Nov 2, 2018

[Movies] Ocean's 8 (2018) Review

When you rely more on streaming services like Netflix for casual entertainment, that often means watching movies several years after their initial release. It's even slower than had we had access to the likes of HBO and other cable television providers who have better content deals for their creations.

But I got lucky with in-flight movie service lately since they also seem to have highly competitive movie deals given their very recent content library. But that also means ending up watching things that I wouldn't normally try to watch if only because it was there and what else is there to do on a regional flight, right?

And so we have Ocean's 8, the all-female cast sequel / soft reboot movie for a franchise I haven't really bothered to watch. But hey I was curious and I wanted to see what they would do with things. Plus isn't what these efforts supposed to be for? They're a way to get new viewers curious enough to look into the franchise as well.

Synopsis: Ocean's 8 is a 2018 American heist comedy movie directed by Gary Ross. Ross also co-wrote the screenplay with Olivia Milch and is both a sequel and a spin-off of the original Ocean's trilogy of movies.

Following the format of the first movie, things start with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) being released from prison. She reconnects with her literal partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett) and gets her to join her in a heist that she had worked out while in prison. What she aims to do is to steal the Toussaint, a Cartier necklace valued at $150 million while it is being worn at the Met Gala.

But to do this she needs a crew that meets the very specific needs of this heist. The team includes the fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), the jewelry maker Amita (Mindy Kaling), the hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), the hustler and pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), and the smuggler and profiteer Tammy (Sarah Paulson). And their mark who will become the carrier for the necklace will be the movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), an actress who is rather famous for her long neck.

What I Liked: Cate Blanchett is divine in this movie and I feel she was the strongest member of the team when you get down to things. And it's not just the way she delivered her lines with such class and style but even the way she would carry herself in scenes or the way she'd saunter or swagger into a room. It's all so glorious and bringing her into this movie was one of the best decisions the filmmakers had made.

The heist in itself was a pretty fun one and really any heist movie depends on the strength of that part of the story. A lousy caper won't be all that exciting to watch and they made sure to throw in different complications and unforeseen nuances that had not been part of the original plan. And thus when things come together at the end of things it makes for a fulfilling payoff.

What Could Have Been Better: The early parts of the movie were clearly meant as an homage to the first Ocean's movie. But they took things a bit too far for comfort with too many beats literally echoing that movie to the point of feeling like it was a literal gender-swapped recreation of things. And this could have been more clever but instead it just felt a little lazy in terms of writing.

And understandably the movie couldn't always balance out the use of all its primary characters even if you'd think that having eight should have been better than eleven and such. The lion's share of the time naturally ended up with Bullock and Blanchett and next in line would be a tie between Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. And let's face it - if you can't find a good reason for the likes of Awkwafina and Kaling to have sufficient time to shine, then it's a bit of a waste.

TL;DR: Ocean's 8 is a decently fun movie but not quite the landmark sequel spin-off that they might have hoped for this franchise. It falls into the category of movies that aren't terrible but aren't great either. And thus the movie gets a fair 3 diverse elements involved in the heist out of a possible 5.

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