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Jay Roach
Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Fabiana Udenio, Mindy Sterling
Mike Myers

If he were any cooler, he'd still be frozen, baby!
Box Office:
Budget $17 million.
Opening weekend $9.548 million on 2187 screens.
Domestic gross $53.868 million.
Rated PG-13 for nudity, sex-related dialogue and humor.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 7/2/2012

• Audio Commentary with Director Jay Roach and Actor/Writer Mike Myers
• Deleted Scenes/Alternate Endings
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery [Blu-Ray] (1997)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 18, 2014)

Nostradamus I ain't. Back when I first learned of 1997’s Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery through trailers and TV appearances by star Mike Myers, I felt absolutely certain it would bomb.

Parodies are very hit or miss at the box office, and Austin Powers didn't look like something that would appeal to much of the public. A parody of James Bond and other flicks from the genre with a main character who spouts anachronisms from the Swinging London of the Sixties? Yikes - better start pre-production on Wayne's World 3, Mike, because this turkey won’t help your career!

Okay, I was wrong. Not as mistaken as all the doom and gloom predictions about Titanic - which most thought would lose buckets of money - but still pretty far off base. With two megahit sequels since the original came out in 1997, Powers proved to be a surprising success.

When I saw Powers theatrically, it did little for me, but I’ve come to like it during extra screenings. Comedies often seem more enjoyable at home; it's easier to take in the content on your own terms rather than be influenced by the reactions of a hundred other folks.

Austin Powers starts in 1967 as we meet superspy Austin (Myers). He and his cohort Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers) chase his archnemesis Dr. Evil (also Myers). The latter escapes, and Austin agrees to undergo a cryogenic freeze. His allies will snap him out of it when the also-frozen Evil re-emerges.

This occurs after 30 years. While they do battle, both characters need to come to terms with the altered society in which they now live. All of Evil’s cohorts still are around, but he now finds he has a rebellious teen son named Scott (Seth Green). Austin meets up with Mrs. Kensington’s daughter Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley). A prim and proper sort, she and Austin don’t hit it off right away, but she slowly starts to develop affection toward the anachronistic old swinger.

While that synopsis might convey a different impression, Powers really doesn’t feature much of a storyline. Sure, Austin chases Dr. Evil, tries to bed Vanessa, and generally comes to terms with the late 20th century, but the emphasis remains on the flick’s gags.

In that realm, Powers can be fairly hit or miss. Some fine material appears, while other jokes fall flat. Nonetheless, it possesses a nice sense of affection toward the subject, so it never feels mean-spirited. It’s both a parody and an homage to the genre.

Overall, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery offers a fairly entertaining little film that supplies its share of decent laughs, and it has a nice rewatchability about it. It's one of those films that tends to grow on you as time passes; there's enough going on in the frame that you'll probably spot new things with each viewing. Of the three flicks in the series, the original remains the best.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. That marked a change from the old DVD, as the latter presented a compromise 2.0:1 framing.

The Blu-ray also looked a whole lot better than the DVD. Sharpness seemed good. A few wide shots looked just a smidgen soft, but those didn’t appear too frequently. For the most part, the movie was detailed and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and the transfer lacked edge enhancement. In addition, source flaws were essentially absent; I saw a speck or two, but nothing more.

Colors looked great, as they offered the strongest aspects of Mystery. The film used a varied and bright palette, and the movie provided clean and vibrant tones. Black levels were deep and dark, which shadow detail came across as appropriately dense but not excessively thick. Only some minor softness kept this one from “A” level, as it usually provided excellent visuals.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Mystery seemed pleasing. The film’s soundfield complemented the action, though it only became consistently active during the third act. The forward realm showed good stereo separation for the music, and those speakers also offered solid spread for effects. Those elements blended together well and moved neatly between the channels.

The surrounds mainly added general reinforcement, as Mystery featured a good sense of environment. Action scenes – especially during that third act – provided more active material from the back speakers and contributed pizzazz to the proceedings.

Audio quality appeared positive. At times, speech seemed distinct and natural, and the lines showed no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, and they demonstrated no distortion. Music seemed vivid and bright, and bass response appeared acceptably deep and tight. While never a dazzling mix, the soundtrack delivered the appropriate goods.

How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the original DVD? Audio was a bit peppier and fuller, while visuals seemed cleaner, tighter and less “digital”. The Blu-ray gave us an obvious step up over the ancient DVD.

All of the extras originally appeared on the old DVD. First we find an audio commentary from actor/writer Mike Myers and director Jay Roach. Both were recorded together for this running, screen-specific track. They discuss cast, characters and performances, story areas, influences and inspirations, music and period details, costumes, sets and production design, stunts, effects and a few other issues.

Although it sags at times, Roach and Myers generally offer an entertaining and informative piece. The pair cover a reasonable amount of details related to the movie, and though Myers isn’t the laugh riot one might expect, he drops some funny lines at times. I especially liked the running gag in which he mocks Roach’s insistence that Liz Hurley appeared in skimpy outfits as part of her “character arc”. Overall, the commentary seems good but unexceptional.

One oddity: unlike 99 percent of audio commentaries, this one doesn’t play movie audio in the background. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, but since I’m so accustomed to hearing the soundtrack along with the commentary, it becomes a bit disconcerting here.

By the way, at one point Roach states that his wife inspired the scene in which we see that Vanessa individually bags her clothes for travel. This comment becomes more interesting when you know Roach married Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles.

In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we locate seven deleted scenes, including two “Alternate Endings”. Each of these lasts between 46 seconds and two minutes, 52 seconds for a total of 11 minutes, 23 seconds of material.

Although none of these seem like killer clips, they are at least interesting and watchable, more so than a lot of the dreck that ends up on the cutting room floor. In any case, they make for quite a nice and entertaining extra and add value to this set.

I never thought that Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery would spawn a successful franchise, but the movie definitely presents a generally amusing and entertaining piece of work. Though erratic, it tosses in enough warm and endearing humor to make it a fun film. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and audio with a small but generally positive selection of supplements. The disc combines a fun movie and a satisfying cinematic presentation.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY

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