Back in 2016, Universal released an all-female reboot/sequel to Ghostbusters. The movie was not well received and whilst many feel it’s because some were simply unhappy with the gender switch-up, the honest truth is that the movie was just not very good. That movie has though opened up the idea to other fellow companies to rehash popular movies and turn the leads from all male, to all female. Which is why we now have Ocean’s 8, a movie which carries on from the original Ocean’s 11 trilogy but follows the story of Sandra Bullocks Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney’s Danny.
Ocean’s 8 is an enjoyable heist romp and far better than the female Ghostbusters attempt, but it lacks memorability and very rarely comes into life throughout its 110 minute run time. Yet the film would be even less successful without its game cast, an all-star set of top calibre actresses have assembled for this re-imagining of the Ocean story and all absolutely bring it to their respective roles.
The story follows Debbie Ocean, who gathers a crew of 7 ladies to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.
Leading the squad is the always brilliant Sandra Bullock and she proves to be the perfect choice to lead this team. Bullock is a top tier actress and she oozes confidence and swagger throughout, sharing a good on screen relationship with every member of the team. The whole team delivers in their respective roles, with Anne Hathaway being a particular standout and Rihanna being the best she’s ever been in a movie.
I do however think some of the characters were strangely written, in particular Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, but they ensure they do their best with the material they’ve been given. Sarah Paulson is a delight as she always is yet I was left a little frustrated as she plays the cliché mother of the group.
The problem with the film is that whilst it’s easy and enjoyable to watch, it’s all rather stale and uneventful. When the final heist takes place, the film certainly goes up a gear but it is a slog to reach this finale. It comes as no surprise really as we obviously have to accumulate our team and show moments of them all in action for development purposes, I just wish it was handled with greater care.
What makes a truly great heist movie is how real it all feels. Hell or High Water and Heat may be action packed but the robberies felt gritty and realistic. This film relies so heavily and so often on chance that it ended up feeling uninspired. A lot has to occur for the heist to work and there is just no way that all this luck could happen and play out as it does.
The film also bats you over the head with the Danny Ocean references and call backs. This film would’ve seriously benefitted more from being its own individual film but for a lot of the first act (and then again at the very end) they constantly refer back to Danny and what he had been through.
Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) delivers slick and fast-paced directing and nicely balances out its many stars to ensure they share the limelight. This very much feels like a franchise starter so if we are to get more movies from this story, I would certainly be on board for its existence and Ross’ return despite the problems I had with the movie.
In the end I realised that this is very much a chick flick. The female audience members in my screening were laughing throughout and having a great time, so I have to applaud the movie for reaching its target demographic and succeeding. But for me, it just never felt anything more than merely watchable.
Verdict: Preposterous and predictable but gets by thanks to a committed all-star cast. Ocean’s 8 doesn’t add new life to the heist genre but is certainly a crowd pleaser for female audience members.
Best Moment: The final heist
To book tickets to watch Ocean’s 8 at Odeon in Hereford, please visit https://mobi.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/hereford/217/