New Line // 1999 // 95 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Chief Justice Sean McGinnis (Retired) // November 20th, 1999
First, he fought for the Crown. Now, he's fighting for the Family Jewels.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me is the successful follow up to the original Austin Powers riot-fest recently released to DVD in a New Line Platinum Series edition. Loaded with extras this DVD is sure to please Austin Powers fans.
In this sequel to Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, the cast and crew return for even more laughs. The film begins with Dr. Evil's return to earth from his orbiting "Big Boy" with another sinister plan geared toward world domination. Of course, while Dr. Evil was away, Number Two (Robert Wagner) was busy building a legitimate business empire -- Starbucks! Bent on world domination, Dr. Evil insists on destroying his nemesis, Austin Powers. This evil plot begins with a journey back in time to steal Austin's "Mojo."
While the good doctor was away, his faithful team continued their experiments this time in the realm of human cloning and produced an exact replica of the bald blunderer but one-eighth his size. Dr. Evil takes a shine to the little one and calls him Mini Me. Mini Me and Dr. Evil travel back to 1969 where they meet up with a young Number Two (Rob Lowe) and Frau Farbissina. With the help of a grossly overweight Scottish guard Dr. Evil is able to steal Austin's "Mojo."
Meanwhile, back in the nineties, British Secret Intelligence learns of Dr. Evil's plan and sends Austin through time via a "shaggadelic" beetle convertible. Austin stumbles upon a CIA operative, Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham). The two spend the rest of the film foiling Dr. Evil's plot and falling in love along the way.
As we all know, New Line has consistently produced terrific special edition DVD's and this is no exception. Despite the bright color palette of this film, this disc remained visually stunning. Colors were very bright and deeply saturated but never ran together. The disc exhibited none of the tell tale problems of so many others such as grain or digital over enhancement. The 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer was an all around pleasure to watch save one small complaint -- the picture looked a bit two-dimensional, almost like a live action cartoon.
The audio track on this disc contains both a Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English. The disc is also the first ever to be encoded with a THX EX soundtrack. That said, this disc is a typical comedy in that it utilizes very little in the way of surround and low frequency effect channels. It would hardly be my choice as a first THX EX showcase. Never the less, the audio track does its job well. Dialogue is well centered and clearly audible with no hiss.
As usual with New Line's Platinum series, this disc is loaded with extras, including a commentary track with Mike Myers, director Jay Roach and co-writer Michael McCullers, a behind-the-scenes documentary, four theatrical trailers (including one from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), and 20 minutes worth of deleted scenes. The disc also includes some groovy musical extras such as music videos from Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and Mel B as well as links to Dr. Evil's musical numbers within the film and Comedy Central's "The Dr. Evil Story."
I have to admit I wasn't that fond of this film when compared to the original but few sequels live up to their older siblings. The big surprise for me was Rob Lowe's perfect re-creation of Robert Wagner's Number Two. Lowe's deadpan delivery stole the 95 minutes in my opinion. I found the rest of the so-called comical characters, such as Mini Me and Fat Bastard, not very funny. I know many of you will disagree with me, which is why I saved my comments for this part of the review. Nevertheless, we here at DVD Verdict are intent on passing judgement on the quality of both the film and DVD.
A good example of the difference between the two is the contrast of the two "toilet humor" scenes. In the original installment, there is a HILARIOUS and ORIGINAL segment where Austin goes into the loo and is attacked while sitting on the throne. The grunting and growling that ensues prompts his stall mate next door (played by Tom Arnold) to encourage him to "show that turd who's boss." A very funny scene. In this film, Austin mistakes a coffee pot for Fat Bastard's stool sample, takes a sip and says -- "ooh, it's a bit nutty tasting." Please.
In essence, if you love this movie, then grab the DVD. If you haven't seen this movie, but loved the original. Well, go ahead and buy it, but don't say I didn't tell ya. If you've seen neither, then rent them both. That's my recommendation anyway.
The film is guilty of a less creative brand of humor than the original. The disc and New Line, are of course acquitted with flying colors.
Review content copyright © 1999 Sean McGinnis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Behind-The-Scenes Documentary
* Commentary Track by Mike Myers, Jay Roach, Michael McCullers
* Deleted Scenes
* Dr. Evil's Hidden Special Features Page
* Music Videos - Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, Mel B
* Four Theatrical Trailers
* Trivia Game
* DVD-ROM Materials