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Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, released in 1997, is the first film of the Austin Powers series. The film 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 movie 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 early James Bond films (particularly those starring Sean Connery) 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.

Plot

The year is 1967. Dentally challenged British gentleman spy Austin Powers and his nemesis Dr. Evil have faced each other many times during the decade. As Dr. Evil's henchmen have failed to dispose of Austin, he makes his own assassination attempt at a nightclub in London, England. Austin foils the attempt and Dr. Evil escapes in a space rocket disguised as a Bob's Big Boy statue, where he places himself in a cryogenic freezing chamber to return sometime in the future. In return, Austin volunteers to have himself placed in cryostasis in case his services are needed in the future.

Dr. Evil returns thirty years later in 1997 with new evil plans for world domination and reunites with his associates, Number Two and Frau Farbissina. During Dr. Evil’s absence, Number Two has developed "Virtucon", the legitimate face of Dr. Evil's empire, into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, but Dr. Evil prefers to either (a) blackmail the British Royal Family, the wealthiest landowners in the world, by fabricating an extramarital affair involving Prince Charles which would lead to divorce or (b) use several industrial lasers to punch holes in the ozone layer and cause an increase in risks of skin cancer. Yet they are both rejected by Number Two as already having occurred. Frustrated, he decides to "do what [they] always do: hijack some nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage." It is only after Dr. Evil suggests a ransom of $1 million that he learns of Virtucon's revenues, and raises the demand to $100 billion.

Having learned of the return of Dr. Evil, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Powers. To help him adjust to the 1990s, he is teamed with Vanessa Kensington, the daughter of his 1960s sidekick Mrs. Kensington. After being reunited with his previous belongings, which include a "Swedish-made penis-enlarger pump", a receipt for a "Swedish-made penis-enlarger pump" and a book written by Austin entitled "Swedish-Made Penis Enlarger Pumps and Me (This Sort of Thing Is My Bag, Baby)", Austin and Vanessa jet to Las Vegas in search of Dr. Evil. However, Austin's free love credo from the 1960s does not go down well with Vanessa, who continues to resist his advances.

Meanwhile, Dr. Evil learns that during his absence his associates have artificially created his son, Scott, using his frozen semen. Now a Generation Y teenager, Scott resents his father's absence, and they attend a "fathers and sons" group therapy session.

Posing as a married couple, Austin and Vanessa check into a hotel and are put on the trail of Number Two. They use the alias' of Richie and Oprah Cunningham. During their time in Las Vegas, Vanessa gradually warms to Austin's charms, but he refuses to take advantage of her while she is intoxicated. Over a game of blackjack, Austin meets Number Two's buxom "Italian confidential private secretary," Alotta Fagina. Under instructions from the British Secret Service, Austin breaks into Alotta's penthouse apartment in search of plans for Dr. Evil's "Project Vulcan". After learning that Project Vulcan involves driving a nuclear warhead into the Earth’s molten core to trigger massive volcanic eruptions, Austin is discovered by Alotta and he watches her strip naked through the door to her bedroom. She walks out wearing nothing but a very small bathrobe, which she takes off and walks into a hot tub. Austin follows her in there, where she learns his true identity and seduces him into having sex with her. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil learns that Austin Powers is after him, but his entourage have identified Austin's libido as his weakness and created a group of fembots: beautiful, blonde female androids equipped with automatic guns concealed in their breasts. Dr. Evil tests his new weapons on his own guards and they perform flawlessly, getting the guards to lower their guns with their looks and then killing them with their breast guns.

The British Secret Service discover that Virtucon conducts tourist tours of its headquarters, and this is considered an ideal opportunity for Austin and Vanessa to infiltrate. After bamboozling a security guard to gain entrance to the restricted area, Austin and Vanessa are apprehended by Dr. Evil's henchman, Random Task.

Dr. Evil presents his ultimatum to the United Nations (here represented by diplomats seated around a table with stereotypical international figures such as matadors and sumo wrestlers surrounding them) and they concede to his demands. However, he is so evil that he decides to keep the ransom but still destroy the world. Austin and Vanessa are then placed in "an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death" from which they escape, and Vanessa is sent for help.

While Project Vulcan is put into operation, Austin tries to find Dr. Evil but stumbles upon the fembot assassins in fuzzy, see-through night gowns. They seduce him by performing cartwheels, jumping on his shoulders, and eventually knocking him out with a pink gas that "came out of their jubblies" as Austin later explained. Austin lies in bed with the fembots, and tries to snap out of it by thinking of non-erotic things (such as baseball, cold showers, and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the nude), but the fembots continue to rub their hands over his body, and he keeps caving in, but snaps out of it and eventually overcomes them with the use of his "mojo" in a sex-charged striptease.

Led by Vanessa, British forces raid the underground lair, and at the last moment Austin stops the doomsday device. Austin confronts Dr. Evil and is joined by Vanessa, who is being held hostage by Alotta Fagina. They are interrupted by Number Two, who resents Dr. Evil's illegitimate plans after he has been so successful in the conventional business world and wishes to make a deal with Austin. Before he can, Dr. Evil (apparently) kills Number Two and seizes his opportunity to initiate the self-destruct mechanism and, once again, escape in his cryogenic freezing chamber inside the "Big Boy" spaceship. Austin and Vanessa escape in Austin’s conveniently parked Jaguar while the underground lair is destroyed in a nuclear explosion.

Austin and Vanessa are later married, but during their honeymoon Austin is attacked by Dr. Evil's henchman, Random Task. Defeated in conventional combat, Austin subdues the assassin through the use of his "Swedish-made penis pump", allowing Vanessa to knock him out with a glass bottle to the head. In a romantic moment Austin and Vanessa adjourn to their balcony to observe the stars. Noticing a rather bright star, Austin pulls out a telescope to discover that it is in fact Dr. Evil's cryogenic chamber in which Dr. Evil vows to "get" Austin Powers.

Cast

Actor Role
Mike Myers Austin Powers and Dr. Evil
Elizabeth Hurley Vanessa Kensington
Michael York Basil Exposition
Robert Wagner Number 2
Seth Green Scott Evil
Mimi Rogers Mrs. Kensington
Fabiana Udenio Alotta Fagina
Mindy Sterling Frau Farbissina
Paul Dillon Patty O'Brien
Charles Napier Commander Gilmour
Joe Son Random Task
Will Ferrell Mustafa
Carrie Fisher The group therapist (uncredited)
Monet Mazur Mod Girl
Clint Howard Radar Operator Johnson
Elya Baskin General Borschevsky
Michael McDonald Henchman flattened by steamroller (uncredited)
Lois Chiles Steamrolled henchman's wife (uncredited)
Christian Slater The easily fooled security guard
Neil Mullarkey The quartermaster clerk
Larry Thomas Casino dealer
Cindy Margolis Fembot
Cynthia Lamontagne Fembot
Brian George UN Secretary
Steve Monroe Son in Dr. Evil's therapy session
Patrick Bristow Bolton, the Virtucon Tour Guide
Tom Arnold Cowboy (uncredited)
Susanna Hoffs Ming Tea guitarist
Matthew Sweet Ming Tea band member
Mike Judge Voice of Beavis & Butt-Head
Rob Lowe Decapitated henchman's friend (uncredited)
Cheri Oteri Flight Attendant (uncredited)
Patricia Tallman Waitress at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club (uncredited)
Burt Bacharach Himself
Elvis Costello Himself

Characters

Production

Inspiration

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. 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.

Filming locations

The following is a list of known locations during the filming of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

Soundtrack

Track listing

  1. “The Magic Piper (Of Love)” - Edwyn Collins
  2. “BBC” - Ming Tea
  3. Incense and Peppermints” - Strawberry Alarm Clock
  4. “Carnival” - The Cardigans
  5. Mas Que Nada” - Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66
  6. Female of the Species (Fembot Mix)" - Space
  7. “You Showed Me” - Lightning Seeds
  8. Soul Bossa Nova” - Quincy Jones and His Orchestra - 1962
  9. “These Days” - Luxury
  10. “Austin’s Theme” - James Taylor Quartet
  11. I Touch Myself” - The Divinyls
  12. “Call Me” - The Mike Flowers Pops
  13. The Look of Love” - Susanna Hoffs
  14. What the World Needs Now Is Love” - Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello
  15. “The Book Lovers” - Broadcast
  16. “Austin Powers” - Wondermints
  17. “The ‘Shag-adelic’ Austin Powers Score Medley” - George S. Clinton

DVD Release Aspect Ratio

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.

References

External links

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