Ocean's Eleven (2001)
11th January 2003
Danny Ocean is an expert conman who has just been released from prison. With plenty of spare time on his hands he's been planning a heist to end all others. It's so big that he's going to need help and money, but it will be worth the outlay as the haul should rake in a massive $150 million dollars. The plan? Simple. Bypass a security system better than Fort Knox and empty a massive safe serving three casinos of their contents without anyone noticing.
The targets are the Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand which are all owned by ruthless businessman Terry Benedict. And by a strange coincidence Terry is also dating his ex-wife, the beautiful Tess. In order to perform the robbery Danny is going to need the best in the job, but first he's going to need that big money backer. What he needs is someone with clout and plenty of bitterness towards the target casinos. So enter Reuben Tishkoff, a casino mogul who's been trampled by Terry Benedicts endless quest for profits and domination of the Las Vegas casinos.
With the financial backing secure its time to round up the specialist crew. His team includes an ace card-sharp, a pickpocket, an explosives expert, a card dealer, a retired master thief, a surveillance expert, a Chinese acrobat and two front men. Together with Danny and his financial backer they are known as "Ocean's Eleven" and its going to be one hell of a job to carry out.
For a film containing mostly night time or gloomy scenes the picture reproduction is rather good. The big and bold lights of downtown Las Vegas are handled with equal ease and there are no signs or any artifacting or outlining. Mind you, George Clooney did wear a checked jacket which caused all sort of problems with the DVD encoding process as every where he went a nasty moiré pattern followed. Fortunately, he only wore it for a few scenes. Although the box states that the film is presented in 1.85:1 unless my television is lying to me it is actually in 2.35:1. I'll also overlook that the box also wrongly states that the film runs to just over three hours.
The sound is good, especially the musical score, with some first-rate stereo steerage and some clear and precise dialogue in the centre channel. There's also some reasonable use of the surround channels, even if it can be rather bland and unimaginative at times. I occasionally have to wonder whether the film studios have realised that people now own home cinema systems that are capable of reproducing the full range of sounds thrown at it.
The menu is reasonably animated and scored with clips from the film merging in the background whilst the extras are a bit of a mixed bag. The film contains two audio commentaries, one featuring with the majority of the cast whilst the other features director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Ted Griffin. Both audio tracks are interesting and insightful, but the commentary containing the cast has to be the most interesting when you consider that Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Bratt Pitt are all in one place. Mind you, where are the other major cast members? Are George Clooney and Julia Roberts too big for their audio commentary boots?
Whilst the films title gives away the fact that its a remake, the surprising thing about Ocean's Eleven has to be the ending. Without spoiling it for people who have not seen both versions, let's just say that it doesn't end in the way you'd be expecting. This also works both ways, as people who've not seen the original version will also be surprised about its ending. Trouble is, I can't make my mind up which ending is better of the two.
This is great film with some excellent action, comedy moments and a cast you'll be hard pushed to assemble ever again. You should definitely consider adding both this and the original rat pack version to your film collection, especially since both films will warrant repeat viewings.
- Two Feature-Length Audio Commentaries
- Documentary : The Making of Ocean's Eleven
- Documentary : The Look of a Con
- Theatrical Trailers