This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Austin Powers in Goldmember
Written by Mel Odom
Tuesday, 03 December 2002
|Austin Powers in Goldmemeber
|New Line Home Entertainment
||Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Seth Green, Michael York, Robert Wagner, Mindy Sterling, Verne Troyer, Michael Caine, Fred Savage
The third installment of the Austin Powers series packs as much punch
and audacity as the first two movies in the franchise. A viewer looking
for marvelous wit and off-beat humor, not to mention outlandish plot
twists, dance numbers, and costumes, need go no farther than this tip
of the hat to James Bond and other spy movies featuring babes, cars,
gadgets, and explosive action.
However, fans of the James Bond 007 films, if they don’t already know,
might discover that Austin Powers, Great Britain’s sexiest and
grooviest superspy, might not be their cup of tea. But the energy, the
slapstick routines, and the pure homage to the spy films can’t be
denied. If James Bond had not been invented and found success on the
silver screen, Austin Powers would never have existed.
“Austin Powers in Goldmember” also succeeds in bringing another brand
of moviemaking magic back into the limelight. Back in the 1970s,
low-budget action pictures featuring black actors and actresses filled
movie houses and jump-started the careers of Richard Roundtree, Bernie
Casey, and Pam Grier, who later starred in “Jackie Brown.” Grier
starred as “Foxy Brown,” one of the characters Beyonce’s character
Foxxy Cleopatra takes her name from (the moniker is also a reference to
Tamara Dobson’s “Cleopatra Jones” – both films are out on DVD). These
black action pictures were once known as blaxploitation films, but are
referred to as Soul Cinema in the bonus materials on the DVD.
In addition to the usual cast of characters in an Austin Powers film,
“Goldmember” also introduces Austin’s dad, sexy superspy Nigel Powers,
played by Michael Caine. Although the role is not one of Caine’s more
stellar efforts, no one else could truly be the father of Mike Myers’
Austin Powers. The Big Family Secret is also revealed.
Chapter 1 opens up with explosive sound that rocks the surround sound
system to the core and buries the needle on the subwoofer. The video
opens up on an obvious chase. The audience has no clue who is being
chased or why, but those mysteries don’t matter because the sound and
the music pull the viewers directly into the action. A familiar figure
whizzes through the air in a blue suit, and all doubt is erased
immediately when the parachute opens to reveal the British flag across
As a female motorcyclist flees for her life below, the hero uses a
remote control to summon his Shaguar, also marked with the distinctive
colors of the British flag. As the man makes an amazing drop onto the
speeding car, an attack helicopter swings into position and opens fire.
The rockets rip through the front and center speakers, then detonate
with basso booms that light up the subwoofer. After an incredible
athletic display and over-the-top action sequence, the camera pulls
back to reveal that Tom Cruise is playing Austin Powers in a movie,
while Kevin Spacey appears as Dr. Evil and Gwyneth Paltrow is
motorbike-riding Dixie Normous.
As overpowering as the opening sequence is, the hits keep on coming as
Austin (now played by Myers) gets into a disagreement with Steven
Spielberg that suddenly erupts into a dance number that has to be seen
to be believed. The dance sequence continues into a movie studio where
Britney Spears is filming a new music video.
Dr. Evil (Myers again) reveals his latest plan in Chapter 2. The sound
of thunder rolls through the surround system as the camera moves into
the hidden lair behind the huge Hollywood sign. Dr. Evil plans on
building a tractor beam to pull a huge gold meteor into the earth. He’s
going to use his time machine to go back to 1975 and enlist Goldmember,
the man who knows how to invent the tractor beam. Before Dr. Evil can
put his plan into operation, Austin Powers arrives with a group of
shock troops and takes Dr. Evil into custody.
Chapter 3 shifts to a scene of Austin being knighted by the Queen of
England. Austin looks around to check for his father, who Austin is
certain will be on hand for the event, but Nigel Powers’ chair remains
empty in the otherwise packed house. Everyone is there but Austin’s
father. The surround sound swirls the laughter at Austin’s plight all
around the audience, making us feel as though we’re sitting in the
middle of the crowd.
We are then plunged into Austin’s pad as he launches into another song,
“Daddy Wasn’t There.” The music, by Ming Tea, thunders along through
the sound system, making us feel as though we’re right there partying
with Austin and his sexy Chinese twin visitors. In the middle of all
the festivities, Austin is told that his father has been kidnapped.
Having no other choice, Austin goes to see Dr. Evil in a scene that is
reminiscent of “Silence Of The Lambs.” Over the next few minutes,
Austin and Dr. Evil’s shared past is revealed in a series of brief
clips from their spy school days. When young Austin wins the
International Man of Mystery award from his school, his father is again
conspicuously absent, and the surround sound system reverberates with
When Dr. Evil goes to the toilet, the liquid noises appropriately place
him in the right main speaker. In a bid to rescue his father, Austin
makes a deal with Dr. Evil to transfer the would-be world ruler to
regular prison so he can be with Mini-Me (Vern Troyer).
The special time-traveling pimpmobile Austin uses to jet back to 1975
to save his father in Chapter 4 is awesome to behold. The music
streaming from the car crashes through the surround sound system. In
Goldmember’s club in 1975, Austin sees Foxxy Cleopatra, a lead singer
of a group that looks like the Solid Gold Dancers. The throbbing beat
hammers through the subwoofer, and the music surrounds us as applause
rattles all around, enveloping us.
A roller derby numbers ensues, which harkens back to those days of wild
colors and free love, and introduces another character: Goldmember
(played again in a sterling performance by Mike Myers). The music
drives this scene, and the DVD does it justice. Austin sits down and
gets a message from Foxxy Cleopatra through an intermediary (played by
Nathan Lane in what has to be one of the funniest visual gags in the
film), revealing that the two agents know each other.
Chapter 5 reveals the origin of Dr. Evil, with a car explosion that
reverberates through the subwoofer. Later, at the prison where Dr. Evil
has been transferred, a scene in the style of a rap video booms through
Dr. Evil’s submarine, revealed in Chapter 7, is completely over the
top. The sub propulsion noises are appropriate. Nigel Powers puts up a
valiant effort to escape and capture Dr. Evil, but is recaptured. His
struggle echoes through the left and right main speakers, giving the
sequence a properly cavernous sound.
Chapter 8 kicks up the sound again as music throbs over an airfield as
Austin’s jet comes into Tokyo for a landing. Later, at the sumo
wrestling event where Austin and Foxxy confront Fat Bastard (Myers yet
again), the flesh-against-flesh impacts detonate in the subwoofer and
roll through the front speakers. The noise of the crowd echoes through
the front speakers, making us feel as though we’re spectators in the
seats. Later, when Fat Bastard finishes his business in the toilet, the
flush sounds in the right front speaker, marking Fat Bastard’s
position. The scene continues and gets sick and twisted.
In Chapter 9, Scott Evil (Seth Green) rises to his dad’s maniacal hopes
and desires, losing hair and becoming as nefarious as Dr. Evil. The
father/son breakthrough results in getting Mini-Me kicked out of the
fraternity of bad guys, providing a new twist in the movies.
Chapter 10 offers a visual treat in witticisms regarding the subtitles
that translate the Japanese language. The fountain sequence in Dr.
Evil’s lair gets a ton of mileage that is filled with belly-bursting
laughter. Goldmember’s amazing leg dexterity shows up for the first
time in this chapter but will become a recurring gag throughout the
rest of the movie. As the action escalates, explosions, gunfire, and
racing car engines ring out all around the surround sound system. The
chase breaks out in full force, and “Goldmember” borrows an ingot from
“Goldeneye” with the not-Godzilla sequence. The CB channel-chatter
between Dr. Evil and Goldmember is hilarious.
Recruited by Basil Exposition (Michael York), Mini-Me turns up as
Austin’s new partner, known as the Mole (Fred Savage), after a
hilarious fight sequence in Chapter 12. The noise of the battle is
muted in the background as the Mole steps outside, but sharpens back up
again immediately as the camera shifts back inside the room. The sound
of the submarine crash-diving in Chapter 13 slams through the surround
sound system with authenticity and comes across much larger than life.
The scene behind the curtain in the submarine lair’s medical bay is not
to be missed and is a purely guilty pleasure. Dr. Evil’s dance number
in Chapter 14 is accompanied by a big band sound that plays
terrifically through the surround sound system.
Infinifilm is a product of New Line Home Entertainment that allows the
viewer to take direct control of how the extras loaded on the DVD are
viewed. All of the documentaries, featurettes, and special bites of
information about the film’s background, history, special effects,
stunts, and other items of interest can be viewed individually or,
after clicking the Play Infinifilm control, the film will play and all
of the special additions will appear in “pop-up” menus onscreen
wherever the director, actors, writer, stunt gaffer, and/or whoever
prepared the featurette deems that the piece being offered will do the
most good. “Goldmember” is the sixth film to be offered from New Line
Home Entertainment with Infinifilm. The DVD interface is an absolute
joy to use and easy to pick up and use. The “Beyond the Movie” bits
have to do with the featurettes generated about the subject matter of
the film, while the “All Access Pass” offers the deleted scenes,
commentary, and music videos.
The extras include several bits about the plot, costuming, dance
numbers, and film lore, as well as insight into the Austin Powers
franchise and the humor of Mike Myers. The commentary with Myers and
director Jay Roach shows the deep friendship the two have, as well as
the respect each has for the other’s talent. The videos of Knowles and
Spears are definitely bonuses for male viewers, because both are hot
and sexy numbers.
While “Goldmember” might not find its way onto every DVD collector’s
shelves, fans of the Austin Powers franchise will definitely want to
pick this movie up. Movie lovers who want a fast-paced and enjoyable
laugh-a-thon with some racy humor, sexy babes, and a view askew of
James Bond need to rent “Goldmember” for a night of light-hearted
entertainment that delivers again and again.
|Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound; DTS ES 6.1 Surround Sound; Stereo Surround Sound
with Director Jay Roach & Mike Myers; Deleted Scenes; “The World of
Austin Powers” Featurette; Visual FX documentary; Infinifilm Features;
“MI-6: International Man of Mystery” Featurette; “English, English”
Featurette; “Disco Fever” Featurette; “Fashion Vs. Fiction” Featurette;
Fact Track; Music Videos; Trailers; English Closed-Captioning
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