AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER
US, 2002, 95 minutes, Colour.
Michael Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Fred Savage. Guest appearances by Tom Cruise, Danny de Vito, Quincy Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Steven Spielberg, John Travolta, Ozzy Osbourne.
Directed by Jay Roach.
Austin Powers is an acquired taste. With this third episode in the series, it seems that this taste is a worldwide
acquisition. Mike Myers' creation of a throwback spy who wallows in 60s and 70s fashions, music and quaint expressions who is a parody of James Bond is back, along with his father, Michael Caine, as Sir Nigel Powers. Back also is Dr Evil, also a Myers' creation, along with Verne Troyer as the mirror- image of Dr Evil, Mini-me. Now we find out the truth about Austin's relationship with his father, the discovery that Dr Evil is his brother. The usual crowd are also back, Robert Wagner and co as Dr Evil's advisers and Michael York as Basil, Austin's boss. Once again he time travels and finds a Pam Grier-like black action warrior, played by Beyonce Knowles.
Myers also re-introduces his gross wrestler, Fat Bastard, and parodying Goldfinger, a Dutch villain (with lots of jokes at Holland's expense), Goldmember himself.
The humour is fairly juvenile, vulgar and plenty of bodily function jokes which are presented so vigorously that one is ashamed of oneself for laughing so much. When the film was first released, publicists asked reviewers not to reveal the mini-galaxy of guest stars. Since I enjoyed seeing most of them at the opening of the film and appreciated the surprise, I will merely alert you to the fact that they are there rather than who they are.
1. An entertaining trilogy? The appeal of the films, Mike Myers and his comic skills, the characters he created, the style of comedy, lowbrow and spoof?
2. The visual style of the film: the 1960s and '70s, the atmosphere of those decades, the costumes and décor, sets, flamboyant, bright colours, the songs from the period? The contrast with Dr Evil in prison (like Hannibal Lector)?
3. The title and the tone, the jokes, the bodily functions, the lavatory humour, the shadowplay? All in a context of tongue-in-cheek innocence?
4. Austin Powers and the parody of James Bond, brains or not? The past films and the building of his character, idiosyncrasies, mannerisms, language, especially the groovy tone? His being knighted by the Queen, his father as Sir Nigel Power, his father's disappearance and his quest to go back into the past to recover him, Dr Evil and his being his brother? Mini Me and the relationship to Dr Evil and the parallels?
5. The family themes, lost fathers and lost sons, Michael Caine as the ladies' man Sir Nigel Powers (and the imitation of his characters like Harry Palmer from The Ipcress File)? The significance of the flashback to Austin's and Dr Evil's schooldays, at high school, their characters, their behaviour, their choices, their rivalry? The shock for Austin to discover his relationship with Dr Evil?
6. Dr Evil and his desire for world conquest, the parallel with the villains from the James Bond stories? Mini Me and the parallel idiosyncrasies? Number Two and his support? Dr Evil and his relationship with his son, their rivalry? Frau Fassbinder and her militaristic style? The slapstick comedy, the verbal patter? Mini Me and his falling out with Dr Evil? His son taking his place and asserting his evil?
7. Goldmember as a Dutchman, the parody of Goldfinger? The type, the parody, the jokes at the expense of Holland?
8. Fat Bastard and his ugliness, wrestling, thinking he was attractive, his style and grossness?
9. Austin and his discovering Foxy Cleopatra and the parody of the style of Pam Greer and the other black heroines of the action films of the '70s? The music? Coming into the future and bringing the past? The rescue of Sir Nigel?
10. Scott versus Mini Me and the gold plan? Dr Evil and Nigel? The embrace at the end - but Scott bald like his evil father and taking over?
11. The film and the publicist's advice not to talk about the cameos? The strong group of stars, their obvious enjoyment of parodying Austin Powers? The trailer, the imitations, the discussions between Austin Powers and Steven Spielberg - and who had won the Oscar or not?