When female reboot Ocean’s 8 was announced, I was really bloody keen for it, just like the rest of the population. And probably also just like the rest of the population, I ran immediately to Stan to re-watch all the original films for old time’s sake before I watched the newbie. And what a treat that lil’ stroll down cinematic lane was.
I forgot just how much I enjoyed them – I remember seeing Ocean’s Eleven (which is in itself a remake of 1960 film Ocean’s 11, starring Frank Sinatra) at the cinema back in 2001 as a young and impressionable teenager and just being here for it.
I immediately felt inspired to go rob a casino because it looked so fun. Luckily, I had neither the means or the opportunity to do so, and as a result I’m here writing this yarn and not currently incarcerated.
My criminal dreams aside, these flicks just so darn good, and I’ve had a little think about why.
Straight-Up Star Power
This cast gives new meaning to the word stacked. Seriously – George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon are a triple threat already, but when you add to that Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Ocean’s Twelve), Al Pacino (Ocean’s Thirteen), the late Bernie Mac and Casey Affleck (before he was probbo), you’ve got yourself a glittering and talented ensemble.
Where ensemble movies sometimes fall flat because of too much talent to cram into 120 minutes (see: New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc), the Ocean’s films all manage to favour quality over quantity. Yes, there is bulk star power in the movies but there are also engaging plotlines and great scripts, so the celebs never distract you.
A Zesty Caper
For me, movies are easily elevated from good to great by the addition of a zesty caper, some kind of hare-brained scheme, a con, a mission, a quest – you get my point here. So it helps that the very thing anchoring all of the Ocean’s films is an elaborate heist. It’s edge-of-your-seat stuff, and my favourite thing about it is we really shouldn’t be on these guys’ side. After all, they are criminals. Danny Ocean (Clooney)? Ex-con plotting his next big take. Rusty Ryan (Pitt)? Equally dodgy, keen AF to get involved. All of the people they recruit? THIEVES. But you still want them to win. Sure, they’re breaking the law, but it’s Hollywood, so who cares!
The first three films are directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh, who stuck to a trademark style throughout – and Ocean’s 8 certainly borrows from it too. Think quick cuts between scenes, snappy dialogue, and just an excellent jazzy soundtrack. Frankly, I can’t imagine ever pulling off a heist without all of those elements. It quite simply would be impossible to open a safe without a saxophone playing.
Much like the first three films’ star, Brad Pitt, these movies have aged really bloody well. Yes, there’s new technology these days that could have made the crims’ heist near impossible to pull off, but when you re-watch these movies you just go along with the ride.
They’re modern classics that have stood the cruel test of time – I mean, why else would there be a female reboot (that pays a huge amount of tribute to the first 3 movies, might I add) made 18 years later? Hollywood gets it.