Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Ocean’s 8: Waste of Talent & Time


The original “Ocean’s 11” was released in the year 1960. It starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Angie Dickinson. Forty-one years later, a remake was made under the same name, except written as: “Ocean’s Eleven.” It starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Three years later, these three made a sequel, then another three years later. Now, exactly eleven years after the last movie, “Ocean’s 8” has come to theaters. Except this time, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Steven Soderbergh are absent, as well as the creativity and entertainment.

“Ocean’s 8” follows Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) as she’s released from prison. After reconnecting with her old friend Lou (Cate Blanchett), Debbie reveals her plan to steal the Toussaint Necklace, a one hundred and fifty million dollar item which will be worn during the Met Gala in New York. In order to pull it off, they’re going to need the help of a jewelry maker, a profiteer, a street hustler, a hacker, and a fashion designer. The film features Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway.

I want to make something very clear to all readers before I continue. I am not bashing this film because the main cast is all women or because George Clooney and Brad Pitt aren’t in it. It doesn’t matter who’s in the leading role; when the story and action are dull, the film is going to suffer.

As a heist film, the overall planning and execution are bland and poorly handled. In fact, this shouldn’t even be considered a heist film, it should be called: “stuff happens and everything just solves itself” film. Things just work out for these characters with little to no consequence for their actions; because that’s the mark of a good story when characters don’t have to overcome challenges, obstacles, or conflicts.

Not only that, but this is quite a step down from the other movies. In the previous Ocean films, including the 1960 original, they were pulling off bank heists in Las Vegas, and even Europe. What are our new characters doing in “Ocean’s 8?” They’re stealing an expensive necklace in New York—that’s it. This is an all-female crew of thieves, and their big heist is stealing a piece of jewelry.

Sure, it has lots of stars and talent behind it, yet none of them have a chance to show it. They just say the lines, do as they’re directed, then move on to the next scene. That’s what’s most pathetic about this movie, there was actual talent behind it, yet not an ounce of it is in this film! Even Sandra Bullock—who supposed to be the leader and main character—just sounds bored to be in this movie. It feels like she was trying to go for a distant, cold personality for her character, but it comes off as dull, bland, and disinterested.

I suppose most of the fault for the poor direction and lackluster story falls on the film’s writer and director. Which is even sadder when you learn that “Ocean’s 8” was written and directed by Gary Ross, the same man who gave us “Seabiscuit” and Tom Hanks’ first hit film, “Big.” This wasn’t some hack who’s never worked on a film before, this man has decades of talent and experience, yet none of it can be found throughout the film!

“Ocean’s 8” is rated PG-13 for language, drug use, and some suggestive content. This movie has no reason to exist, other than waste your time and take your money. It not only fails as a heist film, it fails as a movie in general, because it fails to be entertaining in the slightest. The story wasn’t interesting, the characters weren’t interesting, the jokes can barely be considered comedic, and overall, the whole movie felt like a chore to sit through. If I could best describe “Ocean’s 8,” I would describe it as a doll. You can dress it up, give it a fancy look, pull its string to make it talk, but in the end, it’s still lifeless and without personality. Which is why the final score for this pointless film is a 4 out of 10.

Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.

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