Release Date(s)2018 (September 11, 2018)
Studio(s)Warner Bros Pictures/Village Roadshow (Warner Bros)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B
Ocean’s 8 continues the rebooted Ocean’s franchise but with a major difference. This time around, an elaborate robbery is planned by a group of women who combine their talents to pull it off.
Just prior to her release from serving a five-year prison term, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) tells the prison board that all she wants is to lead a quiet life, make some new friends, and be able to pay her bills. But she’s already thought up a robbery plan. The target is the Met Gala – not the Gala itself, but a priceless necklace that will be worn by movie starlet Daphne Kruger (Anne Hathaway).
The payoff is huge, but for the heist to work, it will take a team. Taking a cue from her brother Danny, Debbie enlists the aid of collaborator Lou (Cate Blachett), whom we first see watering down vodka; Amira (Mindy Kaling), a jeweler; Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), a passe fashion designer looking to make a comeback; Nine Ball (Rihanna), a computer hacker; Constance (Awkwafina), a pickpocket; and Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a suburban mom who fences stolen goods on the side.
The women choreograph the robbery, which involves laser printing, sleight of hand, impersonation, security camera misalignment, fancy gowns, a severe upset stomach, and a security detail from Cartier, owner of the $150 million necklace.
Director Gary Ross follows the template of previous Ocean’s films, focusing on the intricate planning and the expertise of each member of the team. Like the old TV show Mission: Impossible, the movie delights in the details of the robbery and how split-second timing is vital to its success. Watching the plan take form and come to fruition is the primary appeal of a film that doesn’t spend a lot of time on characterization.
Most of the women are glossed over after a brief introduction. And apart from two opening scenes, Ms. Bullock kind of blends into the ensemble while Ms. Hathaway winds up with the best scenes as a shallow actress concerned foremost with her image and constantly in need of reassurance. Her Daphne Kruger captures the vacuousness of a Hollywood lifestyle that’s more about show than substance.
Blanchett’s part is fairly small, considering she’s one of the biggest names in the cast. It certainly would have improved the film if she had been given a larger, more crucial role.
There’s little doubt that all will go as planned – until insurance investigator John Frazier (James Corden) starts poking around, putting clues together and attempting to figure out how the necklace was stolen. His investigation generates a bit of suspense. Until this point, which occurs late in the film, there are few obstacles or setbacks that might unhinge the plan. It would have been fun to see these sharp ladies act under pressure to overcome unforeseen hiccups.
As a spin-off of the George Clooney trilogy, Ocean’s 8 is a fast-paced romp with several surprises and celebrity cameos to hold viewers’ attention.
Rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive content, Ocean’s 8 is light, clever, and star-filled. We root for this team even though they’re criminals because we admire their intelligence and willingness to put in the work necessary to pull off a seemingly impossible job.
As released on Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the colors are fairly muted in the early part of the movie as the characters are introduced and scenes take place in dimly lit surroundings, to underscore the secretive planning. Much like Dorothy stepping into the Land of Oz, the visual quality of the film blossoms during the Met Gala sequence. With the lavish production design, impressive gowns, elegantly dressed patrons, and immaculate details, this section of the film is not only suspenseful but often breathtaking to look at.
Bonus materials on the 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack include 2 deleted scenes, one in which Tammy discusses details of the Met Gala as her co-conspirators calmly listen, and the other in which Debbie teases Tammy about her suburban mom lifestyle.
A Heist in Heels features the female stars discussing the role of women in the film with director/co-writer Gary Ross stating the film’s theme as a “celebration of women coming together” while capturing the style of earlier Ocean’s films with their “the thrill of the steal.” Ocean’s Team 3.0 focuses on the 8 distinct characters and the movie’s celebration of the women’s commonality as well as their differences. Interviews are interspersed with film clips. Co-writer Olivia Milch adds her thoughts.
Reimagining the Met Gala is the best of the 3 featurettes with Nancy Chilton of the Costume Institute of the Met providing background on the Gala. Vogue editor Anna Wintour was consulted, and Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of the Met, discusses the authenticity of the film version of the exhibition as director Ross enthusiastically speaks of filming in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with its massive collection, much of it featured in shots with the camera beginning on the art and gradually making its way onto the actors. The gowns worn by the stars were specially created by such designers as Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy and Prada.
A digital copy is included.
- Dennis Seuling