Ocean's Twelve DVD:
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson, DVD MOVIE GUIDE
all rights, 2001s remake of Oceans Eleven should have stunk. Sure,
it included a lot of talent, with quite a few Oscar winners both behind and in
front of the camera. However, that could have turned into its Achilles heel. All-star
productions often turn out poorly, as all those egos cant work together
well enough to create a good ensemble piece. The idea of an update on an old Rat
Pack flick didnt sound all that appealing either; it seemed likely the new
movie would be a self-conscious and self-indulgent piece of hipster fluff.
my surprise, Eleven ended up as a minor gem. It never took itself seriously as
is told a goofy and endearing tale of a complicated robbery. Audiences agreed,
as the flick took in a solid $183 million.
Oceans Twelve didnt do quite as well, but its $125 million gross wasnt
sneeze-worthy. Nonetheless, thats a lackluster total given the first ones
success and all the star power on display. Personally, I hope we dont get
to Oceans Thirteen, since the dull and plodding Twelve leads me to believe
ennui has set in.
launches with a prologue set three and a half years ago in Rome. Crook
Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) flees his detective girlfriend Isabel Lahiri (Catherine
Zeta-Jones) when it looks like shell find out his profession. The movie
then leaps to three and a half weeks ago in Connecticut, where thief
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) tries to settle down into a non-criminal suburban
life with wife Tess (Julia Roberts). Clearly the old life still entices him, and
matters complicate when her old flame jillionaire Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia)
- the subject of the first movies caper - shows up at their house with Tess
home alone. Benedict wants back his $160 million plus interest, and he gives the
crooks two weeks to pay him.
there, Benedict makes his way through all of the participants in the original
heist: pickpocket Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), pyrotechnician Basher Tarr (Don
Cheadle), inside man Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), drivers/general nuisances Virgil
(Casey Affleck) and Turk (Scott Caan) Malloy, electronics expert Livingston Dell
(Edward Jemison), grease man gymnast the Amazing Yen (Shaobo Qin),
retired vet Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), and former Vegas tycoon Reuben Tishkoff
(Elliott Gould). Benedict ends his crusade with a threat against Ryan.
reunites Oceans Eleven - most of whom complain about that moniker
- to figure out how to deal with this debt. They need a new job right away, but
theyre too well known to work in the US. This sends them to Amsterdam on
Ryans suggestion, but it turns out he has an ulterior motive: Isabel is
in Amsterdam, and he wants to reconnect with his old flame.
in Amsterdam, they connect with Matsui (Robbie Coltrane), an agent who steers
them toward various jobs. The first sends them into the home of an agoraphobic
and doesnt pay much, but its a start. However, a criminal mastermind
called the Night Fox (Vincent Cassel) beats them to it, and the whole situation
gets more and more complicated, especially when Isabel comes onto the case.
did the Night Fox thwart Oceans gang? Jealousy. His mentor considers Ocean
to be the worlds greatest thief, so the Night Fox wants to establish his
own supremacy. He offers Ocean a challenge: whoever steals a particular item first
wins, and if its Ocean, hell pay off the whole $97 million debt to
Benedict. The movie follows the battle of the crooks along with Isabels
attempts to involve herself in the situation.
was lightning in a bottle - can the sequel recapture the energy and magic of the
original? Nope. At its best, Twelve offers decent entertainment, but it never
takes off like the first one did.
its too much to ask everyone involved to recapture such an unusual circumstance.
Eleven was sort of a busmans holiday, as the folks who made it did the whole
thing as something of a lark. They went into it with a relaxed attitude that came
through via the light and loose attitude displayed.
the other hand, Twelve often has the feeling of a contractual obligation. I dont
thing anyone was truly required to make it, but its clear there was more
at stake this time. The first movie was an expensive party that managed to become
a big hit. Of course, it had high expectations given the talent involved, but
it didnt look like the participants saw it that way.
think the stress became more distinct for Twelve. The first flick was a lark,
while this one required more effort since all involved had more pressure to succeed.
seems to weigh on the proceedings, as Twelve never remotely recaptures the light
effervescence of its predecessors. Granted, it gives us a more nuanced character
piece that tries to dig into the personalities with greater depth. While Eleven
was happy to stay with pop charm, Twelve wants to deal with real emotions and
it attempts those elements poorly, partially because it tries to have its cake
and eat it too. The movie interconnects mildly dramatic moments with light goofiness
and doesnt succeed in either domain. The seriousness lacks heft, and the
comedy feels strained and forced.
drama also flops because we simply dont go to see a movie like Twelve for
that kind of material. If I want to watch something serious, Ill go see
Hotel Rwanda. When I check out an Oceans flick, I want a zippy neo-Rat Pack
vibe with little seriousness and lather to spare.
doesnt materialize in the leaden Twelve. Actually, for one brief moment
toward the end, the movie manages to almost live up to its potential. I wont
spill all the beans, but it involves an actor essentially playing a character
playing that actor, and it also includes a cameo from another major star. The
whole thing is almost too clever-clever to work, but it does succeed, and for
a few happy moments, the flick turns into something special.
it soon returns to earth and continues on its dull path. An essential lack of
focus definitely harms Twelve. Eleven enjoyed a very basic plot and it prospered
largely due to that simplicity. 11 guys put together a heist - that was about
it. Yeah, some minor subplots evolved as well, but the movie concentrated on that
robbery above all else, and that led us on a concrete path.
the other hand, Twelve bobs and weaves itself into oblivion. Essentially its
all oriented toward paying off Benedict, but the tale takes so many detours along
the way that we get lost. Not only that, but when it tries to right itself, we
problem that stems from the absence of focus relates to the use of the leads.
Clooney and Pitt often feel like afterthoughts here, and most of the others dont
fare any better. When the movie ended, I thought of Isabel and the Night Fox as
the major characters; everyone else seemed like vague support. A sequel that concentrates
mostly on two new characters doesnt sound like a good proposition. Maybe
this is just my perception and the screen time is more balanced, but the movie
sure doesnt make it feel that way.
I think its good that Oceans Twelve doesnt simply remake its
predecessor. Another story with another big caper might have been tedious. However,
its hard to imagine itd have been less engaging than this.
DVD Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D-
Twelve appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided,
double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A virtual
carbon copy of the visuals for the first flick, Twelve delivered a consistently
appeared positive. The image remained nicely distinct and well defined at all
times, as I discerned virtually no signs of softness or fuzziness. No jagged edges
or shimmering popped up, and I saw no examples of edge enhancement. In regard
to print flaws, some light grain appeared due to the photographic design, but
otherwise the picture seemed free from defects.
Steven Soderbergh usually features stylized hues, and that occurred during Twelve
as well. The movie offered broad and vivid color schemes, and the DVD replicated
them well. Soderbergh apparently likes for colors to border on oversaturation,
and that happened here. However, the tones remained clear and tight throughout
the movie; they just managed to keep from crossing that line.
black levels looked nicely deep and rich, and even though Soderbergh sometimes
favored a blown out look, I felt contrast appeared solid and the movie
never presented a washed out appearance. Shadow detail was appropriately heavy
without any excessive darkness. Overall, I found Oceans Twelve to look pretty
the films Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it didnt excel, but it did
its job. The soundfield remained fairly heavily oriented toward the front spectrum.
In that domain, the music offered solid stereo imaging, and effects seemed natural
and well defined. Those elements spread cleanly across the forward channels. They
showed good blending, and panning appeared smooth and natural.
usage seemed limited but acceptable. The rear speakers reinforced the films
music and they also occasionally offered decent effects support. Admittedly, they
remained fairly passive much of the time, but they came to life acceptably during
a few scenes. Not much stood out from the crowd, though, as the mix lacked a lot
quality also seemed positive but not special. At times, dialogue displayed slight
edginess, and some speech sounded a bit stiff. However, most of the time the lines
were acceptably natural and distinct, and I never encountered any concerns related
to intelligibility. Effects seemed clear and accurate, and they provided the films
strongest examples of subwoofer usage. Bass response was tight and firm. The songs
and score provided clean and bright highs with similarly rich lows. Ultimately,
however, the soundtrack of Oceans Twelve failed to make a strong enough
impression to merit more than a B.
the movies prominence and box office success, almost no supplements appear
on Oceans Twelve. We get the movies trailer and thats about
it, though the DVD opens with promos for The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby and
The Phantom of the Opera.
the first movie was a loose and lively romp, Oceans Twelve plods and meanders.
With no pep to its step, the film fails to engage the audience, and it simply
lacks the fun factor we demand of this kind of flick. The DVD presents very strong
picture along with pretty solid sound, but it includes almost no extras. I had
a great time with its predecessor, but Oceans Twelve left me cold.
Ocean's Twelve DVD:
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson, DVD MOVIE GUIDE