Austin Powers (film series)


Austin Powers (film series)

Infobox Film
name = Austin Powers series
director = Jay Roach
writer = Mike Myers
Michael McCullers
starring = Mike Myers as Austin Powers
producer = Mike Myers
music = George S. Clinton
distributor = New Line Cinema
released = 1997 - TBA
runtime = 283 min. (total)
gross = $472 million
country = USA
language = English
The "Austin Powers" series is a series of comedy films written and produced by and stars Mike Myers as the title character, directed by Jay Roach and distributed by New Line Cinema. The films mainly spoof the James Bond, Derek Flint, Jason King and Matt Helm franchises, incorporate myriad other elements of popular culture and follow the British spy's attempts to bring the villain Doctor Evil to justice.

They poke fun at the outrageous plots, rampant sexual innuendo, and one-dimensional stock characters characteristically associated with 1960s spy films, as well as the cliché of the ultra-suave male superspy. Contrary to the handsome, super-smooth leading men of the James Bond genre, Powers is not characterized as being conventionally attractive (he is especially known for his bad teeth), although female characters in the films seem to find him irresistible.

The general theme of the films is that arch-villain Dr. Evil plots to extort large sums of money from governments or international bodies but is constantly thwarted by British super-spy Austin Powers, and (to a degree) his own inexperience with life and culture in the 1990s. To incorporate cultural elements of the 1960s and 1970s all the films feature time travel as a plot device and deliberately overlook inconsistencies.

Original sources

Mike Myers himself has stated in interviews that the idea for Austin Powers came to him one night while driving home from hockey practice. Hearing the song "The Look of Love" by Burt Bacharach on his car radio, he wondered "Where have all the swingers gone?", and conceived the character who would become Austin Powers. The first phrase he thought the character might say was "Do I make you horny?" which later did indeed become a catch phrase for the character.

A Canadian by birth, Myers's parents are British and he holds dual nationality. Although the films parody the plots and characters of 1960s spy movies, the humour is influenced by Myers' British heritage particularly the bawdy "Carry On" films, Benny Hill and Peter Sellers of whom Myers is a self-confessed fan (his favourite films being the Bond spoof "Casino Royale" and "The Party"). Influences from Sellers' films are apparent throughout the series with the character of Austin Powers being inspired by Seller's portrayal of Roger Danvers in the 1972 film "There's a Girl in My Soup". Powers' dandyish appearance is inspired by Jason King - the adventurer from Department S who starred in his eponymous spin-off show. The name "Austin Powers" is probably inspired by the British Austin brand of motorcar. Other influences are The Beatles films, "The Monkees" television series and the cocktail party scene from "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In".

Characters

Powers' "cover persona" (to hide his job as an international agent) is as a fashion photographer, which provides an opportunity in the first two films to satirize Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up" as well as Dean Martin's Matt Helm character. The signature eye glasses hail from the Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) films, but most clearly the iconic look of Peter Sellers in the mid-1960s, which is seen in "Casino Royale". Appropriately, Caine played Austin's father, Nigel Powers, in "Goldmember" (and wore the original glasses from "The IPCRESS File").

Powers' nemesis is Dr. Evil, a character based on Blofeld of the Bond films. Other Bond inspired villains include Frau Farbissina, most probably based on "From Russia with Love"'s Rosa Klebb and On Her Majesty's Secret Service's Irma Bunt; Dr. Evil's right hand man, Number 2, probably inspired by "Thunderball"'s Emilio Largo (who was referred to in that film as Number 2) and referring also to Number 2 in "The Prisoner"; Alotta Fagina, a pun on "Goldfinger"'s Pussy Galore; Ivana Humpalot is a pun on "Xenia Onatopp"; and Random Task, again a pun, this time on "Goldfinger"'s Oddjob. The figure "Goldmember" in the 2097 film of the same name is himself a stand-alone referral to the character Auric Goldfinger.

Michael York's character Basil Exposition is named Exposition because Basil literally provides the audience with the exposition of the plot. The name serves to parody M (or some other high ranking official) in the Bond movies who briefs Bond about his new mission. Like M, Basil makes use of sophisticated presentation devices to explain the "plot" and "characters". The Bond screenwriters often made these clunky scenes more entertaining by, for example, showing Bond being briefed in a secret cave (in "The Spy Who Loved Me") or by playing off Bond's one-upmanship with M.

As for the female lead characters, from "International Man of Mystery", Mrs. Kensington and her daughter Vanessa and the tight-fitting leather catsuits they wear are based on the female partners of John Steed, (especially Diana Rigg's character Emma Peel) from "The Avengers".

Felicity Shagwell in "The Spy Who Shagged Me" is a stereotypical "hippie chick" from the 1960s whose name is based on the double entendre inspired names of several female James Bond characters such as "Pussy Galore", "Xenia Onatopp", "Holly Goodhead" or "Mary Goodnight" (in the French version of "The Man with a Golden Gun", Britt Ekland's character is named "Bonne Nuit" while Heather Graham's Shagwell is dubbed "Bonne Baise" in the French version of "The Spy Who Shagged Me", an obvious reference to the 1974 Bond movie). She is also considered as an American version of "Modesty Blaise". Heather Graham also mentions on the "" DVD that her character is based on the title character played by Jane Fonda in 1968 film "Barbarella".

Foxxy Cleopatra in "Goldmember" is clearly based on female characters from 1970's "blaxploitation" or "soul cinema" motion pictures, especially those featuring Pam Grier. The name itself clearly is based on "Foxy Brown" (played by Grier) and "Cleopatra Jones" (played by Tamara Dobson). Other elements of her character are taken from Grier's characters in the films "Coffy" and "Friday Foster". Teresa Graves's performance in the short-lived crime drama "Get Christie Love!" might also be an inspiration, but all of the vixens in the "soul cinema" genre might be considered formulaic.

A few other 1960s' films that seem to have been source material for the satirical blend of the characters:

*"Dr. No" (1962, Dr. No's HQ/Dr. Evil's HQ)
*"You Only Live Twice" (1967, the Blofeld/Dr. Evil appearance.) (Also the "In Japan, Men Come First, Women Come Second." line.)
*"Casino Royale" (1967, many elements, itself a spoof of the Bond films.)
*"Blow-Up" (1966, the virile fashion photographer.)
*"Our Man Flint" and "In Like Flint" (1966 and 1967, many elements. Austin, in "The Spy Who Shagged Me", says the latter title is his favorite movie.)
*"The IPCRESS File" (1965, Harry Palmer's glasses.)
*"Alfie" (1966, mentioned and parodied throughout all three movies)
*"The Island of Dr. Moreau" (Dr. Evil plays a duet of "What If God Was One of Us" on a large piano with Mini Me on a smaller keyboard in "The Spy Who Shagged Me", a parody of a similar scene in the aforementioned film.)

Cars

There were two cars featured in the films, called "SWINGER" and SWINGER2". The cars were a Jaguar E Type and XK8 convertible. He also called these cars "Shaguars". He is also seen driving a modern Volkswagen Beetle convertible in the second movie. In addition, Nigel Powers' car is a Mini, which is able to travel under water and has a license plate reading "GR8SHAG". There were two cars made by the MOD to transport Austin back in time, one of them being the Volkswagen Beetle. We can also see Felicity Shagwell, in the second movie, driving a 1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette with a U.S.A. flag paintjob.

cenes

The sequence in "Goldmember", when Foxxy Cleopatra dubs what a character behind her is saying, is taken from "After the Fox". A scene in the same film when Powers adjusts the fountain to make the statue urinate to a greater distance is taken from "The Party".

Another major source of humour derives from Powers' having been cryogenically frozen in the 1960s and revived in the late 1990s (roughly parodying the 1966 spy series "Adam Adamant Lives!" about an Edwardian secret agent who was frozen) without having any sense whatsoever of changes that have occurred in society the intervening years.

:"...but as long as people are still having promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection while at the same time experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in a consequence-free environment, I'll be sound as a pound!" - Austin Powers.

The Films

The series so far consists of the following films :
*1997 - ""
*1999 - ""
*2002 - "Austin Powers in Goldmember"

An early draft of the first film's script features a post-credits scene that states "SEE AUSTIN POWERS IN "YOU ONLY FLOSS ONCE", and also advertises movies such as "Middle Name: Danger" (which is supposed to be set in the 1950s, and made to reflect that it was made at that time), "Four Eyes Only" (a supposed 1970s film where Austin is played by Roger Moore), and "From India With Affection" (where Austin is portrayed as an Indian gentleman). None of these movies are real, of course, furthering the Bond parody theme of the series as a whole. [ [http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/clarke/38/scripts/Austin-Powers.htm "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" - by Mike Myers ] ]

Austin Powers 4

During an interview "Entertainment Weekly", [ [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1114708,00.html Mike Myers may return to 'Austin Powers' | Mike Myers | Pop Culture News | News + Notes | Entertainment Weekly ] ] Mike Myers discussed the possibility of studio sources moving forward with a fourth Austin Powers film. "There is hope!" says Myers of the latter. "We're all circling and talking to each other. I miss doing the characters."

In an interview with IGN (May 16 2007), [ [http://movies.ign.com/articles/788/788829p2.html IGN: Interview: Mike Myers and Antonio Banderas ] ] IGN asked, "So no more "Austin Powers"?" and Myers said,"No, no, there is a fully conceived idea for a fourth and I can just say that it's from Dr. Evil's point of view. So if you balanced how much of it was Austin with Dr. Evil, it's more about Dr. Evil than Austin." In mid-February it was announced that Roach will return for this film.

In May 2007, at the "Shrek the Third" premiere, Mike Myers announced that a fourth Austin Powers film is planned but that it would focus more on Dr. Evil than Austin himself. He also said that he'd be starting work on it after he starts work on another film project, "The Love Guru", in August 2007. [Mike Myers - MTV interview - http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1559113/20070501/story.jhtml] It was also thought that Gisele Bündchen had been offered a role in the film. [Bundchen the Fourth Austin Powers Girl? - http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=44010] Myers recently stated in an interview with TV Guide Network that he plans to begin serious work on the fourth installment in the Austin Powers series. Confirming earlier reports, Myers stated that the upcoming film will indeed be shot from the point of view of Dr. Evil, Austin Powers' nemesis.

In a June 2008 interview, when asked about another Austin Powers film, Myers stated, "I have an idea, and again it's one of those things that will emerge or it won't." [ [http://www.latinoreview.com/news.php?id=4813 Mike Myers on Love Guru, Shrek 4, Austin 4 and Wayne's World - Movie News - Latest Movie Reviews and trailers ] ]

Characters

Box office reception

The first film in the series, ' cost $16.5 million, opened on May 2, 1997, and made a modest impact, grossing US$53 million in its North American release. The film was not a major success in theatres, but became a hit and cult classic on the home video market and cable television. In June 1999, the film spawned a sequel, '. This, however, was a huge box office hit, the third-highest grossing film of the summer (Behind only ' and "The Sixth Sense"), earning US$206 million in its North American release. In its North American opening weekend it earned US$55 million (then the third biggest debut in box office history), and became the first movie sequel to outearn the original after only its first weekend. The 282% increase in total box office gross from the original to sequel is a feat beaten by "s 434% increase and The Color of Money's massive increase of 687% over The Hustler (7.6 for The Hustler to 52.2 million for The Color of Money, but in 1986 dollars The Hustler (1961) made almost 28 million). A third film, "Austin Powers in Goldmember", was released in 2002 to similar fanfare, earning US$213 million. The "Austin Powers" trilogy is one of the few movie series in which every sequel has outearned the film that preceded it. As of 2006, a fourth installment in the series was in limbo, although comments made during the Special Features of the "Goldmember" DVD suggested that the series may not go beyond a trilogy. In May 2007, however, TV channel G4 informed viewers that a fourth film has been planned, with the story focusing on Dr. Evil's point of view.

Charts

* "Figure as of May 6, 2007"

Games

;Video games
*"" ("Game Boy Color")
*"" ("Game Boy Color")
*"Austin Powers in Operation Trivia" ("PC and Macintosh")
*"Austin Powers Pinball" ("PlayStation")

;Other
*"Austin Powers Collectible Card Game by Decipher Inc

Recurring jokes

Many jokes which were originally featured in the first movie have recurred in subsequent installments, acquiring the status of running gags. Some notable examples include:
*Dr Evil silencing people with repeated variations of the same phrase;
*The frequent appearance of objects shaped like genitalia;
*Mustafa failing to die despite serious injuries;
*Random objects being repeatedly placed/held in position in the foreground just enough to block view of the breasts or genitals of naked background characters;
*Sexually suggestive names for female characters;
*A recurring SWINGER number plate for Austin's car;
*Dr Evil asking for ludicrously high or low ransom figures;
*Dr Evil replying with "Riiiiiiight..." after an awkward moment;
*Dr Evil (and Mini Me) having difficulties with various types of chairs;
*The use of real-world product names such as Preparation H or The Alan Parsons Project for criminal projects.

Another gag is a situation where Austin, in silhouette, is seen to be performing lewd, suggestive or otherwise comical acts when, in fact, he is not. Examples include, in the second film, when a character appears to be inserting and removing comically large objects from his anus, and in the third film when Austin appears to "give birth" to Mini-me.

Jokes seen in the second and third films are the synonym joke, where a spacecraft shaped like male genitalia is seen in the air, while people say "That looks like a..." then is cut to "Dick! Look at that, wow it looks like a..." (for example) and on, and women's breasts for the third movie.

References

* [http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/2002/2002-04-10-bond-powers.htm USA Today] discusses parallel with Pussy Galore
* [http://www.slangcity.com/movie_quote/bondgirls.htm Slang City] (online) discusses parallel with Pussy Galore
* [http://www.citylinkmagazine.com/culture/movies/austin.htm The spy who came in from the cold] , by Barbara Lester
* [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID%3D/19970502/REVIEWS/705020301/1023&template=printart Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery] , Chicago Sun Times, By Roger Ebert May 2, 1997

External links

*imdb title|0118655|Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
*imdb title|0145660|Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
*imdb title|0295178|Austin Powers in Goldmember
*imdb title|1218992|Austin Powers 4


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