A reboot of a remake of a film starring the infamous Rat Pack, the phrase “ensemble cast” is in this film series blood. My initial opinion of the Steven Soderbergh remake series is somewhat enjoyable, I always felt that the films had a stellar cast but in terms of what to offer it was lacking any long-term attention. With Ocean’s 8 it’s the ladies who lead the way and while the film’s ensemble cast is still a key selling point, Ocean’s 8 is still lacking that attention from something that could stand on its own, instead what we get is a re-skin of the other films. However, to those who like a good chill out film that’s chirpy, you can probably find some enjoyment.
Just reading the cast list is enough to make you think that director Gary Ross just hired the best of the best actresses in Hollywood, with the infamous Sandra Bullock leading the crop alongside names like Cate Blanchette, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway just to name a few. So, you’d expect that with such a great cast, great performances would come along the way. If only if it was so easy to say, the truth is that it’s complicated. I love seeing actors and actresses having fun with their role, that fun-loving energy can be a big make or break difference for a film, but I love great performances from performers who feel at one with their character, and in the trance of star power, they’ve forgotten to have a big presence on screen, a presence that would be allowed by their notoriety. Despite this, the chemistry and clear admiration for each other’s talents come out in bulk.
It nice to have a reminder once in a while that heist films don’t have to get caught in the wake of spy films by becoming a gritty reality ordeal. You can still have a good time with a film that is witty and convivial. Ocean’s 8 has those few moments of fun when it harkens back to those fun times, but nowhere is it more evident to a filmmaker than the split screen editing that happens in the beginnings of the film. this style of editing has always presented itself as a “s**t is real” scenario and there is no other feeling you want in a heist prep scene. Sometimes the simpler way is the best and Ocean’s 8 identifies with that. The music chosen in heist films are more important than people realize, and Ocean’s 8 soundtrack is serious but has just the right level of liveliness needed for the film’s tone.
It has been over 11 years since Ocean’s Thirteen, so part of me expected Ocean’s 8 to bring something to the table, after all, if you’re trying to reinvigorate a film series, you need to show why this is the case in your film. From what I saw, Ocean’s 8 never made any attempt to differentiate itself from the other films in the series. In fact, the story might just be even more hollow. Ocean’s 8 story is very simple, steal some jewels. Do you think when they pitched this film anyone spoke up and said: “and…” or “but…”. For all the writers out there, try to write a synopsis or even a logline for this film, how do you make a plot like this exciting? The narrative itself had no consistency to the point where you don’t know how far into the planning they are.
Clearly, the writer’s prioritized story over character, I can tell this because the film rarely touches upon the reason for each character’s involvement in the heist. I will admit however, there are some attempts made for giving characters motivation such as Debbie (Sandra Bullock) and Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), but at the same time, other characters like Constance (Awkwafina) and Nine Ball (Rihanna) don’t have any personal reason to be there except for their cut. Having featherweight characters has proven that this film cannot distribute an even enough time for the audience to know these characters. We’ve seen it affect films like Suicide Squad and Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Ocean’s 8 is no exception.
There is a moment in the film where an insurance investigator comes along played by James Corden and by this point I felt things were going to get interesting, I started to think how they were going to get away with the heist, this was the only part of the narrative where I felt like I should pay attention. So, imagine my colossal disappointment when this storyline barely gets any screen time to play out, was this a last-minute decision to trim the scene because I had my hopes up, finally, something worth paying attention to and to suddenly have it just end was a massive letdown.
At the end of the day, I just felt that Ocean’s 8 was just messy. The story felt like a lot of wasted potentials, half the characters were paper-thin, and it never wanted to be something refreshing, and if you can’t make a reboot refreshing, then what’s the point? Maybe I expected too much from Ocean’s 8, it has some fun moments and at least they’ve kept true to its predecessor which I can appreciate for following the formula of an Ocean’s film, the biggest problem is that it follows the Soderbergh films too closely which is why in my mind, fails as a reboot. Look at the rebooted Ghostbusters, although it gathered a divided opinion it still had the bravery to change the formula slightly, what’s stopping Ocean’s 8?
Final Result: 4/10 – Below Average
Have you seen Ocean’s 8? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Sicario 2: Soldado