Friday, March 21, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) ***

PG-13, 89 min.
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Mike Myers
Starring: Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Michael York, Mimi Rogers, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Fabianna Udenio, Mindy Sterling, Paul Dillon, Charles Napier, Will Farrell

It has been over ten years since I’ve seen any of the “Austin Powers” movies. At the time of their release, they were phenomena. Today, they’re interesting enough. They’re still funny, but the low budget of the first one really shows through its seams. Of course, at the time the first movie was made, the producers had no idea it would catch on quite as well as it did, so what Mike Myers and company achieve with it is fairly impressive, if not all that impactful in the long run.

It really was the first genuine spoof movie that was any good to come along in quite some time. Myers so seems to enjoy his unlikely superspy character of Austin Powers that his energy carries much of the film. Myers was also smart to keep the plot of the film very basic and focus primarily on the absurdities of the spy genre and the nostalgia of sixties style filmmaking.

As always with films of this age, it’s fun to see where they were then with many of the faces, such as Will Farrell, who was merely a player on Saturday Night Live at the time and hadn’t begun his remarkable run of comedy films yet. Seth Green was still just a kid with his Robot Chicken empire well ahead of him. Clint Howard is still playing a controller of some sort someplace. And who would’ve thought that Elizabeth Hurley and Myers himself would’ve disappeared into obscurity by now.

I think this series will always contain an endearing quality to it (and I plan to look at the other two films soon). I’m glad I haven’t seen it in so long, however, as frequent visitations could certainly wear on its charm. But, hey, it’s groovy, man!

No comments: