Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ocean's Eleven (2001, Steven Soderbergh)

"Danny Ocean and his ten accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously"

Once again the plot is Danny Ocean wants some revenge from the guy who is dating his ex wife, so he decides to recruit his team of thieves and rob him. The plot line is the only thing that is similar to the original film along with the name of "Danny Ocean" Even with that, the plot isn't really executed the same at all. Hell, the only real similarity is just the name of the lead character.

This all brings the question of "why remake a movie and then not even remake the movie at all?" I seriously have no idea and even Steven Soderbergh states that he wanted to distance himself from the original. Well, he did a good job at doing that. I think the real reason why Soderbergh decided to "remake" the film is not because he wanted to bring the story to a new audience but instead wanted to try to recapture the slick coolness that is clearly visible in the original film. Here comes the rant....

Soderbergh gives us a film that is a bunch of A-List actors playing their own charming selves while executing a simple and entertaining plot. This same formula is what made the original film so cool, seeing all these actors and musicians just playing themselves and interacting with eachother. Soderbergh nails it right here. The dialogue between the actors seems natural and the actors always seem confident and at ease during the whole film thus making the film entertaining for the audience. If only the "hey lets be cool" factor could end right here. Soderbergh however decides that his direction should be super cool, as should everything else, and this is where I have always had a problem with the film. Soderberghs constant use of using tons of editing tricks, vibrant color tints, non stop jazzy score, and witty storytelling techniques is just too much. it all screams of "THIS IS SO COOL AND SLICK!!" and it never really reaches the level of wittiness or coolness that the film is trying so hard to portray. Sure, the finished product is slick and cool but it would be a lot more cooler and slick if the director wasn't shoving his bag of tricks down your throat every single second.

Now this doesnt mean that I hate the film or even dislike the film. I enjoy the film a lot and think its a great studio film and a very entertaining ride. I just think that it's not the excellent and witty film that it so desperately wants to be.

Soderbergh even with all his hits and misses has always been a very interesting director to me and this is a good proof of what happens when you give a talented and sometimes artistic director the freedom to make a studio film with a big cast. He could have made a straight forward caper film but his constant editing tricks and what nots are always interesting even if they don't work all the time. I applaud him for doing this film and now after seeing the other two installments I really do appreciate what he did with this film. I really do appreciate that he was able to execute this film while never letting things get sloppy and never minimizing any actors screentime or presence. It seems that this is close to impossible to pull off especially after seeing the disaster of Ocean's 12.

- ***

No comments: