Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Ocean's 8

I love heist films, and I love the Ocean's 11 franchise. Admitting this, I may be willing to cut the latest film more slack than the average viewer. Without a doubt, Ocean's 8 is the weakest of any of the four films. It lacks the style and pace of director Steven Soderbergh's 2001 film as Gary Ross drags out scenes far more than necessary. It also doesn't help that the script lacks the wit of the original, often struggling to put its charismatic stars in the best situations.

Borrowing quite a bit from the 2001 film, Ocean's 8 begins with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) getting out of prison and immediately putting together a crew of old friends (Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, and Mindy Kaling) and some new acquaintances (Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter) for a score she's been planning for years. The cast is great, and they work well together. However, the script struggles early in offering much of interest for them to do together on-screen. The fact that the heist is far more straightforward, and lacks the last-second surprises of the previous films, also is a bit of a disappointment. That said, once the set-up is complete and the heist planning begins, things pick up.

The heist involves the theft of a $150 million dollar diamond necklace which, thanks to their finagling, will be on display at the Met Gala around the neck of actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). Like many of the other actresses, Hathaway gets stuck with a character who is far more interesting in the last-half of the movie than when first introduced. Unfortunately Blanchett doesn't make out quite so well as the film never figures out what to do with the somewhat forced female version of Brad Pitt (instead of, I don't know, actually making her an interesting character on her own).

As with Ocean's 11, the score also involves some personal revenge for the Ocean character which this time happens to involve an old boyfriend (Richard Armitage). With nods to the original, such as Debbie vising the grave of her brother (whose death is never explained) and cameos from a couple members of the earlier films, there's quite a bit familiar here (even if it falls short of its predecessors). James Corden has an amusing role late in the film that really highlights the lack of energy and humor is some of the film's early scenes (something that was provided in the original by the likes of Matt Damon, Scott Caan, and Casey Affleck but is in short supply here). Even if the film pales in comparison to the previous three Oceans films, the actresses step-up to help smooth over the script's rougher edges as much as possible and provide at least a somewhat entertaining heist flick.

No comments: