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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: MPEG 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 3 Deleted scenes
  • 1 Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette
  • Music video

Austin Powers - Special Edition

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

The Region 4 version of Austin Powers will become a big seller. Finally R4 is getting some quality material, with high quality video transfers and recent movies. Austin Powers is a love it or hate it movie, but either way it sure is worth watching.

  Video
Contract

The transfer quality is very good. Not quite as good as say R4 Jerry McGuire, but very close. There is some noise or perhaps its just the print but things aren't quite as crystal clear as they could be. The encoding bit-rate is very high, so the detail is excellent. It averages at 5.37Mb/sec and often peaks over 8 for those very busy scenes. The colours are very good, many are purposely oversaturated, for instance the opening dance sequence set in 1967 is very bright and colourful. I also own the NTSC laserdisc of this movie and comparing the colours it seems the R4 one is much brighter overall , i.e. white than the NTSC one, so turning your brightness TV adjustment down equals it out. The Anamorphic transfer is framed at exactly 16:9 or 1.78:1 which is quite different to the NTSC version which is at 1.90:1. However most of the frame is there in the R4 transfer, and its much better than having it in 4:3.

  Audio
Contract

This DVD unfortunately features MPEG multi-channel audio track which doesn't ever look like will take off, in addition to the 5.1 Dolby Digital track. What a waste of space that MPEG is.

The audio overall is good. Nothing spectacular, as this movie didn't have a huge budget. Surround info is there and does add to the movie however for the most part, dialogue is the key and everything is as it should be. The LFE Bass channel is also used sparingly but too good effect. Comparing the Dolby Digital on the LaserDisc to the DVD, its basically the same. One thing to note, since this is a PAL title, it runs 4% faster than the NTSC version. You would really only notice this if you have both running at the same time, or you have seen the 24fps one a million times. The running time is 95 min, but features extra scenes which were oddly cut from the NTSC release.

  Extras
Contract

Here the region 1 DVD is greatly superior. It features running commentary by Director, Jay Roach and Mike Myers (Austin Powers and Dr. Evil) which is quite funny, but for the most part only for true Austin fans. In addition to this, the R1 version has 6 extra scenes, two alternate endings, star highlights, trailers and bios. To be fair the R4 release does have Bios, trailer, featurette, and "BBC" video clip but lacks the extra scenes (other than 3 in the movie itself). Nor does it inlcude alternate endings. All the extras and menus are done much better, more professionally on the R1 version. The menus on the R4 are quite good, featuring animated backgrounds, but the scene selections only have titles. Screen shots are the bare minimum here.

  Overall  
Contract

If you love the movie you'll want this disc. I actually didn't like it very much the first time I viewed it. But when I borrowed it on laserdisc, I loved it. Now I am often quoting lines from it, to me its a cult classic. The Music is also great, put together by George S. Clinton. Its a movie which works very well at home, many of the jokes are very subtle and will be discovered only after several viewings, which makes it a great disc to buy and watch many times. The great video quality also makes it one to show off, however my favourite disc for that is Starship Troopers, the scene where this first Taker Bug rises from the ground is certain to convert anyone to DVD.


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    - Mark Pakula
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    • Video Cables:
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