AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY
New Line Home Videos Special Edition of AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY ($25) is one of the best produced DVDs released thus far. Or as the films star might say, this DVD is groovy baby!
AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY is writer/star Mike Myers goofy spoof of the sixties spy genre. Back in the sixties Austin Powers was a swinging fashion photographer/spy, on the trail of a super-villain known as Dr. Evil. Just as Powers was about to capture Dr. Evil, Evil launched himself into orbit in a cryogenic freezing capsule, vowing to return at some point in the future. Thirty years pass and Dr. Evil makes his return. This turn of events necessitates that the British government defrost Austin Powers, who has been kept in the deep freeze for just this purpose. The rest of the film is a fish out of water tale of a sixties hero and villain trying to find their way in a world that has passed them by.
Powers was the epitome of cool back in the sixties. Unfortunately, in the nineties Powers is anything but, and he moves from one social blunder to another. Myers screenplay also relishes in making fun of whats cool in the nineties. Actually, much of AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY is downright silly, but thats what constitutes this good-natured films appeal. Not only does Myers portray the films hero Austin Powers; he also fills the role of his arch-nemesis Dr. Evil. Elizabeth Hurley portrays the daughter of Powers former partner- Mrs. Kensington, who just happened to wear a leather cat suit (ala Diana Rigg) when fighting the bad guys. Like her mother, Vanessa Kensington has been assigned to work with Austin Powers. Hurley is a beautiful and charming actress, whose talent lies not in her looks, but winning screen presence. The cast of AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY also features Michael York, Mimi Rogers (who has never looked better than in her leather cat suit), Robert Wagner (who has never been funnier), Seth Green, and the ever-luscious Fabiana Udenio as Alotta Fagina.
New Line Home Video offers AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY in both Letterboxed and pan and scan versions on opposite sides of the DVD. The pan and scan version of AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY crops the image somewhat, but isnt too terrible. Color and detail are excellent on the pan and scan transfer. The Letterboxed transfer appears closer to the filmmakers intentions, although the aspect ratio appears well off the packages claim of 2.35:1. AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY would appear to have been produced in the Super 35 film format, which could yield prints in a number of aspect ratios, including 2.35:1. The Letterboxed transfer is closer to 2.0:1 than it is 2.35:1. The transfer does add some information to the sides of the image, which is absent from the pan and scan transfer. Otherwise, this transfer does seem to contain all the essentials. The image is sharp and quite well defined. Colors render beautifully with richly saturated hues. Digital compression artifacts were never bothersome on either Letterbox or pan and scan presentations.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack has a pleasing mix, with some nice directional effects, although the music seems to garner the largest benefits. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack, plus a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish. The interactive menus are the best Ive seen so far. They are all animated, plus they feature music and sound. The menus are in the same goofy style as the movie, and have a sense of humor all their own. The scene selector even offers moving video in tiny windows.
As supplement, there is an audio commentary featuring Mike Myers and director Jay Roach that is accessible via the interactive menus. The commentary is fun and does explain many of the hows and whys of the production. This Special Edition also features six deleted scenes, including two alternate endings. There is a cameo index that gives one access to the scenes featuring Tom Arnold, Carrie Fisher and Burt Bacharach. An original theatrical trailer is available through the interactive menus, as well as cast biographies/filmographies. As an added treat, one will find a theatrical trailer for the upcoming LOST IN SPACE movie. If the movie is as good as the trailer, LOST IN SPACE is going to be an awesome DVD.
Like I said above, AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY is one of the best produced DVDs Ive encountered. The movie is fun and the extras offered on the Special Edition DVD make it a tremendous value. Absolutely recommended!
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