AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME
So, is AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME ($25) a DVD most collectors will want to own? The answer is a resounding Yeah, Baby, Yeah! This even funnier sequel is an absolute "must have" for anyone who loved AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY. Like a James Bond movie, AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME sticks to a basic formula of introducing a new Powers Girl, plus a new evil henchman, while having the hero square off against the megalomaniacal villain once again. However, unlike a Bond movie, everything in this film is played strictly for laughs.
For those of you who never saw AUSTIN POWERS INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY, here's a brief recap. Austin Powers (Mike Myers), the swinging sixties British super-spy was frozen by his government, when his arch nemesis Dr. Evil (Myers again) escaped from Powers by launching himself into the deep freeze of outer space. When the defrosted Dr. Evil returned to Earth thirty years later, the British government thawed out Austin Powers to neutralize his old enemy. Of course, Austin Powers manages to defeat Dr. Evil, save the world and marry the beautiful Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley)- all in less than two hours.
AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME picks up the story at the point when the first film ended. Austin, who has almost adapted to the monogamous nineties lifestyle, discovers on his honeymoon that his bride is in reality one of Dr. Evil's deadly fembots. Single once more, Austin the eternal swinger is ready to take on the world once more. That is, until Dr. Evil launches his latest plot to take over the world. With the aid of a time machine, Dr. Evil journeys back to the year 1969 where he attempts to render Austin Powers powerless by stealing his mojo from his still cryogenically frozen body. Discovering his mojo gone, Austin is forced to follow Dr. Evil back in time to thwart his evil plans and to recover his stolen mojo. Confused? Don't worry; you'll be laughing too hard to care. Anyway, once he's back in the swinging sixties, Austin teams up with the beautiful American agent Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) to locate Dr. Evil's secret lair and stop his latest insane (or is it inane) plot for world domination.
The brilliance of the entire Austin Powers phenomena lies in its characters. A bespectacled, fashion photographer with really bad teeth and foppish clothing isn't anyone's idea of a sexy British secret agent, yet Mike Myers brings off the character of Austin Powers with such finesse that one can't help but be charmed by this hilarious creation. Even funnier than Austin Powers is Myers' other creation- Dr. Evil. Dr. Evil is a completely clueless megalomaniac who comes up with one half-baked idea after another to take over the world and eliminate his enemy Austin Powers. The funniest thing about Dr. Evil is how everyone within his evil empire takes him seriously- all except his own son Scott (perfectly essayed by Seth Green) who recognizes his father's obvious shortcomings.
Speaking of shortcomings, AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME introduces a new character- a 1/8-scale clone of Dr. Evil whom the bad doctor has dubbed Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Anytime Dr. Evil and Mini-Me are on screen together, there is guaranteed laughter. Another new character that is guaranteed to get a laugh is Fat Bastard, a rotund Scotsman who takes lowbrow humor to a new hilarious low. Robert Wagner does another great comic turn as Dr. Evil's right hand man Number Two, plus Rob Lowe does an utterly amazing impersonation of Wagner as the younger version of Number Two. Not to be left out is Mindy Sterling, who is utterly sublime as Dr. Evil's right hand woman Frau Farbissina. The cast of AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME also features Kristen Johnston as Ivana Humpalot and Gia Carides as Robin Swallows. Also look for cameo appearances from Clint Howard, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson, Tim Robbins, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Jerry Springer.
New Line Home Video has issued AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME as a "Totally Shagadelic" new release in their prestigious Platinum Series of DVDs. AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME is offered wide screen only, in an utterly outstanding 16:9 enhanced transfer. The virtually perfect image is bright, crisp and highly detailed. Color reproduction is phenomenal; every vividly saturated psychedelic hue is perfectly rendered without a bit of chroma noise or bleeding. Despite the vividness of the other colors, flesh tones are exceedingly natural. Blacks are right on the money and contrast is picture perfect. The film element used for the transfer is totally pristine, plus there is no obvious film grain anywhere in the presentation. Digital compression artifacts are a non-issue thanks to first rate DVD authoring.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack sounds very good, but this track has a pretty typical comedy mix. Most out the activity remains in the forward soundstage, with the split surround channels supplying primarily ambience and musical fill to the soundtrack. There are a number moments when the surround channels do supply actual directional effects, but when you consider that this is the first soundtrack to offer THX Surround EX (6.1 decoded from 5.1), this track probably isnít the best introduction to the new format. Still, the sound mix has an incredibly open and effortless quality that keeps everything from the dialogue to the music sounding completely natural. Additionally the track provides powerful bass component that enhances big sound effects, as well as the filmís music. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles.
The interactive menus are beautifully designed sporting a really groovy interface that utilizes music, animation, full motion video and Austin Powers himself. All of the basics, like scene selection and setup are handled through the menu system, plus the menus also provide access to all of the DVDís supplements. A commentary track featuring Mike Myers, director Jay Roach and co-writer Michael McCullers tops the list of extras. Anyone who enjoyed the movie will find the commentary a rewarding experience for the wealth of behind-the-scenes information it provides.
Donítí miss the deleted scenes section of the DVD, with nearly twenty minutes of funny stuff that hit thee cutting room floor. How the segment entitled 2 Plus 2 managed to get snipped from the movie is anyoneís guess. The DVD also includes a behind-the-scenes documentary, four theatrical trailers and three music videos, including Madonnaís Beautiful Stranger and Lenny Kravitzís American Woman (with Heather Graham). Cast filmographies and a cameo index are also provided on the DVD. In a "hidden" menu page, one can find some Dr. Evil specific special features, including Comedy Centralís Canned Ham: The Dr. Evil Story. New Line has also included DVD-ROM content on this great little disc.
AUSTIN POWERS THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME is a hilarious movie and a superb DVD. Absolutely recommended.
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