Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

 
Austin Powers.PNG

Release date: May 2, 1997

Directed by: Jay Roach

Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers

Budget: $16.6 million

Box office: $67.7 million

 

A 1960s secret agent is brought to the 1990s to face his nemesis who plans to hold the world for ransom

Meant to be an affectionate parody of spy films and 1960s popular culture, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery attempts to take the gravity and stakes of the stories it’s spoofing and show audiences the ridiculousness that can come from them. What it does is succeed in being a goofy comedy full of memorable characters and good writing punctuated by great performances. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all either as it throws audiences into a world full of wacky spy hijinks.

Much of the film’s humor comes in its satirization of those spy films, particularly those involving James Bond. It references conversations and adds onto them for some well placed humor and makes use of the naming conventions found in the series only to take them to absurd proportions. One of these characters takes the idea of who they’re based off of and turns a classic scene into one of the funniest lines in the film. Additionally, other good humor is found in how Powers finds himself a fish out of water whose lifestyle is not only out of date, but hilariously so to other characters. Even the sexual and toilet humor has some amount of interesting depth to it and isn’t there just for the sake of being there.

Austin Powers 2.PNG

The characters in this film are all great. Whether it’s the main villain and his excessive penchant for being a stickler to spy villain tropes, going so far as to berate other characters for not getting the idea, or Powers struggling to figure out spy work in a technologically advanced post-Cold War world, all the characters have their chance to shine and give lasting impressions. Vanessa Kensington is also a good straight man to Powers’ weirdness and Number Two is a good number two to the main villain. Both are able to take the silliness perpetuated by the characters they support and turn it around into jokes of their own.

This is a testament to how great the writing in this film is, with Myers knowing exactly what he is capable of and not trying to take it too far. The end result is a film full of clever gags and fun jokes mixed with all sorts of humor produced which rarely, if ever, falls flat. It’s supported by some good acting as all the actors can be seen having fun with their roles and running with the off the wall tone.

This film is nothing but a fun and wild ride with plenty of humor from beginning to end.

Awards

Won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA - Saturn Awards

  • Best Fantasy Film

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Villain (Mike Myers)

  • Best Dance Sequence

 

Nominated

20/20 Awards - Felix Awards

  • Best Score Comedy or Musical

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA - Saturn Awards

  • Best Costumes

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Favorite Actor - Comedy (Mike Myers)

  • Favorite Actress - Comedy (Elizabeth Hurley)

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Movie

  • Best Comedic Performance (Mike Myers)

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best First Feature Film (Jay Roach)