Austin Powers in Goldmember may not signal the end of postmodernism yet the cheeky movie-within-a-movie homage that opens the film raises the question: what do you call a film that is a parody of a parody of a parody? No, it isn’t a coincidence that the all-star spoof looks a lot like Mission: Impossible, a text which in and of itself is not lacking in self-reflexivity. The worst that can be said about the third installment in the Austin Powers franchise is that Beyoncé Knowles’s Foxxy Cleopatra is every bit as soulless as the film’s ’70s New York. Additionally, Mike Myers’s newest body-creation, Goldmember, isn’t so much funny as he is perplexing (to his credit, Myers acknowledges that there is nothing inherently funny about Dutchness and lets the character’s flaking skin take it from there). Though the film amounts to little more than messy sketch comedy, it is far and away the funniest of the three Austin Powers films. Repetition is key here and Myers’s ability to take a joke to the limit is both dangerously intoxicating and, on the whole, successful. For the first time, Myers seems to acknowledge that he’s better than his material. In turn, it’s not long before plot plays sidekick to his bizarre, body-conscious stand-up. For the most part, he puts on a good show.
Austin Powers in Goldmember is the latest New Line Home Video title to get the Infinifilm treatment. The studio presents the film in its original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, though a separate pan & scan version will be made available for less discriminating viewers. Despite the overabundance of features and Infinifilm options that flash by on the screen, image quality doesn’t seem to suffer one bit. Skin colors are surprisingly soft during some sequences though colors are solid and vibrant throughout. There’s absolutely nothing wrong, though, with the film’s sound, which is incredibly explosive without ever being jarring or intrusive. The DTS 6.1 ES Discrete seems to fare slightly better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX through the differences are minimal. Both tracks display a cleanness, dynamic range and fullness that’s rare these days. Along with New Line’s two-disc set of Blade II, this is the best sounding disc around.
On this Austin Powers in Goldmember DVD, the optional Infinifilm function will allow you to exit the film during given moments in order to view behind-the-scenes featurettes, making-of clips and extended sequences. Unlike similar set-ups available on other discs, the Infinifilm presentation is elegant without being intrusive, while the transition between the film’s segments and its accompanying features and back again are near flawless. Four short yet incredibly efficient featurettes are included within the disc’s Beyond the Movie section: "MI-6: International Men of Mystery," "Fashion vs. Fiction," "Disco Fever" and "English, English." Though these featurettes aren’t full of laughs, the collection of historical data provided here is both informative and engaging. The Fact Track trivia subtitle feature isn’t particularly lively-it works better if engaged at the same time as Jay Roach’s and Mike Myers’s surprisingly gentle yet uninformative and ultimately disappointing commentary track. Also included here is a collection of funny deleted scenes and outtakes, a five-part "The World of Austin Powers" documentary (curiously sans Play All function), a visual FX segment, a series of theatrical trailers and teasers and a collection of music videos, which include Beyoncé Knowles’s "Work It Out" and Britney Spears’s "Boys."
The film’s groovilicious sound alone makes this an essential buy and should incur a "yeah baby" or two from that special freak in your life on Christmas morning.