What can one say about the Austin Powers franchise that hasn’t been said already? It’s a comedy film franchise that redefined what a parody could be. It was to spy films what Monty Python and The Holy Grail was to medieval epics.
The thing that made Austin Powers so good is the fact that they don’t shy away from making some absolutely ridiculous plots, and over-the-top characters that defy stereotypical parody logic. That was the detailed aspect that made this franchise such a fantastic and refreshing take on comedy, and that was also something that the last film excelled at, albeit failing at many different things along the way.
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The Movie Review
Just like the rest of the films, Goldmember follows the titular British super spy, Austin Powers. This time around though, Austin and his long-lost twin brother and nemesis Dr. Evil are getting into a much crazier ride than ever before. You see, when Austin’s father Nigel Powers is kidnapped by Dr. Evil, Mini-Me and Goldmember, Austin must chase the evil trio through time and space. However, it’s going to be impossible to capture all three villains by himself, so he makes a pit stop in 1975 and enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend, Foxxy Cleopatra, to track down the kidnappers and make them pay for their crimes!
Jay Roach once again helms the film and makes sure that it feels just like the original films did in its wacky design and its grandiose stories. However, what Jay Roach does better here is the meta-comedy that he essentially invents.
Goldmember is a film that is loosely inspired by films such as 007 films Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice. Though, instead of just making fun of those films, it chooses to make fun of itself too while making fun of another film in the Bond franchise.
The film starts out with a parody of 007 Octopussy, it opens with a self-parody that makes fun of Austin himself titled Austinpussy. It’s essentially a biopic of the titular character and it was directed by Steven Spielberg himself! The cast here was weirdly insane though, but that has always been the case for Austin Powers.
The self-parody starred Tom Cruise as Austin Powers, Gwyneth Paltrow as Dixie Normous, Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil, Danny Devito as Mini-Me, and John Travolta as Goldmember. It absolutely blew every other Austin Powers film prologue away and brought in a new form of comedy that dives headfirst into weirdly fantastic places.
The acting is also solid here, and the characters are fully realized. While the original films took time to portray and develop the characters, this particular one simply chooses to follow the events of what’s going on. That does hurt it a bit, though Mike Myers’ performance does come in clutch for me personally and helps a lot in alleviating that frustration. He plays a lot of the roles in the film, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, Goldmember, and a character simply called ‘Fat Bastard.’
I personally feel weird when critiquing the production design of comedic parodies, yet Austin Powers has always done such a good job at it that it’s hard not to praise it. This particular film adapts the atmosphere of the 70s, the nonsensical world of the British super spies, the weird and bizarre life of Austin Powers, and the incredibly dumb costumes that come with it. It’s produced to the maximum, and that is what makes it so funny. This is also a weirdly well-shot film, despite the overall campiness of it.
The Bottom Line
Austin Powers in Goldmember is by far one of the most radical films in Jay Roach’s Austin Powers saga. This is a film that dares to be even crazier than the laws of its world allow it and manages to succeed for the most part.
The meta-comedy here is a resounding success, while the acting is just as top-notch as ever with some of the best comedic timing in film history. The one thing that bogs down this film is a lack of character depth or development, and that does ultimately sour the experience a little bit. Though not enough for it to be anything less than an entertaining romp!