General Motors has resurrected Dr. Evil, the villain from the Austin Powers movies, to promote their electric vehicle lineup in a Super Bowl ad. We don’t get many shots of the actual cars, but that’s probably not the point. GM wants to drill into everyone’s head that they’ll have 30 electric models globally by 2025.
In the ad, Dr. Evil, played by Mike Meyers, has taken control of GM. His coterie of henchpersons, including Number Two (Rob Lowe) inform him that they now have access to the Ultium EV platform for their nefarious deeds. You can catch glimpses of the 664-horsepower 2024 Silverado EV and autonomous Cadillac Innerspace concept, in addition to some must-haves in the supervillain arsenal, such as a robot and laser cannon.
If you haven’t seen the Austin Powers movies, you might be somewhat confused. Last seen in 2002’s “Goldmember,” the third and final installment of the series, Dr. Evil is a parody of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a recurring villain from the James Bond franchise. And the GM ad relies on a lot of references from the Austin Powers source material.
Never leading up to Dr. Evil’s argument with Scott is it ever explained that the Seth Greene character is his rebellious son. Also, what’s that array of red buttons by Dr. Evil’s chair that never get pushed? (They activate traps to kill people who displease him.) Presumably, the fire pits were added to the Renaissance Center after the takeover. And did we need two shots of the Frau slapping Dr. Evil’s hand away from pushing the button on Scott in a 90-second spot?
The ad is called “Dr. EV-il”, because EVs, and while it does have its funny moments, most of the jokes are “you had to be there” moments. By the way, Dr. Evil’s back story is that he was cryogenically frozen in 1967 and thawed out 30 years later in 1997 when the original Austin Powers movie hit theaters. And it’s been 25 years since we — well, those of us older than 20 — saw that onscreen.
Towards the end, we see the Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq and the Brightdrop delivery van as well, but there will likely be a few Americans nearing drinking age already who are left scratching their heads on this one.