AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER
Review by Michael Jacobson
Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner,
Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Michael Caine
Director: Jay Roach
Audio: Dolby Digital EX 5.1, DTS ES
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 95 Minutes
Release Date: December 3, 2002
took a Viagra and it got stuck in my throat.
I’ve had a stiff neck ever since.”
Powers in Goldmember gave me a few of the biggest laughs I’ve had all year.
The problem wasn’t the size of the laughs, but the frequency.
Mike Myers’ comic creation has possibly taken one step too far, into a
story that’s weak and threadbare, and tries so hard to be funny that the
results are sometimes painful.
opening sequence is one of the year’s most inspired offerings, combining
ludicrously impressive stunts with one gag topped by another as the opening
credits roll. It may be the
funniest thing yet to come from an Austin Powers movie, and given how
much I enjoyed the first two, that’s no small compliment.
Myers returns once again as co-writer, co-producer and star…he of course plays
the shagadelic British super spy Austin Powers, his arch nemesis Dr. Evil, the
Scottish assassin Fat Bastard, and adds one more to the mix with the
surprisingly uninteresting Dutch villain Goldmember. I won’t tell you how he got his name, but chances are, if
you’re keyed into the series’ sense of humor, you’ve figured it out.
Evil’s latest scheme for world domination and riches involves the resurrection
of Goldmember’s failed plan from 1975 to send a huge meteor crashing down to
earth. This, of course, means
another time travel escapade, with both Dr. Evil and Austin Powers traveling
back to the disco era. There,
Austin meets his current Powers lady, the hip Foxxy Cleopatra (Knowles).
the meantime, both hero and villain are dealing with family issues.
Austin Powers finds himself rescuing his father, Nigel (Caine), a super
spy himself who never had time for his son growing up, while Dr. Evil finds
growing approval toward his increasingly evil son Scott (Green), while becoming
less enamored with his own squashed clone, Mini-Me (the hilarious Troyer).
Mini-Me’s response to his sudden rejection is priceless.
The way all the stories come together at the end, though…well, let’s
just say, only in an Austin Powers movie.
high points? The celebrity cameos,
some of which are more than surprising, they’re stunning. Mike Myers’ enthusiasm, though misplaced here, remains
winning. His two lead characters
remain as charming as ever. Beyonce
Knowles, from the R&B group Destiny’s Child, is a real find…I think I
liked Foxxy better than any of Austin’s previous ladies.
low points? A lot of unfunny
material, bad enough in and of itself, made worse by torturously stretching them
out. No amount of work turns a bad
gag into a good one once it’s already fizzled…refusing to let it die is just
annoying. There’s too much
repetition, too, as Myers clearly decided to take a couple of the best gags from
The Spy Who Shagged Me and re-work them.
The shadow puppet sequence is actually very funny, but nothing we
haven’t seen before. A Dr. Evil
musical number fares much worse, leaving us longing for the magic of “Just the
Two of Us” from the previous film. And
the biggest laugh that comes from a repeat gag of a celestial object shaped like
sexual organs is when one celebrity guest correctly condemns it as a blatant
rip-off of the earlier movie.
as mentioned, overall, there’s just too little good comedy to work with.
Mike Myers is a gifted comedic performer and writer, and as such, I will
hold off on ringing the curtain down on his most successful character creation.
But one more entry as weak as Goldmember and there’ll be no
thawing out of Austin Powers’ career for sure.
Line never disappoints in the quality department. Goldmember is superbly framed in anamorphic scope
ratio (an unnecessary pan & scan version is also available), and it’s a
colorful cornucopia of visuals. Every
shot is rich in detail, with sharp images, clear crisp lines, and absolutely
gorgeous color renderings. Not a
flaw to be found any way you look at it.
extended Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks are equally lively and vivid; from
the action scenes to the noisy comedy, everything comes across cleanly and
clearly, with plenty of rear stage action, smooth crossovers in all directions,
plenty of bass for the subwoofer, and very strong dynamic range…I actually
clicked my receiver down a couple of notches, and still found this to be an
explosive soundtrack. Highest
means features galore, and you get them here.
Mike Myers and director Jay Roach offer up a commentary track that seemed
a bit superior to the ones on their first two films…the men seem more relaxed,
more humorous, and more open about their memories.
You can enjoy four mini documentaries specifically tailored to the
film’s spies, costumes, music and more. An
Infinifilm trivia track can be activated while you watch, which leads you to a
plethora of extra behind-the-scenes footage, trivia and more.
that’s not all…you also get “The World of Austin Powers” with even more
featurettes on Myers and Roach, the characters, the stunts, the scenes and more,
plus a segment on the visual effects, 15 deleted/alternate scenes with optional
Roach commentary, four music videos including a new one from Britney Spears, a
theatrical trailer and several hysterical teasers, plus extras for your DVD
ROM…all set to some groovy animated menus with sound.
Yeah, baby, YEAH!!