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Austin Powers: Goldmember

Dr Evil and Mini-Me

Director: Jay Roach
Screenwriter: Mike Myers, Michael McCullers
Starring: Mike Myers, Beyonce Knowles, Michael Caine, Seth Green, Verne Troyer
Release details: New Line Pictures, USA 2002, 118mins
Full details: IMDb / Trailer
Genre: Comedy
Rating: 9 out of 10

They always talk about the tricky third album in the music business, so is the same true for third movies in long-running series? Well, 007 returned in Goldfinger, which is arguably the best Bond film, but then there's the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, the wig-fest of ST3: The Search for Spock, Dennis Quaid in Jaws 3-D and I'm also led to believe that Wishmaster 3 with Jason Connery is considered to be the weakest of that particular saga.

So, after the sleeper success of the first film and the crowd-pleasing antics of AP2:TSWSM, could the Myers boy make it a hat trick? Myers has certainly worked out what his audience want: more Dr. Evil, more Mini-Me, more gross-out laughs, more sarcasm, more physical punishment to the major characters. And, fortunately, he makes sure that there's plenty on offer to satisfy these cravings.

The movie begins with an outstanding set piece, with a nod to both the Bond pre-titles sequences and the Mission Impossible films, which we soon realise is a film-within-a-film. It takes a while to get into the plot itself, but essentially it's this: Dr Evil (who has startlingly blue contact lenses this time round) and Mini-Me break out of jail and team up with 1970s roller disco king, Goldmember, who not only appears to have some form of leprosy, but has also suffered an unfortunate smelting accident (hence the name). Together, they kidnap Britain's foremost spy, Nigel Powers (Caine) and leg it back in time to 1975. With the help of Foxxy Cleopatra (Knowles) and - in a surprise twist - Mini-Me, Austin sets off to save the world, his father and the girl.

I could go on about the details of the plot, but, plot is not really the point of an Austin Powers movie. Possibly because of Knowles' age, and/or her famously strict father, there's very little romance here compared to previous efforts, so the plot focuses instead on family, particularly father and son. Scott Evil and his father begin to reconcile, pushing an increasingly distraught Mini-Me out of the picture. Nigel and Austin's relationship is strained, as Nigel's womanising and spying keep him from being where his son needs him.

In one of the best scenes of the film, we also get to see the youthful days of Dr Evil and Austin, when they were friends at spy school. It plays a lot like Smallville, the Evil Years, but the two young actors who are essaying Evil and Austin are uncannily good.

If you liked IMOM or TSWSM, then you'll love this. For my money, it's better than 2, but doesn't touch 1. Some of the gags work beautifully, some don't work at all (eg Number 3's mole). But the biggest surprise is how well Knowles performs. She's easily the best Austin-babe to date, albeit with the least to do, and her acting is as strong as her Bond-esque music number, Hey Goldmember.

Michael Caine is also used very knowingly, with his Harry Palmer glasses and Italian Job-referencing Mini. Here's hoping he's invited back for the fourth instalment. Plus, there's also a whole slew of celebrity cameos, including Tom Cruise, Steven Speilberg, Kevin Spacey, Danny De Vito, Gwyneth Paltrow, Quincy Jones, John Travolta, Burt Bacharach and Britney Spears (stay right through the credits to catch Britney's second appearance). The best cameo, though, is by Nathan Lane, who acts as a front for Foxxy in Studio 69, Goldmember's New York nightclub.

The stats

UK release date 26 July 2002
US release date 26 July 2002
UK box office £23,257,354
US box office $213,079,163
Total box office $292.7m
UK certificate 12
US MPAA rating PG-13

Sources: IMDb, The Numbers, BBFC, MPAA
About ratings and certificates.

Quotes

Austin: [to Foxxy] You are a cunning linguist, but I am a master debator.

Nigel Powers: There are only two things I hate; those who are intolerant of other people's cultures. (pause) And the Dutch.

Austin (incredulous): Your spy car's a mini?
Nigel: It's not the size mate, it's how you use it.

poster

Poster © New Line Cinema. Buy it from AllPosters.com or MoveMarket.co.uk.

Trivia

The submarine's doctor (who was also the prison guard returning Austin's belongings in AP1) is played by Neil Mullarkey, Mike Myers' former comedy partner. The duo appeared on woeful kiddie show The Wide Awake Club on ITV.

Beyonce's character name is taken from the two great blaxpoitation films, Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones.

The flashback footage of a young Nigel Powers is taken from Hurry Sundown (1967).

In the deleted scenes on the UK DVD of AP3, there's a full version of the cast singing along to Susanna Hoffs's spin on the Alfie theme tune, this time called What's It All About, Austin? There's actual footage of Michael Caine as Alfie in the background of the film.

And, if you've ever wondered why Hoffs has made an appearance on all the Austin Powers soundtracks, maybe it's because her husband is the director, Jay Roach.

External reviews

Although unlikely to span forty years like the Bond Franchise, Austin Powers In Goldmember, like the previous two, gets more enjoyable with repeated viewings... DVD Review

Like the James Bond series that provided it with comic inspiration, the Austin Powers series benefits from a certain familiarity. Not every Bond movie is good, but once you get started going to them you would never think of missing one. Same with Austin Powers... Roger Ebert

Links

Internet Movie Database entries for:

There's an Austin Powers official site, where you can download screensavers and view the trailer.

Other official sites: Verne Troyer ("Mini-Me, you complete me") has an official site which doesn't seem to be there anymore. Definitely up and working are the official sites for both Seth Green and Robert Wagner.

Fan sites and other links: Seth Green, Heather Graham, Michael York, Rob Lowe, Robert Wagner, Verne Troyer, Mindy Sterling.

For some of the best Austin Powers sounds, try Matt's Movie Sounds. My personal favourite: "You're quasi-evil, you're semi-evil, you're the margarine of evil, you're the Diet Coke of evil..."

For a general Austin Powers site, try shagadelia.


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