I remember some cute tweet a while back comparing the responses to Ocean’s 8 theatrical trailer to the response to the Ghostbusters (2016) one, and that the reason that Ocean’s 8 trailer reactions weren’t as volatile as Ghostbusters is because the Oceans franchise doesn’t have a toxic fan base.
If I thought Twitter fights did anything good, I would have retweeted it with the comment “or, I don’t know, maybe the Ocean’s 8 trailer wasn’t absolute shit.” It seems that the popular thing Twitter likes to do now is take the most severe forms of hatred and bigotry that has come against a movie with a controversial reception, and then they use it to universally paint all of that film’s criticism that way, as if the only reason you could hate a film reboot is because you hate women, a specific race, etc.
But the biggest actual reason Ocean’s 8 hasn’t gotten as much hate as these other movies is that Ocean’s 8 acknowledges its source material without a massive air of disrespect to it or its fans. I’m not really going to spoil HOW, but they often reference the first movies and characters, and it is not in a way that is making a mockery of them.
Ocean’s 8 is a very entertaining movie that tries to emulate all of the qualities that made Ocean’s Eleven (the Soderbergh remake, not the original) great. It succeeds in some areas, and it fails in others.
The biggest area it exceeds in is the witty dialogue and banter. The script offers a lot of jokes that land well and it definitely helped the movie maintain its “Ocean’s” feeling. It keeps the pace going, and it makes everything feel lighthearted and fun.
Sandra Bullock is fine as Debbie Ocean. It’s not like she does anything fantastic, but as a leading lady, she got the job done. They do a lot to establish her character in the beginning. However, as the story goes forward, her character ends up feeling more and more generic.
Cate Blanchett is, by nature of being Cate Blanchett, great. She is to Sandra Bullock as Brad Pitt was to George Clooney. This is completely literal, by the way. Their friendship arc is almost beat-for-beat a ripoff of Pitt’s and Clooney’s. It was sort of disappointing, but it would’ve been fine if they gave Blanchett more to do in the story.
All the other characters (Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Mindy Kaling) all have very promising starts, but the vast majority of them, except for MAYBE Rihanna, never truly receive fantastic character development. It seems that while the script is VERY competent at making witty, logical, and funny dialogue, it is never any good at developing rich characters.
Half of the soundtrack was very reminiscent of the Ocean’s franchise. The other half was popular songs that were unspecial in their usage and really just solidified the idea that Ocean’s 8 never truly developed a fantastic concept.
There’s some other things that were a little disappointing, but I’m not going to post them now, because
1. It’ll kind of spoil the movie.
2. I’m going to make another article soon explaining why Ocean’s Eleven works better than Ocean’s 8. Stay tuned.
Speaking of spoilers (but not really), if you look at the above paragraph citing “the rest of the characters”, you’ll notice that Sandra Bullock + company = seven persons, not eight.
Basically the movie spoiled a plot twist with its own title. Bravo.
The last twenty minutes of the movie tries to differentiate itself from the other Ocean’s narrative formula (primarily with their detective character, played by James Corden, who was surprisingly not completely obnoxious in this movie). Unfortunately, it’s at this point where the writing kind of takes a nose-dive, and it’s where the plot stops trying to make sense.
It’s not so much as to ruin the experience, but just know that if it weren’t for the last twenty minutes, and its clumsy way of wrapping things up, this movie would have gotten one point higher than what I’m about to give it.
Ocean’s 8 is a fine experience. I laughed, I was entertained, and it was good enough to not be boring. That’s it. The characters are only acceptable, the theatrical elements are all serviceable at best, and during the tiny bit where it tries to be somewhat different from its predecessors, it fails to stick the landing.
If you see this movie, you’ll probably have a pretty good time (as I did). If you don’t see this movie, you will miss out on nothing.