It’s been a while since any fresh new movies have been thrown on Netflix (the Spanish version of the service anyway,) but finally they’ve thrown us a bone, albeit a skinny hollow bone. The movie in question, Ocean’s 8, has just been uploaded, and after having refused to ever watch it, I guess I now have no other choice. But I’ll be dammed if I don’t remain stubborn and complain the whole way through.
Just a bit of background on my history/relationship with the franchise; I love it. I love every movie, even Ocean’s Twelve. The scripts are so well written, the heists so well plotted, and every member of Ocean’s crew has an imperative role. Ocean’s Eleven is one of the most perfect screenplays ever written. The reason why I have chosen, maybe ignorantly, to avoid the movie up until now is because I never believed that remaking a male dominated movie with an all female cast balances the books or even remotely battles sexism. I was also extremely worried that Hollywood ruined one of my favourite movie franchises and gave it the Ghostbusters treatment.
What do you know, devoid of all creativity, the film even begins the exact same way as original, with a parole hearing, only this time it’s Ocean’s sister, played by Sandra Bullock. Seriously, what are the odds of this ever happening? Even in a movie, this is pretty goddamn unrealistic. From there on out, the movie is beat for beat almost the same as the original, even down to Bullock’s motives. So it’s basically a sequel but also a remake that’s set in the same world. Eh?
The characters are literal female versions of the characters from Ocean’s Eleven; Bullock’s Debbie Ocean has the exact same mannerisms and characteristics of Danny Ocean, and Cate Blanchett’s character is exactly the same as Brad Pitt, even down to the way she stands slightly behind Bullock looking cool and always eating or chewing gum. If it was a complete all-female remake, then sure, that makes sense, but as it’s a spin-off and these characters exist in the same world, nope, not one bit of sense. This was totally a first draft movie that got approved.
When the movie doesn’t follow the same narrative of Ocean’s Eleven, it is so predictable or just flat out does not make sense, and often both at the same time. It was so clear from the very beginning that Anne Hathaway’s character was going to have some involvement with the crew, but her character is a movie star, so why would she even wanna get involved with some scumbag thieves in the first place? But despite all this, if I told you I didn’t enjoy the movie, I’d be lying. It’s so exciting, and for somebody who actively loathes James Corden, I even enjoyed his role as the insurance investigator (which also makes no sense because they if a $150 million necklace went missing, you would totally call the police.And what about the other diamonds that they stole off-screen, did Cartier not even notice that those were gone or what?)
The remake/spin-off is very true to the style of the original. I feel sorry for the director as, Gary Cole, as his job was to literally mimic every single Soderbergh technique, including the long zooms, jazzy music, long shots of characters talking, it’s like a band that makes original music just playing cover songs. However, at least it didn’t get the treatment most remakes and crime thrillers do in which a Melissa McCarthy-type actor has a leading role and brings a clever crime franchise down to a dumb-ass slapstick comedy, which is what I was worried about.
The one thing I predicted incorrectly was Clooney showing up. As soon as the movie mentioned that Danny Ocean had passed away, I thought, “well that’s probably a cover up for some crime he committed.” Then, when they kept hammering it in every ten minutes that he was dead, I thought for sure Ocean was gonna turn up. The movie ends with Bullock sitting at his burial, and she sits on one side of the bench, not in the middle, and I was certain that Ocean was going to sit down next to her. Why didn’t they do that? Guaranteed, that one shot woulda made the movie an extra $10 million at the box office. When it comes to cameos, I did get overly excited when Reuben’s name was mentioned, and then he appears from the shadows to do… absolutely nothing. Then there’s an appearance from Yen, the gymnast. I mean, yeah, Clooney and Pitt are superstars that might not have featured in the movie for whatever reason, but they couldn’t even get, like, Casey Affleck?
Here’s the thing, the all-female crew didn’t seem forced and the way it came together was completely natural. I genuinely believe they could continue the franchise with this series of gals, even with Gary Cole in the director’s chair again, imitating Soderbergh. It just needs a much, much better screenplay. It’s no exaggeration when I say there must be about 100 plot holes in Ocean’s 8. I like Mindy Kaling as a diamond cutter, I like Sarah Paulson as the inside woman, despite my comments, Bullock and Cate Blanchett have great chemistry, and Anne Hathaway steals the show, as always.