‘Ocean’s Eleven’ from 2001 is one of the great remakes out there. It was well directed, well written, excellently cast, and the performances all hit the marks they needed to for a clever, highly engaging heist film. Watching the first trailer for this one I was intrigued. The cast looked fantastic with some heavyweight names like; Bullock, Blanchett, and Hathaway among others. It had a stylish vibe to it that felt like the Soderbergh trilogy, and I was hoping this could be as good of a spin-off as ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ was a remake.
After watching I can say it gave a great effort and came damn close. I really enjoyed it despite some of the shortcomings. I think the lapses this film had for me were more than supplemented by the great performances, and when the end credits rolled I was smiling. Gary Ross crafts a polished film with camera-techniques and scene transitions that make the film actually feel like it was in the same world as the trilogy. Despite having more than enough of its own substance to not come across as overly derivative.
That isn’t to say there aren’t some similarities that give the film a slight reboot feeling on a number of occasions. Similar scenes, and moments, and in one instance, a replica of a scene from the 2001 film are in this one, but it doesn’t hinder the entertainment. There is though, more than enough personality in the characters to pull you in and have you engaged in what’s going on. The stories plot-line is continually evolving with just enough character backstory to provide you with relevant information. As the viewer you quickly get motivation and introduction so that things can keep moving and it made for a very enjoyable pace.
Now as for the main heist this film centered on. I liked it. It was well conceived. It was very intricate with many moving pieces and it didn’t require that much suspension of disbelief to buy into it actually being pulled off. So, it was naturally more compelling. But it does work itself out extremely conveniently despite some well-timed twists. The formulaic feel doesn’t hinder the film through primarily because of the cast performances. They were all fantastic from top-to-bottom. Bullock was excellent in the lead. She was capable, intelligent, and had a personality that very much felt like she was the sister of Danny Ocean, and a member of a criminal family.
Blanchett was awesome as well and embodied her characters persona very naturally. She also had a great chemistry with Bullock that solidified their friendship with minimal time spent on it. Helena Bonham Carter was fantastic as the offbeat designer and she felt perfectly casted, and comfortable in the role with a very understated performance that delivered some nicely timed humor. Anne Hathaway was perfect in her role as the snobby actress. She had a charisma in her performance that fit the character so well that it almost felt like she wasn’t acting. It was just what her character and this film needed as she steals many scenes.
Like I said the entire cast did great. All of them had their moments to leave an imprint on the story. They were able to bring their own personalities into the roles to create some grounded characters that you can connect with. They also all had a strong chemistry with one another and watching their various personalities blend together added some effective moments of levity. Overall, I enjoyed this film for what it delivered. It wove an interesting plot and had ambition in standing on its own legs without an over reliance on nostalgia. The tie ins to the trilogy were well-crafted, not overdone, and they came off much more realistic because of that.