Written by George Nolfi, based on characters created by George Clayton Johnson & Jack Golden Russell
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Matt Damon
- Theatrical trailer
Released by: Warner Brothers.
My Advice: See it for the movie; don’t buy till there are features.
[ad#longpost]It’s been three years since Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his crew cleaned out three casinos in one shot, robbing blind Terry Benedict (Garcia) and pissing him off greatly to boot. They’ve gone underground, but apparently not far enough. Benedict has found them–all of them, and they have no idea how, but they most definitely know why: he wants his money back. Forget the fact he was insured for the entire amount, he wants either payback (with interest), or some serious pain is going to be brought. There’s nothing for it, but for Ocean and crew to raise the dough and pay off Benedict…but how the hell are they going to pull that off?
I make no bones about it: I enjoyed the first film greatly. It wasn’t Merchant Ivory, nor was it supposed to be. It was simply something that we haven’t seen around here in a long damn time: grab a bunch of actors, some A-listers among them, and throw them in a big gumbo pot and let them have a blast making a fun movie. The example I always come up with while trying to explain this type of movie is Cannonball Run, although that’s not really a good one. Maybe It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is more a propos. But you see what I’m getting at (perhaps). You have fun watching the film because it’s not only fast paced, funny, but it’s fun–and everybody had fun doing it, and it’s infectious.
I was curious as to how you could take the story of Danny Ocean to the next level, especially since you’ve switched scribes. Could Nolfi be able to pick up where Ted Griffin left off? The answer is yes, in spades. Granted, you’ve got a crowded playing field with so many characters, and it gets really meta in places–more than you’d expect from a film like this–but as long as you go into it with the right mindset, your expectations should be met. There’s also a number of excellent cameos, from Robbie Coltrane to Eddie Izzard, and some that I shan’t mention because the surprise is priceless.
Clooney and Pitt are in excellent form, delivering the rapid-fire dialogue perfectly. Damon‘s character steps up a bit, but for the most part it’s Pitt’s show, as we get to delve into his past love life and how that stands to come back and bite them all in their collective asses. Also, Roberts is given more to do, which is, in this case, a good thing. Zeta-Jones steps up as well, and this is, of course, always a good thing. David Holmes’ score is even better than the original, in my opinion, although we can only hope that the soundtrack CD keeps the music and dialogue separate this time around. And Soderbergh’s direction and cinematography is just as tight as we’ve come to expect. The sum of all the parts is shallow as hell, but who cares?
Sadly, this initial version of the DVD is shallow too. Just the trailer. Which is a shame compared to the original’s slate of offerings when it hit, but I’m sure there’s another disc coming out complete with commentary, behind the scenes goodness and maybe some interviews. Maybe before the sequel hits. Which, you know, I wouldn’t mind at all.