In addition to being the consummate ë60s symbol transferred to the ë90s, the Volkswagen also strikes Mike Myers as being prime for a government conspiracy. "Did you notice how suddenly they were everywhere?" He asks. "One day there were no new Beetles and the next day there were a gazillion. I think it was the same night that they turned Peking into Beijing. Nobody called me on that.
Adds Jay Roach: "The new Volkswagen really is a time machine? inside you're supposed to feel ë60s while it is clearly a ë90s car. It was the perfect channel to transport Austin from ë90s culture to ë60s culture."
The VW Time Machine works on esoteric scientific principles. Explains Roach: "You get in the car, type in the date you want, drive really fast and suddenly you hit a bit of critical physics and bang, you show up in a party driving the exact same car thirty years ago. " Then of course there are the strange rules of time travel. Roach carefully delineates them: "For example, if your teeth have been fixed in the ë90s, but you travel back in time to the ë60s, you are magically transformed back to the poor, blackened chompers you had when you started the ë60s."
Summarizes Jay Roach: "In a way, the whole movie is a strange time machine experience. The audience is transported back to the ë60s through music, through the look, through a VW Beetle and mostly through Austin's spirit."
Other slightly more mundane vehicles, especially vintage '60s automobiles, play a major part in the world of Austin Powers. In The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin once again tools around in his trademark "Shaguar," a 1967 Jaguar XKE with the British flag design. Felicity Shagwell's car is a 1965 Corvette Stingray convertible adorned with the American red, white and blue, stars and stripes, and with the license plate "CIA 1."
But as ever with Austin Powers, it's not what he drives but where he's going? down lanes of sheer outrageous, swinging good times - that makes him so endlessly fascinating. Summarizes Mike Myers: "Austin Powers is a very, very happy lover of life and the ladies, who in his spare time likes to make sure that the world is safe from evil. What else can you say?"
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