Released: 7th June
Seen: 24th June
Ocean’s 11 was one of the big event movies of the early 2000’s. It was a huge deal to get so many major stars to appear in one movie, especially a remake of a classic Sinatra film. It had the kind of cast that was so well known that you could just use their surnames and everyone knew who it was. A movie starring Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Cheadle, Reiner and The Creepy Affleck Brother was a huge goddamn deal that everyone was curious. It made half a billion dollars, it spawned two sequels that ramped up the cast list and was really just a fun series of films. It also basically got remade last year with Logan Lucky, a film that I was pretty indifferent to because it just felt like it was a remake of Ocean’s 11 but without the charm and in the south. So, what happens if someone remakes Ocean’s 11 but with women? Well turns out, the key ingredient is charm.
Ocean’s 8 follows Debbie Ocean (Played by Sandra Bullock) who just got out of jail for a previous robbery, in an identical opening shot to what George Clooney got in the original, and has decided she wants to steal some jewels from the Met Gala. To do that she needs a team of eight women to help her swap out a real expensive Cartier necklace for a fake one made on a 3D printer before they can split their money and all have a nice lunch at Subway. It’s a simple plot that doesn’t really stray that far from the expected. It’s Ocean’s 11 but with women, I didn’t expect something grander. Plan heist, pull off heist, shock twist, everyone’s rich, that’s what I came here for and that’s what I got. It’s so predictable that I literally wrote down what the twist at the end was going to be before the heist itself started and I was completely right. They do try to slip in a whole “It’s about revenge for a past wrong” story, much like the original, and it’s fine but I really do have one big problem with the backstory here.
Debbie Ocean is meant to be Danny Ocean’s sister… did this movie forget that Danny Ocean had a wife? She was played by Julia Roberts and her name was Tess, why can’t she be the lead? Don’t get me wrong, Sandra Bullock is amazing and Debbie was a lot of fun to follow but this is clearly a sequel to the previous films (They address this fairly early on) so why couldn’t you get Julia or Catherine Zeta-Jones to come back? This film honestly needed about 3-5 more women in the main gang, it just seems odd that the crew for this movie is roughly 70% of what the men had. I mean really, why do that? Did you just not get enough women to swipe right on Tinder during the casting process?
What’s fortunate is that the cast they got is, in general, stunning, Cate Blanchett is basically taking on the Brad Pitt role from the original film and she is EVERYTHING. Cate has such a cool vibe to her throughout the movie that you instantly love her and want her to succeed, even more than anyone else. Rihanna as Nine Ball really stood out as one of the most engaging performances, she seems to really shine when she’s given a good solid supporting role She did it last year when she was in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets or a few years back in This Is The End when she played herself. I kind of hope she does a lot more movies because her charisma emanated off the screen every time she has to share a scene with anyone. It says so much that she was able to sit right beside Helena Bonham Carter, who is a goddamn icon who I will not hear a bad word about, and she just seems like she belongs there. Anne Hathaway is absolutely delicious as Daphne Kluger who is a bit of an airhead and can be a little bit cutting at times, she has her moments where you can tell that her character isn’t a nice person but Anne makes her insanely fun to watch and is clearly having so much fun that it makes the audience come along for the ride. She even throws in a little line about “Curtsying in front of the queen”, which naturally made me whisper “Of Genovia?”. Sarah Paulson was a pure delight, after her award-winning turn in American Crime Story it’s nice to see her get to enjoy her status among the A-list where she belongs and again, just clearly have the best damn time. She’s having so much fun, and I’m sure so much of it is because she undoubtedly got a SodaStream soda machine in her trailer. Mindy Kaling probably got one too and it was so nice to see her, even if she was relegated to a very limited role that seemed to revolve around “My mother wants me to get married, let me go on Tinder, oh look a man”… she still had fun, she was still awesome and I just wish she could’ve fleshed out her part. Oh and there’s someone named Awkwafina… I had no idea who she was before this movie, I hear she’s in that upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie, the few scenes with her were pretty nice and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future, but honestly there were moments when I just forgot she was there because of how little they seemed to be using her.
The product placement in this movie might be the most insane thing. It’s a multi-million dollar movie with a $70 million dollar budget (Which, fun fact, is $15 million dollars LESS than the original Ocean’s 11 movie cost to make) and they still needed obvious product placement from Subway, SodaStream and Tinder? Tinder literally get’s a full scene where Awkwafina teaches Mindy Kaling how to use Tinder, that’s a thing that happens and it has no relevance to the plot. They aren’t using it to find someone to help with the scheme, they aren’t using it to get an alibi worked out, it just happens and it’s noticeable. I am aware you often shoot in these places for a sense of realism, the entire story rotating around a Cartier necklace stolen from the Met Gala is absolutely understandable but random scenes taking place where we pointedly watch the Subway Sandwich Artists making a sandwich for one of our heroes with a loving close up of the brand name on the workers shirt… it’s a stretch.
I did appreciate the minor cameo’s from people who were in the original Ocean’s films, they couldn’t get Pitt or Clooney or even Damon (Who apparently did film a cameo that may have gotten cut after a petition went around because he said some stupid things… stupider than “Why yes, I’d love to do Downsizing“) but they got a few other ones, but none of the women. I honestly wish this film had a main cast of 14 women, why couldn’t this be Ocean’s 14? Are you honestly telling me that 6 other women weren’t available to turn up and be part of a fun heist movie? Call some of the women who were blacklisted by a certain scumbag who is heading to jail (and, eventually, Hell where he belongs), I’m sure Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Annabella Sciorra would’ve relished the chance to be in a major blockbuster film again and round out your cast. They freaking earned that! And, on the off chance, if the film was locked in and shot before they came out with their stories then I hope their names are pinned up on a corkboard somewhere for the sequel. This film had 8 awesome women… so I’m counting at least 6 more spots that could’ve very easily been filled.
Is this film a recreation of the original Ocean’s 11 but with women? Sure, absolutely, but it’s actually got a fair bit going for it. Sure it has some missteps that do irk me a little and it feels like they really could’ve added more to the cast and made a bigger spectacle out of this but what we have here is a film that’s a lot of fun and has more than enough charm to carry through what could’ve potentially been a train wreck. I’m going to hope like nothing else that they get the green light to do a sequel and bring us “Ocean’s 30” where they just get every single amazing female actor they can get their hands on to turn up and rob banks for several hours while wearing 8 inch heels and a fancy gown… because, screw you, they can do that too!