Monday, January 31, 2011

Canon Movie Review: Ocean's Twelve

This movie review is of the sequel to the 2001 flick Ocean's Eleven (which I thought was a pretty good movie, although it has been a while since I've seen it), the 2004 film appropriately titled Ocean's Twelve. The movie was directed by Steven Soderbough and has an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Carl Reiner. In Ocean's Twelve, Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his gang of eleven are tracked down by Terry Benedict (Garcia), who is asking for the money that Ocean stole from his casino at the end of the first movie, with interest. To further complicate matters, the gang is also being targeted by a master thief known only as The Night Fox, and also by a Europol detective named Isabel Lahiri (Zeta-Jones), who had a previous relationship with Ocean's right hand man Rusty Ryan (Pitt). A few notes about this movie, and there are probably SPOILERS ahead, so read with caution.

- In Ocean's Eleven, it was clear that Clooney was the main star of the film. Well in Ocean's Twelve, the main star seems to be Brad Pitt, as his character is the focal point around which everything revolves. Pitt also got the most screen time, while Clooney almost seemed to be a background character for much of the film. Also, Bernie Mac and Don Cheadle has hardly any time at all on screen, especially Mac, whose character spent most of the movie in an Amsterdam jail cell. At least Matt Damon gets more screen time here, and his performance as the hoplessly naive Linus Caldwell is the highlight of the movie in my opinion.

- Even though Terry Benedict's demand for his money back is the impetus for getting the group back together, Benedict isn't really a big part of the film after the first few minutes or so, which seems to me to be a waste of Andy Garcia's talents but that's the way they went with the film. Instead, the group now has two adversaries. One is the thief known as The Night Fox, Baron Francois Toluar (Vincent Cassel). While Cassel does a fine job in his role, the reasons behind the Night Fox's involvement in the story seem somewhat convoluted at best. The other adversary is Rusty's old flame Isabel, and her relationship with Rusty becomes the focalpoint of the film at times. While Pitt and Zeta-Jones are capable actors, the two just don't seem to have enough chemistry in this film to carry it, and the script does them no favors, as Isabel is written as too one-dimensional of a character.

- Ocean's Twelve was primarily set in European locales, and Soderbough does an excellent job of shooting the Eurpoean locales such as Rome and Amsterdam. However, his directing of this movie relied on too much gimmicks and too many scenes where the camera was shaking, which I guess is supposed to have a deeper meaning but to me it was just too annoying. I will say that the score provided by David Holmes was excellent and really added a lot to the film as a whole.

- While Ocean's Eleven had a great story that wasn't too confusing and tied together all the loose ends, Ocean's Twelve's scrpit left something to be desired. In some scenes, it seems like there was no script, and Pitt and Clooney were just improving their scenes (which actually wasn't too bad). Overall, the plot was too muddled and relied heavily on moments that seemed way too convenient and unfathomable. the pace is too uneven (as every big event seems to happen in the last 15 minutes, and the movie takes forever to get going after Benedict's scenes) and all the confusing camera tricks make the story harder to follow, adding to the confusion of the movie.

- Ocean's Twelve has a couple of interesting cameos in this film. Bruce Willis plays himself in the film, and inadvertantly plays a role in one of the capers the gang tries. While Willis's cameo is good, Topher Grace's cameo as himself in Rusty's hotel is quite humorous. Also, Julia Roberts plays herself, or plays a character that has to play herself. Trust me, it would make sense if you see the movie.

Overall, Ocean's Twelve is a decent enough film that is plagued by a confusing script, but the acting is good enough in some places to carry this film to a respectable showing. If you're in the mood for a great film, well this probably isn't it. But if you want to see a breezy film with big name actors that passes the time by quickly, then you could do a lot worse then Ocean's Twelve, although Ocean's Eleven would probably be better. Overall, I'd give it a 5.4 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

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