Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. That marked a change from the old DVD, as the latter presented a compromise 2.0:1 framing.
The Blu-ray also looked a whole lot better than the DVD. Sharpness seemed good. A few wide shots looked just a smidgen soft, but those didn’t appear too frequently. For the most part, the movie was detailed and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and the transfer lacked edge enhancement. In addition, source flaws were essentially absent; I saw a speck or two, but nothing more.
Colors looked great, as they offered the strongest aspects of Mystery. The film used a varied and bright palette, and the movie provided clean and vibrant tones. Black levels were deep and dark, which shadow detail came across as appropriately dense but not excessively thick. Only some minor softness kept this one from “A” level, as it usually provided excellent visuals.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Mystery seemed pleasing. The film’s soundfield complemented the action, though it only became consistently active during the third act. The forward realm showed good stereo separation for the music, and those speakers also offered solid spread for effects. Those elements blended together well and moved neatly between the channels.
The surrounds mainly added general reinforcement, as Mystery featured a good sense of environment. Action scenes – especially during that third act – provided more active material from the back speakers and contributed pizzazz to the proceedings.
Audio quality appeared positive. At times, speech seemed distinct and natural, and the lines showed no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, and they demonstrated no distortion. Music seemed vivid and bright, and bass response appeared acceptably deep and tight. While never a dazzling mix, the soundtrack delivered the appropriate goods.
How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the original DVD? Audio was a bit peppier and fuller, while visuals seemed cleaner, tighter and less “digital”. The Blu-ray gave us an obvious step up over the ancient DVD.
All of the extras originally appeared on the old DVD. First we find an audio commentary from actor/writer Mike Myers and director Jay Roach. Both were recorded together for this running, screen-specific track. They discuss cast, characters and performances, story areas, influences and inspirations, music and period details, costumes, sets and production design, stunts, effects and a few other issues.
Although it sags at times, Roach and Myers generally offer an entertaining and informative piece. The pair cover a reasonable amount of details related to the movie, and though Myers isn’t the laugh riot one might expect, he drops some funny lines at times. I especially liked the running gag in which he mocks Roach’s insistence that Liz Hurley appeared in skimpy outfits as part of her “character arc”. Overall, the commentary seems good but unexceptional.
One oddity: unlike 99 percent of audio commentaries, this one doesn’t play movie audio in the background. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, but since I’m so accustomed to hearing the soundtrack along with the commentary, it becomes a bit disconcerting here.
By the way, at one point Roach states that his wife inspired the scene in which we see that Vanessa individually bags her clothes for travel. This comment becomes more interesting when you know Roach married Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles.
In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we locate seven deleted scenes, including two “Alternate Endings”. Each of these lasts between 46 seconds and two minutes, 52 seconds for a total of 11 minutes, 23 seconds of material.
Although none of these seem like killer clips, they are at least interesting and watchable, more so than a lot of the dreck that ends up on the cutting room floor. In any case, they make for quite a nice and entertaining extra and add value to this set.
I never thought that Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery would spawn a successful franchise, but the movie definitely presents a generally amusing and entertaining piece of work. Though erratic, it tosses in enough warm and endearing humor to make it a fun film. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and audio with a small but generally positive selection of supplements. The disc combines a fun movie and a satisfying cinematic presentation.
To rate this film, visit the DVD review of AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY