Goldmember is the scene where the protagonists of the heist clink glasses to a job well done, but instead of money being taken from the bank or casino it is the identification of the cultural landscape with the spread of a disease. The joke is no longer that Austin Powers could go undetected in the present, but that by this stage Austin Powers is a grotesque Hard Days Night. Most compelling and distressing is the way it re-presents its role not as a reflection of neoliberal dyschronia at the turn of the millennium but as an infiltrator of culture with malicious intent. This of course presupposes a culture to infiltrate that is distinct from Austin Powers, a thing worth saving, which threatens to undermine the foundations of the first two films as reflective works. This is the dissonance that is Goldmember: a Fool’s Truth and a swan song.
There’s if not melancholy then a sense of knowing to its finitude, to the fact that this has all now gone past the point of allusion, and that Goldmember‘s run is not only the logical but the illogical extension and so exhaustion of the form and of the age where it could flourish. But if Austin Powers could only survive through Camp (quotation), Goldmember recognises that acceleration and implosion leads to a grim and amnesiac return of the same. True, its individual finitude remains in the pre-Crazy in Love zeitgeist, but its infinity of illogical exhaustions continue refracted in the broken narratives shot through glass and set to glimmer for a second and then grey forevermore on our side of the millennium. Which is why it was such a downer at the time of release- it never had the good grace to wish us well or even warn us. And this is why it works so well now- its realisation that in effect it would not be going anywhere- that in that confetti of broken pasts is something worse than death, and that is the eternal reunion, the eternal reboot, the ruptured now that is forever out of time.