‘Austin Powers Collection: Shagadelic Edition’ Blu-ray Disc Review
Being a huge James Bond fan myself, what Mike Myers and Jay Roach have done with the Austin Powers character is rather hilarious. They were able to spawn off two sequels with great success even though the series did decline a bit by the third film. They took James Bond and Bolod placing them in such a parody world, it can feel almost brilliant at times for the general premise while the execution is another story. The entire trilogy was able to bring in a total worldwide gross of $670 million dollars at the box office. That is quite astonishing considering the first film was based off of a smaller budget.
The story of ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’ centers around Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and his battle with longtime arch nemesis, Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) during the 1960’s. Dr. Evil has himself placed in cryogenic sleep to awaken one day so he can overtake the world. Austin Powers agree to undertake cryogenic sleep so he can defeat his nemesis without getting older. Dr. Evil awakens thirty years later in 1997 with the intent of taking over the world; he doesn’t realize how much things have changed in the world.
The British Ministry of Defense then takes Austin Powers out of cryogenic sleep to battle Dr. Evil one more time as he tries to launch a nuke into the Earth’s core destroying all of mankind. This time, Austin has some help from Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley) the daughter of his former partner. He slowly begins to fall for Vanessa by films end. Dr. Evil has the help of his aging team, Number Two (Robert Wagner) and Frau Farbissina (Mindy Sterling).
This is the best of the three Austin Powers films as we have one hilarious moment after the next. The sequels had a problem where they got to a point of becoming obnoxious. The original never strays away from its main theme and purpose.
In the sequel, ‘The Spy Who Shagged Me’ Dr. Evil travels back to 1969 so he can steal Austin’s mojo. Then we are taken through a series of events before the first film with Austin in cryogenic sleep, one of Evil’s henchman Fat Bastard (Myers) steals his mojo. When Powers learns that his mojo is missing, he has to also travel back in time to stop Dr. Evil and Fat Bastard. Dr. Evil’s clan has grown in size with the addition of Fat Bastard and his clone Mini-Me (Verne Troyer). Returning are younger version of Number Two (Rob Lowe) and Frau (Sterling) which wasn’t replaced with a younger actress except for bringing down her hair to look younger. Powers is yet not alone once again, he meets American CIA agent named Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) who will help him battle Dr. Evil and his minions.
In some ways this film works well and other ways it doesn’t. With the introduction of Mini-Me and Fat Bastard you would think that they would be enough to add a new element to the film. Fat Bastard gets more annoying than funny by the films end. I felt like they were trying to do way too much in this film that lost its focus.
In ‘Goldmember’, we are back to present time yet the time travel is still lurking in the storyline. This time around, Austin Powers is a huge international celebrity and the film opens almost as a film within a film where Steven Spielberg has made a film based off of Powers. Dr. Evil travels back in time to the 1970’s so he can team up with Johan van der Smut (Mike Myers). Johan is based off of ‘Goldfinger’ in the bond films; he has found a way to have the Earth get hit by a meteor. Powers stops Dr. Evil and Johan from destroying Earth as he is placed in jail. Austin Powers dad (Michael Caine) ends up getting kidnapped during this whole fiasco. Dr. Evil and Johan are behind this ordeal. This time, Powers time travels to 1975 to save his father as he was sent there by Evil and Johan. Powers meets FBI agent named Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles) as she helps him rescue his father and stop Dr. Evil once again.
I have enjoyed ‘Goldmember’ quite a bit, but the story is a mess and an extension of ‘The Spy Who Shagged Me’ with all this time traveling. When you thought that there was a lot going on with the second film, you will be taken for a ride with this one. Both Myers and Roach lost site of what made the first film so great with its simplicity.
Movie Content: 4/5
The print for each film is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio for all three films. This is a first for the first film to be in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. While the audio presentation is the same throughout all three films, the print is different in all three films.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery: Colors are strong throughout the entire presentation, but are not overly vibrant. Blacks are rather deep. I found the details of the film to be very good. The transfer is pristine from any print damage. There is also some grain throughout the film that is heavy at times. Video Quality= 3.5/5
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: Colors are bold and vibrant throughout the entire presentation. Blacks are rather deep. This film has the best details out of all three films. This film also carries a very clean print with no issues. Video Quality= 4/5
Austin Powers in Goldmember: Colors are bold and vibrant with some nice inky blacks that are deep. The image though carries a softer look due to the addition of DNR, which is a real shame. It hurts what could have been the best transfer of the bunch. Fleshtones look so waxy with the addition of the DNR. Video Quality= 3/5
Overall Video Quality: 3.5/5
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD for all three films. The soundtrack and the effects have really taken advantage of a high resolution audio mix. The rears get a decent amount of work out from effects. The soundfield is immersive when there is music playing from the soundtrack. Dialogue was rather clear through the center channel since this is more of a dialogue driven film. I did notice that with each film the sound did get a tad bit better.
Audio Quality: 4/5
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
- Commentary by Mike Myers and Director Jay Roach
- Deleted Scenes, Including 2 Alternate Endings
- Theatrical Trailer
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
- Commentary by Mike Myers, Director Jay Roach and Co-Writer Michael McCullers
- Nearly 20 Minutes of Groovy Deleted Scenes
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette Gallery
- Comedy Central Canned Ham the Dr. Evil Story
- Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger, Lenny Kravitz’s American Woman, Mel B’s Word Up, Dr. Evil and Mini-Me’s Just the Two of Us Music videos
- Theatrical Trailer
Austin Powers in Goldmember
- Fact Track
- Commentary by Mike Myers and Director Jay Roach
- Deleted/Alternate Scenes
- Documentary Gallery
- The World of Austin Powers Featurette Gallery
- Beyonce’s Work It Out, Britney Spears’ Boys, Ming Tea’s Daddy Wasn’t There, Dr. Evil and Mini-Me’s Hard Knock Life Music videos
All of the special features are presented in standard definition. The extras from each single DVD release of the films are also ported over to the Blu-ray Collection. It would have been great if the extras were available in high definition.
Special Features: 3.5/5
This is exciting that the entire ‘Austin Powers’ trilogy has been released on Blu-ray albeit a few issues with the print quality. Any fans of the film trilogy should pick up this collection in high definition as they easily trump their DVD counterparts. All extras from the DVD’s are ported over to each release.
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Purchase)