Where does that sweet spot between parody and satire overlap? Few pieces of art have managed it, and most have been accidental. Those that strive for an intentional link between the two are far weaker than those that have found it without trying. Blowing the cult culture wide open, there is a layer of comedy films from around the dying days of the 20th century that burst into the new age of the world with a strange tenacity. Austin Powers in Goldmember is not one of them, but the Mike Myers-led trilogy certainly had what it takes to become that. It used to be.
When it comes time to rank the world’s greatest peace-makers, Austin Powers will linger somewhere above Gandhi and below Mother Teresa. His inability to accept conflict into the lives of those around the world is an admirable quality we could merely wish to cling to. His honesty is groovy, his passion for music admirable, and the shagadelic qualities he possesses go beyond the rimmed glasses and funky pinstripe suits. Mike Myers retires the flamboyant flames of the original outing in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, but it is a necessary trade-off to produce the broad appeal the film has. Needing no real introduction, the series has taken on a life of its own through pop culture references and the fear of having an always-lingering 60s hippie who wields a revolver and jagged flirtations like a trained combat veteran.
Nostalgia is a dangerous game. The media we consumed as young, uncultured urchins are no match for those of us with any semblance of a palette. As I lurch into my 20s with all the grace of an eagle diving straight into a slab of concrete, I cling to memories of old and the joy they gave me. There is no greater treat than returning to a classic of the younger years, or so I thought. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery puts that theory to the test, a Mike Myers led comedy that exacerbates itself with humorous titbits and clips worthy of YouTube binges, but feel clumsy and out of place in a narrative format.
Sequels, often they’re tedious and nowhere close as good as the original. That, surprisingly, is not the case for Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, the sequel to that childhood classic everyone in my generation loves to feel wholly nostalgic for. It’s easy to see why, especially in my case when I’d come home from school and stick CBBC on, where they’d play classic Scooby-Doo every day. It was a lot of fun, one of the few things I miss from my childhood and it’s a painful reminder each day that I’ll never re-live such an enjoyable time. Still, I can try my best to cling to my nostalgia, especially by watching old classics I’ve not watched in years for fear of loathing them.