So rarely have so many Hollywood A-Listers been assembled for a studio project like they have throughout the catalogue of Ocean’s movies stretching across the past sixty years. Whether it be in the famous Steven Soderbergh trilogy of the 2000s, the all-woman reboot of 2018 or the original film released in 1960, the Ocean family’s selection of eight, eleven, twelve or even thirteen are guaranteed to be the most glamourous vault robbers you’ll ever see. If there’s one thing the Ocean’s movies are not short on, it’s star power.
Now five movies deep into a franchise that will continue to have potential until the day that movie stars no longer exist, the Ocean’s films have made around $1.4billion at the worldwide box office, maintaining interest from film fans and scholars alike for their visual homages, entertaining narrative twists and their unparalleled sex appeal.
In this edition of Ranked, we’re looking at each of the five Ocean’s movies and ranking them from worst to best in terms of entertainment value, artistic achievement, cultural importance, critical reception and audience perception for this: the Ocean’s Movies Ranked.
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5. Ocean’s Eleven (1960)
Almost the very definition of “the old boys club”, Ocean’s Eleven is 1960 Hollywood in a nut shell – it’s glamourous, filled with timeless superstars and beautiful to look at, but it hasn’t aged all that well. Slow to the point of a saunter, and troublesome in terms of its gender politics by today’s standards, this Lewis Milestone directed feature hasn’t quite stood the test of time like some of his more respected films, such as All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Of Mice and Men (1939). It has its moments of fun, and the star studded line-up is filled with the type of charisma that is legendary by anybody’s standards, but a timeless classic Ocean’s Eleven (1960) is not – it’s not even vital to enjoying or understanding the other (better) films made in its name.
4. Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
This 2004 release suffers mostly from a distinct lack of pace compared with its predecessor, sequences at times falling more in line with the 1960 Ocean’s Eleven than director Steven Soderbergh’s relatively rapid 2001 version. Gone are the inspired moments of homage to Hollywood films of the Golden and Classic eras, especially in terms of framing and editing, elements which mark not only a drop off in quality but seem to prove how Soderbergh was less inspired and more obligated by Ocean’s Twelve than he was Ocean’s Eleven. The cast are a lot of fun however, as you would expect, and a few surprise cameos make for peaks in interest, with the film feeling very much like the Hollywood flex that it is – Catherine Zeta Jones, Bruce Willis and French megastar Vincent Cassel adding to the already incomparable star power of the original. Ocean’s Twelve is far from bad, but it is a noticeable downgrade on Ocean’s Eleven when watching them back to back, and in retrospect it’s almost like the very best moments of Ocean’s Twelve are so great that they mask the long stretches of slow and uninspired sequences that come in between. This is a serviceable franchise entry that thankfully doesn’t tank the series, but also doesn’t do much more to add to it.