Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) – Jay Roach

It’s odd that this one ends up in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, but it comes in under the mechanical menaces section of the book because of the dangerous fembots that menace the titular hero.

Mike Myers not only stars in this send up of spy films, but he also wrote it, paying homage from the obvious like the number of jabs it takes at the 007 series, to more subtle ones like the Harry Palmer spy films, starring Micheal Caine (who appears in the third film as Austin’s father).

Austin Powers (Myers) is a swinging secret agent in swinging London in 1967, and with the cat-suited (a little nod to The Avengers – tv show, not movie) Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers) at his side, and the mop-haired head of British Intelligence, Basil Exposition (Micheal York) providing plot points, Austin sets off after his nemesis, the Blofeld inspired Dr. Evil (also Myers).

Dr. Evil escapes via a Big Boy rocket, freezing himself in the process, planning to return to the Earth’s surface when he can continue his evil plans. Austin freezes himself so he’ll be ready to meet the challenge.

Flash forward to 1997 – Dr. Evil is back, learns he has a son (Seth Green) and that his monetary demands needs to be a little higher, while Powers is defrosted suffers from culture shock, and is paired with Kensington’s beautiful daughter, Vanessa (Elizabeth Hurley) in an effort to stop Evil once and for all, or at least until the next film.

Still laugh out loud funny, the jokes still land some twenty years later, and the skewering of the spy genre is as relevant as ever. As I watched it, I was stunned by how much of the dialogue I actually remembered (this one got played a lot in the store), and even knowing what was coming, still laughed at it.

This is arguably Myers’ best performance in any film he’s done, and he’s just so much fun to watch. The energy and humour bring real life to this movie, which honours the genre even as it skewers it and its tropes.

I remember this being huge upon release, but that was apparently just in my little world, it wasn’t until it hit home video that it really found its audience and took off, creating the need not for one, but in fact two sequels (those may have to be revisited sometime in the very near future).

It’s just so funny, and ended up being a pure delight to watch this one again. And lets be honest, those poor fembots didn’t even stand a chance.

What is the next menace I’ll encounter in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies? Pick up a copy for yourself today, and find something monstrous to watch!

Groovy baby!

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