Austin Powers in Goldmember |
directed by Jay Roach
(New Line, 2002)
While Austin Powers in Goldmember is certainly a funny movie, featuring several of the most classic scenes from the Austin Powers series, it is ultimately something of a disappointment. We all thought Austin lost his mojo in the second movie, but the series itself ran off and left its mojo behind early on in this third film. It's hard to explain, but this just doesn't even feel like a movie to me. I was still waiting for the movie to really kick into serious gear when the credits began rolling. There seem to be serious problems with the plot and script; too many things just happen for no apparent reason, giving the impression that the filmmakers were not overly concerned with maintaining the causality of the storyline.
One thing that really bothered me was Austin's appearance out of nowhere early on to arrest a newly returned Dr. Evil. The plot required Dr. Evil to go to prison, but, after watching him escape from his nemesis over the course of two movies, seeing Dr. Evil captured so easily seemed a great disservice to such a great character. The ending is also disappointing; I hope this is not the final Austin Powers movie, but it certainly wraps up in series-ending style; while predictable, such an ending would not have been terribly bad if the filmmakers had put more effort into injecting some life or suspense into it; as it is, things turn out quite silly, with only one character turning away from the sappy denouement and implanting us with hope that we may see Austin return some day.
Goldmember, a new, fourth character played by Mike Myers, may well be the worst character in the history of motion pictures. While he could be slightly amusing on occasion, Goldmember's unnecessary, disgusting, corny role shot big holes into the movie named for him. The rollerskates, the skin-eating, everything about the man turned me off completely. The Mole was yet another terrible character. No one enjoyed Fred Savage's performance in The Wonder Years as much as I did, but both he and his character looked uncomfortably out of place in the presence of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil.
I also, to be quite frank, disapproved mightily of the disservice done to Heather Graham's character of Felicity Shagwell from the second film; I wanted an explanation for her absence, but all I got was a new character in the form of Foxxy Cleopatra. Beyonce Knowles did an admirable job in the role, but to me her character just doesn't fit, and Austin's largely absent mojo flexing in the ladies' department made me feel as if I were watching Austin going about his business as an old man.
All criticism aside, there are some classic moments in this film. The opening is brilliant, producing some of the most memorable cameo appearances to ever hit the big screen. Even this cannot compare to the scenes featuring the young versions of Austin and Dr. Evil, however. Josh Zuckerman did a great job aping the mannerisms and inflections of Dr. Evil, but Aaron Himelstein was all over the young Austin Powers role; he had Austin's look, expressions, mannerisms and voice down pat; it's really one of the most impressive impersonation jobs I've ever seen. The humor and entertainment, though, are just too few and far between for the movie as a whole. I think the plot holes could have been plugged effectively by a couple of the deleted scenes included on the DVD, yet a number of those deleted scenes were mercifully cut from the final print before doing even more self-inflicted damage to this disappointing sequel of a sequel.
I think Mike Myers got too caught up in the whole Austin Powers frenzy, placing the characters before the story itself. The result is, by and large, a second-rate parody of a formerly ingenious parody.