Film #94: Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

vlcsnap00003gadirector: Jay Roach
language: English and some Japanese
length: 94 minutes
watched on: 3 October 2013

Again, wanted to round off the series. I’m not as familiar with this as the other ones, because I never had it on video when I was younger, basically. My first impression when watching it this time was that there were a lot of celebrities doing cameos compared with previous efforts. The opening scene is actually one of the best in the film, with a movie directed by Spielberg about Austin Powers, starring Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow and Danny DeVito. I’d almost like to see some more of it just for giggles.

In this movie Austin has to go back to the 1970s to fetch Foxxy Cleopatra, apparently an ex-girlfriend of his, played by Beyoncé (singing 2000s R&B music in the 1970s? Go figure), and find Goldmember, who is evil and likes to turn people’s penises into gold, and is the fourth character played by Mike Myers. He’s also a bit of a racist caricature of Dutch people (not that we particularly stereotype them in the UK really), and caused a bit of an outcry over there, which is probably fair because he’s a pretty disgusting character, just like Fat Bastard. Actually I can’t really remember why he did this, but I think it was to do with his father going missing or something? I found Nigel Powers to be a bit of an unwelcome addition to the series, to be honest, because he does the Austin Powers stereotypes much better than Mike Myers can, and really steals the scene and makes you realise how bad Myers is in the role.

Scott Evil also departs from character in a big way, as does Dr Evil himself to some extent and Mini-Me too, and it left me feeling that there weren’t enough of Dr Evil’s dysfunctional family scenes, because the dynamic has completely changed.

Then the movie changes settings and heads to Japan. I can’t really complain as much about this, because the intent was never to realistically depict Japan, like “The Wolverine” at least implicitly purports to do, but it starts out with a shot of Los Angeles with Mount Fuji pasted in in the background, looming over the city like it really doesn’t in reality (you can see it on a clear day on the horizon, looming over other mountains but not the city). Fuji was in practically every shot depicting the outdoors. Again I can’t complain too much because the Japanese are at least as guilty of this kind of depiction. Japanese language dialogue was used mainly for a gag involving subtitles, but for me it was interesting to try and understand it now that I’ve almost been here for two years.

It’s not quite as good as I remember, but not really so bad. I heard there might be a 4th film, so I’d be interested to see what they do with that, because they’ve already pretty much deconstructed most of the characters by the end of the film. We’ll see.

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