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Austin Powers in Goldmember
DVD disk
09.27.2004 By: Mike Sampson
Austin Powers in Goldmember order
Jay Roach

Mike Myers
Beyonce Knowles
Michael Caine


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If there were ever a movie where plot didn't really matter...it'd be this one but: Austin has to go back to the 1970s to save his father who has been kidnapped by the recently escaped Dr. Evil who has teamed with a crazy Dutchman named Goldmember. There he meets up with Foxxy Cleopatra, a sass-talkin' African queen who helps him foil Dr. Evil's third attempt at world domination.
Siiigh. I hate having to do reviews like this. I feel like somewhere in the back "Taps" should be playing. AUSTIN POWERS was once a mighty property. The first film was insanely funny and incredibly different. While not a huge hit at the box-office, it found a gigantic audience on home video and the film's sequel, THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, was very successful. It doesn't take Nostradamus to realize they'd eventually whore themselves out for a third installment in the AUSTIN series, despite the fact even the second film was recycling jokes and felt stale.

If you thought SPY was getting a little old by the film's end, boy are you in for a shock. The jokes in GOLDMEMBER are so old they make Strom Thurmond look like a Cabbage Patch Kid. Even the "new" jokes really aren't that funny at all. A villain who eats his own skin? C'mon. The Dr. Evil/Mini-Me rap sequence? Geez. And what about the criminal misuse of Academy Award winner Michael Caine? How long was he in this movie for, 5 minutes? What a waste of everyone's time.

The saving grace was the ample cleavage displayed by Ms. Beyonce Knowles. Shazam indeed! I will say the film does have a few moments that sneak up on you and give you a good chuckle. There's a moment at the end where Fat Bastard compares his neck to a part of the female anatomy that had me slappin away at my knees. Of course there's the opening sequence which was good for a smile. The rest of this movie was insipid enough to hopefully (please GOD!) prevent a fourth AUSTIN POWERS.
GOLDMEMBER is presented in New Line's Infinifilm series that purports to let you go "behind the movie." I wasn't sure I really wanted to go "behind" this movie, but I felt I was up to the challenge. I will say I'm not a big fan of the Infinifilm feature that lets you watch the movie in its entirety and when a logo pops up, you hit enter to begin a featurette with more information on what you're watching. I prefer watching movies as a whole, uninterrupted. That's just me. So I watched all these extras separately.

As all Infinifilm DVDs, the extras are separated into two segments, "Behind the Movie" and "All Access Pass." Since the "All Access" is much more in-detailed, let's start there. First up is our feature-length audio commentary by Jay Roach and Mike Myers. If you want to listen to a commentary these are the guys you want to listen to it from. Myers, obviously, tends to keep things light, cracking jokes in-between the behind-the-scenes tidbits he tosses out. Roach surprisingly gets as much talk time here and that's not a bad thing. Directors are sometimes tedious and boring on these tracks but Roach, as with his MEET THE PARENTS commentary track, keeps things moving nicely here.

Next is "The World of Austin Powers" which includes five featurettes under this heading. First was Jay Roach and Mike Myers: Creative Convergence which is basically the director and star talking about how they work together to allow improvisation yet remained focused. Next was Confulence of Characters which showed behind-the-scenes makeup, rehearsal, insight, etc., into the characters of Foxxy Cleopatra, Nigel Powers, Austin and Dr. Evil. Opening Stunts is the next featurette that, you guessed it, focuses on the elaborate stunt sequences required to film the elaborate opening scene. Strange to see how the stunt woman playing Gwyneth Paltrow isn't nearly as hot as Gwyneth Paltrow. Then we get The Cars of Austin Powers which was a complete bore and provided a quick snooze in the middle of this DVD. Car lovers might love it but I wasn't very interested. Finally we had Anatomy of Three Scenes made up of behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage for three scenes in the movie. Interesting just to how Myers shaves his head for the film to play Dr. Evil. And I must say I was surprised at his ability to rollerskate. I thought that was all camera trickery!...

Following was a Visual Effects Segment that focused on a gag in the film involving Dr. Evil's underwater lair. We're also "lucky" enough to be treated to four music videos from the film including Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Austin's band Ming Tea and that atrocious Dr. Evil "Hard Knock Life." An absolute waste of time and DVD space.

One of the best parts about a comedy DVD is seeing the deleted scenes and how the effected (positively or negatively) the final film. Usually comedy deleted scenes are still pretty damn funny but since brevity is the soul of wit, they had to be chopped to keep the overall film long. Here we get almost 25 minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary. Like some of Kevin Smith's DVDs, some of the deleted scenes here aren't really entire scenes just "extended" scenes where little snippets were cut out. I'd like to say the bad jokes were cut out but... The funniest stuff here are the entire scenes that were removed not just the one or two jokes.

Rounding out the "All Access Pass" portion is a collection of the film's teaser and regular theatrical trailers.

Moving on to the "Behind the Movie" features we start off with MI:6 - International Men of Mystery, a documentary on real-life British spies. Not something I found terribly interesting. Fashion vs. Fiction revolves around the fashion choices in the film and features interviews with Costume Designer Deena Appel. English, English was a moderately humorous look at the scene in which Austin and dad, Nigel, talk to each other in Cockney slang to avoid being overheard by Fembots. Myers tells anecdotes of what it was like growing up in Canada with his dad actually talking like that. Finally we have Disco Fever which is a pretty sterile look at the disco era and some of the choices regarding music in the film.

There are what appear to be some pretty cool DVD-ROM features including Austin Powers's Revoice Studio that lets you re-record the character's dialogue from certain scenes. Sounds like fun but my DVD drive is on the fritz so you'll have to try this out for yourself. Also promised is a hotlink to a special website featuring exclusive content. Said content isn't quite ready for your perusal at this time but deleted scenes are to be made available soon.
I really wanted to enjoy GOLDMEMBER partially because a) I needed a good laugh and, b) I'm a big fan (who isn't?) of the original. I knew this film had potential but had the sinking feeling it wouldn't fly. Unfortunately, I found I was right but if you don't mind a couple recycled jokes and Austin doing his same old schtick, you might find this disc worthwhile. I will say I found the Infinifilm format more cumbersome and "in the way" on this disc than I wouldn't liked. I found myself having to search for some of the advertised features. But maybe I'm just a complete doofus.
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