Andy's Anachronisms - Time Travel Movie Reviews

Austin Powers: Goldmember (2002)
On July 26th the Secret Will Be Exposed

Directed by Jay Roach

The Basic Plot

Austin Powers (Mike Meyers) must travel back in time to 1975 to rescue his father Nigel Powers (Michael Caine) from the clutches of Goldmember. Enlisting the aid of Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles), a sexy FBI agent, Austin returns to the present to put a stop to Dr. Evil's plans to melt the polar ice caps and flood the world.

The Analysis

Watching this the third instalment in the Austin Powers franchise is like a trip to a fast-food restaurant. You know going in what to expect and are not disappointed when you are served up the same old meal. The movie like the meal satisfies a certain craving, but ultimately but is nothing to brag about.

As if a spoof about the Bond franchise isn't formulaic enough, Goldmember sticks to tried and true formula established by the first two Austin Powers movies. In addition to the opening dance sequence, Mike Meyers and Director Jay Roach include such staples as:

Each manages to provoke the requisite laughter from the audience despite the formulaic nature of the gags.

The plot as a whole is fairly forgettable with the exception of the introduction of Michael Caine as Austin's dad Nigel Powers and much more deserved screen time for Seth Green as Scott Evil. Caine as the ultimate Brit Spy Nigel Powers plays off of so much of Caine's early movie career that it's a pleasure to watch him chewing the scenery. Meyers has stated in interviews that Austin's signature eye wear is a tribute to Michael Caine's own specs as worn in the Harry Palmer series of spy movies, The Ipcress Files, Funeral in Berlin and The Billion Dollar Brain.

Austin is forced to travel to 1975 to rescue his father from the clutches of the titular Goldmember a swinging Dutch metallurgist whose unfortunate smelting accident has left him with a golden substitute of his member. Austin's time machine this time around is a supped up Cadillac pimp mobile. Since his first time machine in The Spy Who Shagged Me was a new VW Beetle, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to have him travel through time in a classic VW Beetle?

The time travel this time around is a simple plot device allow for a brief stopover in 1975 to bring characters Goldmember and Foxy Cleopatra forward to 2002. Unlike Austin and Dr. Evil's own adjustment to their new time periods in previous films, neither Foxy nor Goldmember react to the shift in cultural references. Goldmember's appearance in 2002 is limited to Dr. Evil's layer for the most part.

Whereas the first Austin Power's movie "International Man of Mystery" flew under the viewing public's radar, only achieving a wide viewing after being released on video, Goldmember comes on the heels of "The Spy Who Shagged Me" a much hyped and anticipated release in 1999. While the first two pictures were free to spoof the spy genre and James Bond franchise with abandon, the third instalment feels as if its been caught up in its own mythology, trying to earnestly to explore the various character's relationships and back stories.

In an effort to build its own legacy, the franchise feels as if it has reached a turning point in its development. Where Austin Powers started out as a cartoonish parody of the spy genre, it has subsequently began to humanise the characters of Austin and Dr. Evil stealing as it were their comic mojo. Can Mike Meyers and Jay Roach pull yet another Austin Powers movie out of their hat? It remains to be seen, but the ending of "Goldmember" suggest that they fully intend to try.

Best of luck to them, but let's hope for some more inspired time travel or culture shock in the next installment.

©2002 written by A. Taylor

Review Posted: 2002-08-21
Review Updated: 2003-11-12

Related Links:

Offical Austin Powers in Goldmember Site
Complete with cast photos, cast bios, wallpaper, aim icons and more.

Internet Movie Database
The ever useful Internet Movie Database entry for Goldmember complete with cast info, summary, quotes and trivia.

Return to Film Review Index

Return to Andy's Anachronisms Home