New Line Home Cinema presents
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me—Platinum Series (1999)
"Are you kidding, baby? I put the 'grrrr' in 'swinger'!"- Austin Powers (Mike Myers)
Stars: Mike Myers, Heather Graham, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Verne Troyer
Other Stars: Rob Lowe, Seth Green, Elizabeth Hurley, Mindy Sterline
Director: Jay Roach
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual innuendo and crude humor.
Run Time: 01h:35m:00s
Release Date: 1999-11-16
DVD ReviewI'm going to be completely honest: I hated Austin Powers. I fell asleep during the rental of the first DVD, and I never watched the rest of the film. It was my humble opinion that it was a funny shagfest sketch—stretched well out of proportion. And the first Dr. Evil sequence was so slow and drawn out I nearly did the same to my hair, but fell asleep instead, a rarity.
Yet, I am still strangely drawn to the loveable and laughable man of mode: the psychedelically-handicapped, not-so-secret agent of nasty teeth and nastier thoughts. As a dad however, it goes against my entire protective being that a generation of twelve-year-olds now have a utile vocabulary of sexual terms, such as the verb "to shag"—if these were of the everyday ilk, these kids would be spanked, suspended, or at least sent to sleep without supper. On the other hand, my absolutely wicked side loves to find opportunities lurking in my department meetings to use Powers' colloquialisms to see how much I can really get away with—without being spanked and sent to bed early without my job. (When it all boils down, I'm still only 12 myself.)
So not having been a big fan of AP1, AP2 was a no-go in the theater. When the screener disc arrived I was a bit apprehensive. The Spy Who Shagged Me however, originally tagged "Austinpussy" among other titles the suits turned down, clips along at a better pace than the first, filled to the crooked teeth with bad innuendos, homages galore to movies from Star Wars to Terminator to Back to the Future to Aliens, and several star studded cameos—none more strangely amusing than the duo of Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello performing What Do You Get When You Fall In Love. I really didn't expect this to be anything but a rehash of the same nonsense, and to a degree it is, but writers Mike Myers and Michael McCully have managed to create a piece that stands entirely on its own. And when I watched it again the next morning with my fiancée, who had fallen asleep (as usual), I enjoyed it even more. Of course, being a cinemaphile, the mere recognition of the various references makes this movie more endearing than the first.
This time around Dr. Evil returns to Earth after a cryogenic stay in his Bob's Big Boy spaceship, to have, through the aid of a time machine, gone back to the 1960's to steal Austin Power's mojo.
His duplicitous insider in MI5 is an enormous and grotesque Scotsman named Fat Bastard, played with little remorse by Mike Myers. Many find his somewhat scatological nature repulsive and overboard, my family found him the best part of the film. Well, if left to my humble opinion, the best thing about this movie may be the ever shrinking outfits worn by Heather Graham, playing Agent Felicity Shagwell, who is, in Austin Powers parlance: "Yummy!"
The interweaving of past and present characters, its good-natured self-ribbing, and the sophomoric 12-year-old humor (including two major digressions into penis jokes, "Oh, behave!") appeal to me in a way the first one just didn't. But I'm not the type of guy to hold a long grudge...I think I'll even go back and take a full swing at the first one again. After all, I love asparagus now and I'd have never eaten it when I was twelve.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: New Line gives us this shagfest in an anamorphic 2.35:1 original theatrical widescreen aspect ratio. With the colors as they are in this shaggy tale, it was imperative that New Line capture them well, and they come through with, well, flying colors. The Austintatious colors are deep and well saturated, in this case, in nasty dripping lard. Beautiful, but very fattening. I watched this twice and found very little aliasing, and no pixelation or edge enhancement that I can recall.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: There is the obligatory shallow, muddy Dolby Surround 2.0 track, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which is livelier than one would expect from a comedy. There are nice surround effects, including sweeps from right rear to front left for the "Death Star" laser, and strong .1 LFE subwoofer content during the Apollo 11 take-off and Independence Day footage. Not a reference mix, but a very good mix nonetheless.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery
2 TV Spots/Teasers
20 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Mike Myers and co-writer Michael McCullers, and director Jay Roach
- Behind the scenes footage, including cast and crew interviews
- 3 music videos: Madonna's Beautiful Stranger, Lenny Kravitz's American Woman, and Melanie G's (AKA Scary Spice) Word Up
- Actor cameo appearance cues and filmographies
- Comedy Central's Canned Ham Presents: 'The Dr. Evil Story,'
- DVD-ROM: cast and crew information via the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com), connection to the original website, web browsers and screensavers, a trivia game, and "Interactive Austin episodes."
Not enough for you? There is also amusing and insightful feature-length commentary with Mike Myers and co-writer Michael McCullers, and director Jay Roach, 3 music videos (Madonna's Beautiful Stranger, Lenny Kravitz's American Woman, and Melanie G (AKA Scary Spice) Word Up), two teaser trailers, the theatrical trailer, and the original Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery theatrical trailer.
Still not enough? There are actor cameo appearance cues and filmographies for Clint Howard, Rebecca Romijn, Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson, Jerry Springer, Tim Robbins, Elvis Costello, and Burt Bacharach, as well as cast and crew filmographies. And, for the first time that I know of, the talent (Mike Myers) has created footage strictly for a DVD menu, which makes this disc just a bit more special than most.
Still, you're not happy? The disc also contains several DVD-ROM features including more thorough cast and crew information via the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com), connection to the original website, web browsers and screensavers, a trivia game, and "Interactive Austin episodes," which I did not let "take over my desktop!"Well, if you're still stomping your feet wanting more, there is a sizable Easter egg via the special features menu (wait until Austin is knocked of the screen by Dr. Evil's phallic spaceship and click on the 'E,') which includes Comedy Central's Canned Ham Presents: 'The Dr. Evil Story,' a mock biography hosted by Robert Kulp with the entire cast of characters (20 minutes), What If God Was One Of Us and Just The Two Of Us performed by Dr. Evil and Mini-Me, and Classic Evil Schemes Gone Awry is an extensive text listing (spoilers intact) of James Bond, Matt Helm, Harry Palmer, and assorted villainous movie plots thwarted.
Extras Grade: A+
Final CommentsI'll keep it simple, stupid. Whether you love or hate Austin Powers, this is an undeniably groovy disc, put together with the usual New Line aplomb—always raising the content bar. If New Line had an ass, I'd ask them to bend over so I may kiss it, as any self-respecting DVD enthusiast would. Like them, I get it.
Robert Mandel 2000-05-05