43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We're not your classic heros. We're the other guys.
Being acutely familiar with the source material for this film as I collected many a comic book in my youth, I thought Mystery Men (1999) did a really good job staying close to its' roots. Based on characters created by Bob Burden and showcased within the pages of his 'Flaming Carrot' comic book, Mystery Men highlights those 'not so super' super heroes, the blue collar...
Published on March 25, 2004 by cookieman108
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Men a real mystery
The only mystery (excuse the pun) to me is why several DVD and film review magazines rated this film quite highly. With a strong comedy cast (Stiller, Garafalo etc...) I had high hopes for a great film. Sadly this film turned out to be a big let down. The comedy fell into two ballparks, blatantly obvious slapstick and subtle comedy thats so subtle its not even there...
Published on February 8, 2000 by M. MCCABE
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We're not your classic heros. We're the other guys.,
This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)Being acutely familiar with the source material for this film as I collected many a comic book in my youth, I thought Mystery Men (1999) did a really good job staying close to its' roots. Based on characters created by Bob Burden and showcased within the pages of his 'Flaming Carrot' comic book, Mystery Men highlights those 'not so super' super heroes, the blue collar ones that don't necessarily have the most spectacular powers, but seem to share a desire to protect their fellow man against evil and it's minions.
The film has a pretty impressive ensemble cast including Ben Stiller as Mr. Furious, William H. Macy as The Shoveller, Janeane Garolafo as The Bowler, Paul Rubens as The Spleen, Hank Azaria as The Blue Raja, Greg Kinnear as Captain Amazing, and Geoffery Rush as the villain Casanova Frankenstein. The supporting cast includes Claire Forlani, Lena Olin, Tom Waits, Eddie Izzard, Artie Lange, and Louise Lassiter.
The story involves the kidnapping of Capitol City's most popular hero, Captain Amazing (Kinnear) by Casanova Frankenstein, and a small group of less than stellar heroes attempting to rescue him while thwarting the villain's evil scheme to subjugate the city to his will. The core group, consisting of Mr. Furious (his rage is boundless), The Shoveller (he shovels better than anyone), and The Blue Raja (flinger of cutlery), realize they don't have the numbers to go up against Casanova and his gang, so they have a recruitment drive and enlist the aid of The Bowler, whose bowling ball is imbued with the spirit (along with the skull) of her deceased father, Invisible Boy (who can only turn invisible when no one is watching), The Spleen (whose powers involve the ability to produce flatulence and direct it with precision accuracy), and The Sphinx (Wes Studi), whose main power seems to be the ability to produce a conundrum for any situation . Also they acquire some very interesting non-lethal weaponry from a local mad scientist Dr. A Heller (Tom Waits) to assist them in their mission.
The production values in the movie are really wonderful, creating beautifully detailed sets and serve well to create a comic book atmosphere that fit the story well. I was impressed with the director's ability to focus on the core characters just enough to provide the appropriate background, while keeping the secondary characters in the loop. There was a lot going on in the film, so I think this was quite a juggling act. A lot of the humor was tongue in cheek, sort of spoofing the image of the classic superhero, and doing so in a good-natured way. Some of the humor is crude, and the movie does get a little bogged down in silliness at times, but the actors all seemed to have a lot of fun putting forth their performances, and it comes through.
There are a ton of special features available, from deleted scenes, production notes, a history of the Mystery Men from their comic book origins, biographies, a commentary track with the director, recommendations, musical highlights from the film, and more. The deleted scenes are worth checking out as I think they weren't so much removed from the film due to the poor quality of the scenes, but probably a desire to trim the running time of the movie as it is at two hours as released. I probably wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone, but if you have an odd side to your sense of humor, and can appreciate a somewhat subversive look into the world of super heroes, then you may enjoy this film. I you liked this film I would also recommend The Specials (2000), another super hero movie of sorts, with a similar skewed view and a wry sense of humor.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In My Opinion: Hilarious,
This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)Champion City is the home of one of the greatest superheroes of all time: Captain Amazing. Unfortunatly for him, his crime fighting skills have left him without any publicity left except for the odd toothpaste commercial. Reduced to fighting gangs at nursing homes and steadily loosing his sponsers, Captain Amazing comes up with a plan. Using his alterego, the millionaire Lance Hunt, he bids for the release of one of his favourite arch-villains to be released in the hopes of defeating him and gaining some much-needed recognition. Thus, Casanova Frankenstein is released.
But there is another level to the superhero regime: the Shoveller (whose weapon is various types of shovels), the Blue Rajah (who throws forks, has a fake British accent and still lives with his mum) and Mr Furious (whose power comes from his barely controlled temper and has trouble coming up with suitable comebacks) are all wannabe heroes, who usually emerge from a fight with black eyes. Yet when Captain Amazing goes missing, they agree that it's up to them to stop Casanova and rescue the city from whatever terrible scheme he's cooking up.
To do this, the boys need reinforcements: after a rather dismal audition for new recruits to the team, the trio install the Bowler, whose murdered father's skull she keeps incased in a bowling ball, the Spleen whose power comes from the awful potency of his flatulence, and the Invisible Boy...who can only turn invisible when no one's looking at him. Rounding it off is the Sphinx, who takes the superheroes in for some physcho-babble training ("control your power, or your power will control you", and so on), and Professor Heller, who provides the team with the non-lethal weapons he invents. Its a somewhat troubled team, but one that has the rousing speeches and slow-motion walk down cold - they just might pull this off!
In my opinion, "Mystery Men" is hilarious, and is the long awaited spoof of superhero comics that we've been waiting for. The reason the humour works so well is in the performances of the top-notch cast, who perform with such seriousness that even the most rediculous moments come across as likely senarios. There are many moments from comic books that are easily familiar, such as the Shoveller's inability to believe Furious's theory that Lance Hunt and Captain Amazing are one and the same because: "Lance Hunt wears glasses. Captain Amazing *doesn't* wear glasses. He wouldn't be able to see!" Likewise, the good guys' distain at the evil henchmen who don't even have a theme to their costume and the many wannabe-heroes that turn up to the audition are continously funny.
Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo in particular carry their roles across with droll humour, and Geoffry Rush looked as if he had the time of his life playing the evil Casanova Frankenstein. All the characters, such as the Shoveller's long-suffering wife, Furious's waitressing love interest, and the Rajah's mother fit into the movie perfectly, creating a "real" backdrop for the heroes to work against.
It won't be everyone's cup of tea, and I admit that certain scenes (such as the fork-sitting, Spleen's farting and the skunk encounter) could have done with a little editing, but it suited my sense of humour perfectly, and had just the right amount of mockery and reverence toward the comic book heroes that makes it one of my favourite spoof movies.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It ain't Shakespeare --,
This review is from: Mystery Men [VHS] (VHS Tape)-- so, just sit back and enjoy it! Original, very funny andentertaining movie about a group of superhero-wannabes who bandtogether to save their city's real, yet commercially-sponsored,superhero (Greg Kinnear) from the clutches of the evil Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) and his Bee Gees-loving henchmen. Led by The Shoveler (William H. Macy)and Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), the "Mystery Men" -- a misnomer since the group's person with any real powers is a woman (Janeane Garofalo at her sarcastic best)-- team up with a non-lethal weapons expert (Tom Waits) to save their city. Some really funny moments and memorable lines, especially from the Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), the "British" superhero who doesn't have a shred of blue in his outfit, and the "terribly mysterious" Sphnix ("Dances with Wolves'" Wes Studi). I would have loved to seen more development of Invisible Boy's (Kel Martin) character -- no pun intended -- but less of scenes like Spleen's (Paul Reubens) encounter with the skunk. The movie's message is obvious -- we identify with these heroes because they represent who we are. Bottom line -- rent it first, because you'll either love it or hate it. If ya love it, I'm sure Amazon can hook you up. If not, then take comfort that there are worse movies you could've rented. Peace!... END
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Men a real mystery,
This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)The only mystery (excuse the pun) to me is why several DVD and film review magazines rated this film quite highly. With a strong comedy cast (Stiller, Garafalo etc...) I had high hopes for a great film. Sadly this film turned out to be a big let down. The comedy fell into two ballparks, blatantly obvious slapstick and subtle comedy thats so subtle its not even there. Theres one high point though, and thats the nonsical and nihilistic philosopher The Sphinx. His cliched sayings are the biggest and only laughs in the whole film. The quality of the DVD transfer is very high, and the added extra are quite varied (deleted scenes, origin of chars etc...). If you collect DVDs for collection sake then you'll probably get this no matter what I say, but if you are into good comedies hire it on video or DVD before you decide to add it to your collection.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step Aside, "Rocky Horror...",
This review is from: Mystery Men [VHS] (VHS Tape)Play it straight, and they will laugh; the credo of director Kinka Usher and a superb cast that propels "Mystery Men" to the status of #1 cult movie of all time. When the evil Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) is released from a mental institution and threatens to take over Champion City after capturing the local superhero, Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear), a trio of wannabe superheroes, Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), The Shoveler (William H. Macy) and The Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), come to the rescue. Before confronting such a formidable opponent, however (Frankenstein is joined by a myriad assortment of underworld denizens), they realize that more help is needed and decide to recruit. Soon they are joined by The Invisible Boy (Kel Mitchell), The Spleen (Paul Reubens), The Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) and a heavy hitter from down South, The Sphinx (Wes Studi). The result is a brilliant ensemble piece that delivers the goods without ever patronizing the audience, playing it straight at all times. Witty dialogue, exemplary performances (especially by Stiller, Garofalo and Macy), and a number of absolutely hilarious scenes make this an instant classic. The solid supporting cast includes Lena Olin (Dr. Annabel Leek), Eddie Izzard (Tony P.), Tom Waits (Doc Heller), Claire Forlani (Monica), Louise Lasser (The Blue Raja's mother), Jenifer Lewis (Lucille) and Pras (Tony C.). "Mystery Men" is a truly inspired film, laced with subtle humor that will keep you laughing and thinking about it for a long time. This is a movie that can be seen time and again, with a new chuckle to be gleaned with every viewing, guaranteed. For a good time and a lot of laughs, treat yourself to this masterwork of comedy; you'll soon discover it's the real deal, and you won't regret it. In the immortal words of The Sphinx: "We are number one! All others are number two, or lower-"
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comics get roasted,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)It may seem like a strange or impossible task, but Mystery Men is a terrific send up of Comic Book heroism. This movie was made primarily for comic fans, who will recognize some of the subtle references that make this flick so likable. It won't leave non-comic fans in the dark, though. Pick it up and watch it over and over again.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as funny as the preview...,
This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)After seeing the preview for Mystery Men in the theater, I couldn't wait to see it. I'm a fan of Ms. Garofalo, and who can doubt the creative genius that is Hank Azaria...
However, something intangible was glaringly absent from this movie. The classic excuses for being bad spring to mind: It was too long. The jokes didn't "click." The pace was too slow. Something...
I can't say exactly what caused me to take this DVD out of the player and put it back in the case, but I will say that I grew tired of the movie before I made it to the end.
Even though I had ample time to finish watching the movie, I returned it... unfinished to the video store... without a guilty conscious.
My time, in my opinion, was better spent in other ways...
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sphinx: "We are number one. All others are number two, or lower",
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This review is from: Mystery Men [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)A delightfully funny parody of superhero movies, "Mystery Men" is based on the comic book featuring "Flaming Top". Champion City is thrown into chaos when super villian Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush)gets out of prison on parole and takes the city's sponsership happy superhero Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) prisoner. The Mystery Men consisting of Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller)who's only super power is his "boundless rage", The Shoveler (William H. Macy)who uses a shovel to hammer his enemies, The Blue Raja (Hank Anzaria)who throws cuttlery (well, everything BUT a knife and dresses in green rather than blue), The Bowler (Jeanne Garofalo)who has her dead father's skull encased in a clear bowling ball, The Spleen who has boundless gas(Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman)and The Invisible Boy (Kel Williams)who, well, can only turn invisible when no one's looking. Led by The Sphinx (Wes Studi in a very funny performance) the Mystery Men are not the "A" list heroes--their the other guys.
Although it didn't do well at the box office "Mystery Men" has become something of a cult classic. It's certainly an acquired taste. The Blu-ray transfer for the film looks quite nice with a nicely detailed transfer. It's odd because this does use an older encode (VC-1). Depth and detail are much improved. I haven't seen the HD-DVD version of this which reportedly suffered from a lot of digital noise which doesn't appear to be a problem here. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio (1.85:1 vs. 1.78:1 for the DVD).
Blacks aren't as strong and inky looking as they should be.
"Mystery Men" is presented on a dual layered Blu-ray disc.
The lossless audio sounds quite nice use of the surround channels. If you do listen to the soundtrack in 2.0 dialogue isn't overwhelmed by the music or sound effects.
Strangely the "Origins" featurette from the original DVD ISN'T included but we do get the commentary track by the director, the "making of" featurette and the original trailer in HD (which wasn't on the original DVD release).
Although this isn't a perfect release, it's a solid catalog release from Universal with a nice looking transfer that improves on the original DVD. Could this be better? Yes. It's not a perfect tranasfer but it IS an improvement. I'm perplexed as to WHY we didn't get the "Origins" featurette and while it is missed, I still would recommend this release on Blu-ray.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Campy Movie!,
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This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)Mystery Men is one of my favorite movies! As an avid player of "Champions," a role-playing game based on comic book heroes, this movie is a blast! Bumbling wannabe heroes come through with panache - what's more fun than that? Campy villians, odd super powers, and goofy non-lethal weapons!! This movie has it all!
32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This movie was not very good,
This review is from: Mystery Men (DVD)Like a previous review for Mystery Men said, "this is not a movie for film snobs." Anyone out there who has not grown up appreciating comic book heroes and such would definitely not enjoy this film. It's one of those movies that serves as mindless entertainment with no brilliant plot twists or mind-bending special effects. This movie does not stimulate the mind at all. If anything, it serves knock some points off your IQ. I definitely felt more stupid after watching this movie.
To give you an example, I''ll note the movie "What Dreams May Come" starring Robin Williams. This movie was a veritable feast for the eyes: the cinematography was so breath-taking that if you looked at a scene too long you literally would forget to breathe. The scenery and cgi were absolutely beautiful. However, the story seriously lacked creativity, it was horribly depressing, and it just plain stunk. It was kind of like smelling a rose and getting stung by a bee. This is the pretty much the same impression Mystery Men left me with. Great sets and costumes, bad story.
The only good parts of this movie consist of three things: the nice sets, the Sphinx's "formulaic" cliches, and Paul Reuben's depiction of the Spleen. He was pretty funny.
If you like comic book heroes and pure action, you'll love this film. If you like movies which stimulate your mind and are brilliantly artistic and filled with break-through ideas, then you will think this movie stinks.
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Mystery Men by Kinka Usher (DVD - 2000)
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