Ocean’s 8 – Review

And now we get to the film that inspired me to do this marathon. I’m glad I did because while I was interested in this movie anyway seeing where it comes from and recognizing callbacks to the older films means I was able to appreciate it more.

I think this is the best one. I think it’s the right balance of the Sinatra and Clooney films while also throwing in its own spin. I especially like how this actually has a third act dealing with the aftermath of the heist like the original, something the trilogy never did for some reason.

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I think the smaller cast was a smart move too. All 8 get a pretty decent amount of screen time and scenes where they get to stand out. There’s even a couple of neat cameos from characters from the previous three films.

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If they end up making an Ocean’s 9 I’d be interested in seeing more from these characters, maybe bring back Julia Roberts as Tess and have Rihanna sing a cover of Eee O Eleven or one of the other songs from the original. But for now here’s my rankings for the whole series, in image form too since I like the layout more and am going to use it for all future franchise rankings

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Ocean’s Thirteen – Review

So in my Ocean’s Twelve review I mentioned how I was pleasantly surprised they didn’t make any cuts to the team and that based on the ending I had a guess about who member 13 was going to be. I was also curious if Thirteen would feel like an actual ending for these characters since it wraps up Soderbergh’s trilogy. So if you’ve already seen these movies you can probably guess my reaction to this one.

This was a huge downgrade. Not only did they make a cut to the team but it was specifically the addition from the previous movie who doesn’t even appear while the new additions are barely in it either. They also brought back the antagonist of Twelve for a really bland subplot that just made him seem useless.

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It had potential at the start when the heist was personal for not just one member but the entire team but the heist itself was boring. I also found the callback to the original Ocean’s 11 disappointing, instead of something neat like the songs they just have a couple of lines about shaking Sinatra’s hand.

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Fortunately to make up for this movie ditching the female leads from Twelve next up we’ve got an entire team of female characters. I’m not sure what to expect but it’s bound to be better than this.

Ocean’s Twelve – Review

I knew pretty much nothing about these movies other than some of the actors and that one of the films was commonly criticised for having a part where Julia Roberts’ character is told she looks like Julia Roberts. Turns out the one people didn’t like is this one, which is weird because so far it’s the best one.

It has all the strengths of the previous film but because it’s a different heist it doesn’t have elements that feel like a downgrade from the original. This also makes ranking the other two a little easier. Yes the Julia Roberts as Tess as Julia Roberts thing is silly but honestly it’s much funnier than its infamy made it out to be.

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I’m also impressed they got all 11 members of the team from the previous movie back, I assumed they’d probably have some cuts and swap them out for new members as well as adding a 12th. I also think Danny and Tess Ocean’s relationship is better this time around and much better than Danny and Beatrice Ocean’s in the original.

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Two more movies to go and the next one wraps up the Ocean’s trilogy. No idea what to expect from this next one, I have a guess about who the 13th member is based on the ending of this one but I could easily be wrong. I’m curious if it will feel like an actual ending for this team or just the last film they made about them.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – Review

While this is considered a remake it seems more like a reboot as other than the character of Danny Ocean and the fact they’re robbing casinos in Las Vegas these are two very different movies with completely different characters and motivations. Even the number of casinos they’re robbing and the name of Danny Ocean’s wife are different.

In my review for the original I mentioned that it clearly was made before a lot of heist movie tropes were a thing, this one is full of them. It also does update the heist to account for stronger security.

An improvement this has over the original is how it uses the cast. More of the 11 stand out as characters while in the original it was really just the main ones.

While there are some improvements over the original I’m not sure which I think is better. The heist was better in the original along with the ending but the remake does a better job handling such a large cast. Both are pretty average though.

Ocean’s 11 (1960) – Review

With Ocean’s 8 coming out in a few days it’s time for another movie marathon. I’ve always been aware of this franchise but never saw any of them, I didn’t even know the 2001 film was a remake until I told people I was going to do an Ocean’s marathon and they asked if I was going to include the 60s version.

I watched this one with my dad who was able to explain a lot of the era specific context to some of the lines and cameos along with interesting trivia about the main cast. I also spotted a few interesting differences in film making, especially compared to movies set in the 60s but filmed more recently (such as the way characters smoke).

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The film does have a very slow pace and I realized this was made before a lot of the common tropes of heist movies that would speed up the pace during the heist itself.  The main strength of the movie is its cast, though only a small handful of the 11 actually get much focus with many just fading into the background. On the subject of the cast having only really seen him as The Joker it’s neat seeing Cesar Romero out of the makeup, when I saw his name in the credits I wondered if I could spot him if I looked for the mustache he famously didn’t shave when playing Joker (I did but was unsure until my dad asked if I recognized him and I guessed correctly).

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The film has its good points and its bad points and watching it today there are some elements that are pretty dated (such as a scene where characters are putting on blackface). I’d say it’s an average film that is interesting to watch and I’m curious what elements will stick around for the rest of the movies.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Review

So the people sat next to me when I saw this talked through the trailers and when the credits were rolling left a bunch of rubbish on the floor including half a packet of cookies. Fortunately they didn’t talk through the movie but I guess that’s what happens when you go to a day one screening of a big movie in the evening.

I like the direction this movie took the Jurassic Park franchise. Unlike other Jurassic Park sequels this movie does cover the consequences of the previous movie, it really feels like Jurassic World is an ongoing story rather than just the new name for the movies. I also think this movie has some really good shots with the standout being the last shot of the island itself.

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Of course being a Jurassic Park movie one of the most important parts are the dinosaurs and this movie has its fair share of cool dinosaur moments. The Indoraptor was especially sinister and a huge upgrade from the pretty bland design of the Indominus Rex, it was also a good payoff for the idea of dinosaurs being used in wars with it being designed to react to military equipment. I liked the new additions to Blue’s story though I do think the trailers might have overhyped her involvement (much like they did with Jeff Goldbloom) since she does spend most of the movie on an operating table but once she recovers it’s back to being the best of the main characters in this franchise.

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If you liked Jurassic World you should like this. I would normally end these franchise movie reviews with my rankings for them but I’m not sure how I’d rank this series other than knowing Jurassic Park is at the top and Jurassic Park 3 is probably at the bottom. I should have done a rewatch marathon. I will say that there are areas I think this improves on Jurassic World (especially when it comes to the human lead characters) and areas where Jurassic World outclasses it (like a lot of the stuff with Blue including teaming up with Rexy to fight the Indominus Rex). So to make up for not having that here’s a silly meme image I made summing up my reaction to the Final Trailer

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Solo: A Star Wars Story – Review

Out of the new Star Wars movies this is certainly the one that has had the least hype leading up to it but just as much discussion regardless due to the production. I can’t say I was ever excited about seeing it but I was always interested.

I liked it. It’s not great but it didn’t need to be, it’s a movie about Han Solo so the only thing I really wanted it to be was fun and it was. It’s not without its flaws including a lot of scenes where the lighting is a little too dark and it did feel like they were trying to fit a little too many elements of Solo’s past into one movie so he meets Chewie, meets Lando, sees/rides/flies the Millennium Falcon, does the Kessel Run, wins the Falcon AND does his first job for Jabba the Hutt in the span of a few days.

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The main strength of the movie is the cast, especially getting to see new takes on Han and Lando. As expected Donald Glover is fantastic as Lando Calrissian finding the right balance of Billy Dee Williams impression and his own spin on the character. Alden Ehrenreich is also pretty good as Solo himself, he’s playing the character differently from Harrison Ford  (which I expect why it was so hard for the trailers to sell him to people) but it fits where Solo is at this point in his life and as the film gets closer to the end he starts acting more like the Han Solo we know.

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If you’re unsure about this film or don’t go to the cinema that often maybe wait for it to come out on DVD/TV/Netflix, it’s not something you need to see on the big screen but it is worth at least having a look at if you’re a Star Wars fan. Anyway now to ruin the layout of my Star Wars ranking image…

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Now the poor little Clone Wars pilot movie is on its own at the bottom. I do hope we get another animated Star Wars movie at some point, one that isn’t a pilot episode to a TV series, as an animation fan it’s a shame the only animated Star Wars movie is also the worst one.