Due to some poor planning, I ended up watching Ocean’s 8 on the second row of the theater. That’s not the best experience, but it’s a lot better in the days of recliners. Sure, I had to pan my head back and forth, but my neck doesn’t hurt. And you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Anne Hathaway’s huge smile take up your entire field of vision.
I would like to start by saying that this review sorta, kinda contains spoilers, but only because the marketing for this movie spoiled a lot of stuff already. If you haven’t watched a single trailer, or looked at a poster, then you might feel spoiled. Otherwise, you should be okay.
I want to start with that because I feel like the trailers and posters really did this movie a disservice. Heck, even the title didn’t do it any favors. If you can count, then you will realize that there’s already a spoiler in the title. One of the fun things about a good heist movie is not knowing how it’s going to play out, and by spoiling some elements of the film in marketing, it changed the entire experience of a couple of characters. For some movies, that wouldn’t matter, but for this movie, it matters a great deal. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Ocean’s 8 has a lot of really great things going for it. It has a phenomenal cast who all do a great job. The characters are well-drawn, with the heavy lifting being given to characters played by more capable actors. For example, contrast this to A Wrinkle In Time who put way too much on Mindy Kaling’s shoulders, and you’ll find a much better use of her here. If you’ve got Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway, you should use their talents. This movie does that well, showcasing the best of every actor in the movie. I walked away as a new fan of Awkwafina. James Corden also does a great job, though he doesn’t show up until very late in the movie.
For those who don’t know, Sandra Bullock plays the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney’s character in Ocean’s 11). If you forget that fact, don’t worry. They’ll beat you over the head with it over and over and over. In fact, the incessant need to tie this to Ocean’s 11 became laborious, never really providing any payoff to the viewer. A brief mention at the beginning would have been sufficient.
But really, the most important part of the movie is the heist, and the heist is… fine. Some parts of it are very clever, while other parts veer a little bit into science fiction. For the most part, the deft acting keeps it moving along so that you accept it all in stride. It follows the same formula as previous Ocean’s movies, which interestingly takes some suspense out of it. You know that there are parts of the heist that you won’t find out until the end, so it’s no surprise when they’re unveiled. I question whether the clues for the left-out parts were strong enough to not feel cheated, but I’ll reserve final judgment for when I can watch the movie at a more reasonable angle.
I think I sound more down on this movie than I really am. It’s a perfectly fun, though forgettable movie, and I don’t think anyone will regret spending money to watch it. This movie deserves a (hopefully better written) sequel, if for no other reason than to let this cast shine a little more. This movie has what it needs in front of the camera — it just needs more on the other side to be perfect.