Austin Powers: Film Noir

Made by Juliana Concepcion, Cacy Thomas, and Ellie Kreidie

Drama, crime, and secrecy are all part of the game. As a staple of classic Hollywood film, film noir is unlike any other genre. With long complicated plots, dark and dreary sets, and cheap budgets, it is it’s own entity. Traditionally this genre is used to portray the characters in a film accepting their fate. They are solemn and sarcastic with a flare for static drama.

The theatrical conventions of film noir as well as the cinematography are born from the same origins. Some staple cinematic elements used in this genre are low-key lighting, hard shadows, black and white, and dramatic scoring.

Some well known film noir directors are Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder. Each man has produced a multitude of crime dramas using the cinematic techniques of black and white, sad and dramatic music, as well as dark shadowy settings.

Austin Powers in Goldmember is a groovy, tiedye blanket of a film. Mike Myers only adds to the mojo as a crime fighting, 70’s possessed spy trying to stop the adorably malevolent Dr. Evil. Evil has teamed up with Goldmember, a gold obsessed Dutchman, in order to kidnap Powers’s father and send him back in time. Along the way, Powers receives help from unlikely allies and scattered clues to find his father and return back in time.

With an all star cast beside him with the likes of Beyonce, Seth Green, Britney Spears (briefly), and Michael Caine, Mike Myers characterizes both Dr. Evil and the infamous Austin Powers. Known for its silly humor and constant laughs, Austin Powers in Goldmember is one of the most celebrated and treasured comedy blockbuster hits of the early 2000’s. Released in the US on July 22nd, 2002, with a box office intake of nearly $300 million, Austin Powers in Goldmember is the perfect parody of a classic film noir motion picture.

In order to create Austin Powers in Goldmember as a film noir we changed the entire physical look of the film as well as the feeling of lines spoken. We incorporated the key theatrical conventions that make noir what it is. This includes deep shadows in black and white, rain, jazz music, narration, smoking, a hard boiled detective, and a femme fatale. Each of these elements instantly transformed the action comedy of Austin Powers into comedic film noir. We also took lines from the original trailer and changed the style in which they were spoken so that it fit a mysterious film noir tone. The blocking was directed in a way that allowed for Austin Powers to sometimes be seen through an obstructed view, because we wanted to display him in as much shadow as possible. When compared to the original trailer, our version has much slower pacing and longer shots. We wanted to keep the sense of humor from the original Austin Powers’ personality, so we kept some of that, but also made him a bit of a tougher and more stern character. All of this mixed with the shady bridge location and ideal rainy weather made for the perfect Austin Powers: Goldmember film noir transformation.