With Xochi bringing us the first Austin Powers movie, the James Bond vibe was all-pervasive, even in the shorts. Xochi presented the ridiculous (and awesome!) Austrian ski chase from Roger Moore’s The Spy Who Loved Me, and Kevin followed that up with fan trailers from each of the first five Bond films – Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice.
Then, the real cheese began, when Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery hit the screen. Traditionally, I acknowledge the director here, so I’ll throw a shout-out to Jay Roach, who is known for the three Austin Powers movies, as well as the Meet The Parents series and Dinner For Schmucks, but you can’t really shake the feeling that this is really a Mike Myers production.
The plot? Well, it’s not terribly important. Free-Love lovin’ super-spy Austin Powers, who was cryogenically frozen in the late ’60s, is woken in the late ’90s to face his returned nemesis, Dr. Evil (both played by Mike Myers). Both Dr. Evil and Austin Powers have to deal with the new realities of the ’90s. For Powers, hitting on women just doesn’t seem to work as well, while Dr. Evil comes face to face with his decidedly un-evil son Scott and the fact that his evil corporation still can’t deliver sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads. In the end Austin Powers foils Dr. Evil’s plan to detonate a nuclear warhead at the center of the Earth and becomes a one-woman man by marrying the babealicious Elizabeth Hurley, while Dr. Evil escapes in his cryogenic rocket once again.
But it’s really all about the James Bond parody and the laughs. There’s a long list of Bond references which I could recapitulate, but since I’m no Bond scholar I’m really better off just linking to the Wikipedia entry and letting you read it, if you like. What I’ll give, in lieu of a detailed write-up, is show you some of the visual character references and throw out a few of the great lines. It’s really a better view of the movie than any plot write-up.
Austin Powers: Jimi Hendrix deceased, drugs. Janis Joplin deceased, alcohol. Mama Cass deceased, ham sandwich.
[returning Austin’s personal property after reanimating him]
Quartermaster Clerk: One Swedish-made penis enlarger.
Austin Powers: [to Vanessa] That’s not mine.
Quartermaster Clerk: One credit card receipt for Swedish-made penis enlarger signed by Austin Powers.
Austin Powers: I’m telling ya baby, that’s not mine.
Quartermaster Clerk: One warranty card for Swedish-made penis enlarger pump, filled out by Austin Powers.
Austin Powers: I don’t even know what this is! This sort of thing ain’t my bag, baby.
Quartermaster Clerk: One book, “Swedish-made Penis Enlargers And Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby”, by Austin Powers.
Dr. Evil: The details of my life are quite inconsequential… very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds- pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum… it’s breathtaking- I highly suggest you try it.
Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy’s nemesis, Austin Powers.
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don’t you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I’m going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.
Dr. Evil: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?
Number Two: Sea Bass.
Dr. Evil: [pause] Right.
Number Two: They’re mutated sea bass.
Dr. Evil: Are they ill tempered?
Number Two: Absolutely.
Dr. Evil: Oh well, that’s a start.
Austin Powers: That really hurt! I’m gonna have a lump there, you idiot! Who throws a shoe? Honestly! You fight like a woman!
Austin Powers: Only two things scare me and one of them is nuclear war.
Basil Exposition: What’s the other?
Austin Powers: Excuse me?
Basil Exposition: What’s the other thing that scares you?
Austin Powers: Carnies. Circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.
Dr. Evil: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my underground lair. I have gathered here before me the world’s deadliest assassins, and yet each of you has failed to kill Austin Powers. That makes me angry. And when Dr. Evil gets angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset… people DIE!
And of course (though I didn’t grab a picture because the visual resemblance wasn’t there, the Austin Powers “Italian bird” Alotta Fagina had her name clearly modeled after Goldfinger’s heroine Pussy Galore.