Austin Powers: Goldmember

Mike Meyers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine. Directed by Mike Meyers. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic). DTS ES 6.1, Dolby Digital EX 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0. 95 minutes. 2002. New Line N6078. PG-13. $29.99.

Goldmember, the third entry in the lampoon spy series finds the bad-toothed international man of mystery going back in time, again, this time to the '70s to apprehend one Goldmember. Goldmember is a Dutch lover-boy obsessed with gold, whose manhood was sadly robbed from him in an unfortunate melding accident and replaced with a golden prosthesis. Goldmember's gastronomical tendencies and random proclamations disguise a fertile intellect that gave birth to a phenomenal laser beam—the likes of which Dr. Evil would like to re-create in the present day for purposes of world domination. Powers goes back to apprehend Goldmember before Dr. Evil can steal his laser secrets. He encounters Foxxy Cleopatra (Beyoncé Knowles), who seems to be Powers' former love interest, but whom, oddly, Powers doesn't pursue. Perhaps this is a throwback to the Timothy Dalton Bond films of the '80s, in which casual sex became, briefly, a bit taboo.

If you've seen Goldmember in theaters, you'll find it doesn't hold up that well on second viewing. The film suffers from a sort of split personality in which Powers is upstaged by Dr. Evil, which is rather unfortunate for poor Austin, whose scenes are plagued by ancillary characters such as Fat Bastard and riddled with potty humor that is humorous on first viewing but quickly gets tiresome. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil has the stage to himself and benefits from a better arsenal of jokes, musical numbers, and more appealing characters, such as Mini-Me and Scott Evil. Mike Meyers has Dr. Evil down after three films, and the doctor is funnier than ever. The subtle contrast between his compassion for his miniature clone and his evil nature provides the majority of the film's laughs.

The film looks a bit better than previous Austin Powers DVDs, especially where the color rendition is concerned—colors from the '70s are especially vibrant in the disco scenes. I found no flaws or artifacts in the picture, which is surprising, considering the enormous amount of extras that are compressed onto only one disc. The audio is available in a variety of surround formats, including DTS 6.1, DD 5.1 EX, and 2.0. I tested out the DD 5.1 EX soundtrack (without a rear center channel); it was quite spectacular. The action sequences, especially the opening dance scene, sound awesome and put all channels to the test, including the subwoofer. The Austin Powers theme had me tapping my toes, and dialogue was crystal clear.

There are copious extras on this disc that you can watch in either Infinifilm mode or by selecting them from the Features section. The Infinifilm mode shows the extras in a blue bar below the movie as you watch it. There are several short features—so short in fact, that watching them out of Infinifilm mode will have you questioning what the DVD producers were thinking. The four-minute "MI-6: International Men of Mystery," which documents England's real-world spies, really wasn't that gripping. "Disco Fever" is another short documentary showing the filming of the disco scene in which Foxxy Cleopatra and Goldmember are introduced. "Fashion vs. Fiction" is a 2-minute feature in which costume designer Deena Appel discusses her work in the film. "English, English," again very short, corresponds with the scene in the film in which Meyers and Caine speak in cockney accents. If you choose the Fact Track, trivia facts will pop out at you periodically while watching the film. Deleted scenes are abundant (and presented anamorphically and in DD 5.1!) and run more than 22 minutes, all of them funny and worth checking out. The All-Access pass lets you access the commentary tracks with director Jay Roach and Mike Meyers, which is one of the funnier tracks I've listened to. There are tons of other extras, but I'll leave them to you to discover and enjoy.—KR