Austin Powers : International Man of Mystery (1997)

Rating : ****

Can you believe it has nearly been 20 years since Austin Powers first danced onto our screens and stole our hearts.

Staring Mike Myers as both Austin Powers and his nemesis Dr. Evil the film was a much quoted beast of a film. It was a icon of my young life and a film that always makes me laugh no matter how long its been between watching it. A parody of spy films that spawned two sequels.

Lets be honest you can watch this movie 100 times over and still find something new to laugh at.

No matter your age you will find the eccentric character of Austin Powers annoying but lovable. He’s James Bond just not quite as attractive but still all the ladies fall for him. He’s a walking stereotype of what we think of when thinking of the 60s including terrible sayings and dress sense to boot. For all the craziness with his character and all the talk of sex and sexual freedom though there is something about his story that brings you closer then you’d ever think with this out of time man.

He’s no great fighter that his decade was better, there is a great speech about how if his people had known what their actions would lead to they’d do it differently but the passion behind it would have been the same and that is one thing that really hit you with him. For all the talk, all the jokes and everything else Austin was generally a nice guy BUT a product of his time who froze himself TO SAVE THE WORLD from a bad guy ONLY HE CAN THWART and unfroze in a time very different to his own. Even though he does end up going through a period of transition from 60s man thrown into the 90s to 60s man finally realising that the 90s are completely different and no one understands him AND he doesn’t understand them the reason you love the character is that he takes on board everything he goes to learn and keeps positive. He doesn’t let it change him, he doesn’t let it bring him down. He goes out there with his positive attitude and just learns.

Also for all the ladies man stuff, the lack of belief in monogamy and the fact he’s one walking sex cliche again there is a moment there when Vanessa flings herself at him drunk where he refuses to have sex with her because even though he’s been badgering her and bothering her the whole movie to sleep with him, but never being overly forceful just over the top playful, he knows that sleeping with her when she’s drunk just isn’t right.

There is a lot to laugh about in these movies but I’ve always felt those two moments were very poignant and usually not really talked about. It is easy with it being a comedy, and a parody to boot, to forget that the character does have some important moments and they don’t completely ignore the whole culture shock aspect of Austin waking up 30 years after he was frozen. They don’t go into great detail with it because he’s such a positive character that he kind of just got over it.

Of course why those moments go unnoticed to a lot of people is because comedy wise there is so much to laugh at in this movie it is unbelievable. It hasn’t aged at all either, watching it again nearly 20 years later and the jokes still hit their mark.

Austin isn’t even a terrible spy, you aren’t laughing because he’s bad at his job (like say Johnny English) you are laughing because in every scene there are so many word jokes or visual jokes to take in that you don’t always process them all the first time you watch it.

Also whilst the life of Austin is pretty much Spy life you get to follow Dr. Evil who doesn’t just have a world to conquer and money to make but a teenage son to bond with. Whoever came up with sending Dr. Evil and Scott Evil to father/son counseling is a genius because it was a brilliant scene.

Everything is very bright and has a great soundtrack to it.

It is one of those movies that you don’t have to sit and think whilst watching it, you just let the comedy wash over you and its better for it. I love watching it whenever I’m down in the dumps.

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