Your guide to a wonderful movie marathon
Posted by Katooga.PH in , | January 11, 2019

After being entertained by a revival Ocean's 11, and have endured Ocean's 12 and 13, now comes Ocean's 8.  An Ocean film that's devoid of male cast members and replaced with female actors. Would this work?

When we first saw the trailer of this movie, we get the feeling that we will get the same feel of the previous Ocean films.  Instead of seeing George Clooney and Brad Pitt we get Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett.  What a casting coup.

True enough, the movie is like the previous ones.  The formula if I may so is very similar to the George Clooney series.  The first part shows Debbie Ocean played by Sandra Bullock (Sister of Danny Ocean) getting out of prison.  It just shows that the Ocean family really is into a life of crime (Can't wait to see a film about their parents).  Once out, plans another caper right away with her BFF or partner in crime.  Similar also to Danny Ocean, she has a side revenge in the works.  What's a caper without a good reason for it?  This film really is just a rehash of the same story of Ocean's 11.  Being full of women in the cast, they showed revenge on an ex (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned), instead of money to steal, they chose jewelry.  There were a lot of similarities between the two movies that takes away the surprises.  I'm not saying its bad, watching this is still enjoyable but I'll have a little problem of suggesting to friends.  Between Ocean's 11 and this? I will still go with Ocean's 11, 13, and 12, then this, in the right order.

After enjoying the film, I shouldn't have watched it the second time.  The second run of this film introduces flaws that I didn't notice the first time I've watched it.

SPOILER ALERT - if you haven't watched the film yet, don't read further.

Kudos to the performances by Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock.  Both carried the film and made it enjoyable to watch even if the story was predictable.  I salute the other actors for playing their half baked characters to life.  I can see them really struggling to give life to their characters.  Its not them, but the characters are the problem.  Let me narrate these.

First issue I had was the character of Rowe Weil played by the great Helena Bonham Carter.  Her acting was top notch but the role was very complicated.  First part of the film showed her as a wreck of a fashion designer, full of insecurities and was in neck deep in unpaid taxes.  I can feel sorry for her and was able to relate to her character as she was "guided" by our Cate and Sandra.  Midway through the film, she became a brilliant thinking and sophisticated criminal.  She surprised us with her fluency in speaking french, was able to video the sophisticated magnetic lock mechanism of the necklace, knows how to adlib and bring the jewelry to a higher floor so that they can take a 3D map of it.  I wonder why they made the character lame at first only to show sophistication of a criminal midpoint.

Second issue I had was with Anne Hathaway's character, the popular actress Daphne Kluger.  She was portrayed as a fame whore, and a bitchy diva.  Add the fact that the lead characters treated her as something as easy to manipulate, which they did.  Only to find out in the end that this bitchy diva was an intelligent and thinking diva.  She made a great twist in the end, saving the asses of the criminals.  What?  In the end, I think she gave more to the caper more than the rest of the criminals combined.  She had to sleep with the mark, to lead the police away from them.  That's taking one for the team.

Third issue I had was the role of Amita played by Mindy Kaling.  Her acting I can't find fault.  Her character as a jeweller was fine.  I did not find anything wrong with it.  But during the caper, she masqueraded as a dishwasher so that the jewels would be passed on to her, cut it down to make different jewelries so they can run away with it.  Now here's are the things that piqued my interest.  One, she took a bathroom break to bring the jewels to the bathroom to cut it.  She took a long time doing so and I can imagine the stockpiles of dishes to be washed.  No one noticed that she was gone that long?  Two, while inside the bathroom, she opened a cabinet full of tools.  It was clever but I then asked myself, how did she bring out these tools?  She was shown going out in a gown through the front door.  Where did she keep her gown?  No one noticed that she changed outfits?  How was she able to do make up and hair?  Oh well, that's movies for you.

Fourth issue, Rihanna playing the role of the hacker Nine Ball.  She is the techie among the group and somehow all problems can be solved by her character.  She is the all knowing too good to be true hacker. In the end, somehow she also donned a gown, but in a Bob Marley hairdo in a MET Gala?  She looked great in that gown and she was fabulous actually, but with that hair style, I think that would raise some eyebrows.

Fifth, Tammy played by Sarah Paulson as the procurer.  She can get all the supplies needed for this caper with ease.  The only beef I had with her character is the fact that she was the one who found the "jewelry" in the water.  After the theft was found out, no one bothered to interview her.  The busboy and the cctv person was grilled, but not her. How so?

Sixth, the list is getting longer by the minute.  The role of James Corden (yes the great talk show host) as John Frazier was a joke.  James came off as someone as a comic who tried to do a serious role but trying to crack a joke.  I think his character was just placed in the film to aid in the revenge factor.  If you ask me, they can take his character out and still get the revenge scene they wanted.

Lastly, actually I still have a lot, but I want to end with this.  The role of Claude Becker (the ex) played by Richard Armitage.  He really acted as the asshole ex and I believed him.  But his character as a conniving weasel, which he made clear early in the movie, was an idiot in the end.  How can you not feel that a heavy diamond was placed in your breast pocket?  The mere fact that Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) bumps you in the middle of a party will surely alarm so many bells in my mind that I might have 1) checked my wallet or 2) something must have been placed in my jacket.  Granting he never checked, once at home, its customary to feel all our pockets and emptying the contents.  How can he not see the diamond?

Another last.  Sorry for this.  In the near last part of the film, when Anne Hathaways character was introduced to the team, they mentioned insurance fraud and that someone was investigating the theft.  They were all surprised that they can be jailed for it.  They didn't know that what they were doing was illegal?

In summary the film is still enjoyable to watch, the full cast of great actors truly pulled it off.  Albeit hastily written and "almost" copied script from Ocean 11, I am proud how these women truly pushed this film to a respectable level.  I wish the script was more juicy and more original, I felt that the material was so thin and was not respectful to the caliber of the great casting that went into the production.

This film is NOT a reboot,  its NOT a prequel, but it is NOT also a sequel.  Its a story starting after Ocean's 13 when Danny Ocean was mentioned he's dead (what? no more Ocean's 14?) and its all new story altogether (except that the formula is the same).

I hope that that if ever there is an Ocean 9, I feel there are more movies to come (we still have enough room for an Ocean 10 to compete a trilogy), they create a more meaningful script.  The actors can handle a heavy story line and can elevate the enjoyable level of a film to a superb one.

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