing a fake beard as a disguise, as McCartney does in the Beatles movie.
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 following is a list of known locations during the filming of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
* Japanese Gardens, Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California - Alotta Fagina's penthouse (Interior shots)
* Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada - Alotta Fagina's penthouse (Exterior shots)
* Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada — Interior shots
* Stardust Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada — Interior shots
* Valley of Fire State Park in Overton, Nevada
* Vasquez Rocks National Area Park in Agua Dulce, California
* Circus Circus in Las Vegas, 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.
* Right after one of Dr. Evil's security guards is crushed by a steam roller driven by Austin and Vanessa, the security guard's family is 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 (film) hosting a surprise Bachelor's Party at a Hooters) are notified of his death.
* 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, as the film was released on the week of her death. The joke was subsequently restored in the 2001 TV broadcast on UK's Channel 4.
In addition, many scenes cut out from the film are found on the DVD:
* While Number 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 aboard his Jumbo Jet. A portion of this scene was played in the official trailer.
* During Austin's final confrontation with Dr. Evil, Number 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 Number 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 Number 2.
* Three alternate endings, all of which still have Austin and Vanessa in a lifeboat.
# "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
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.
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.
The film was well received by critics, earning a 68% "fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie debuted at No.2 at the box office with $9.5 million dollars.
ReferencesThis text has been derived from on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0