3. Ocean’s 8 (2018)
One of the better all-women reboots of any franchise, Ocean’s 8 boasts a cast arguably even more loaded than its male-centred counterparts, and it puts each of them to magnificent use. Hollywood royalty Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are backed up by prestigious character actors Sarah Paulson and Helena Bonham Carter, with rising comedic talents Awkwafina and Mindy Kaling, and pop superstar Rihanna, ensuring an eclectic mix of star personas and characterisations. The promotional material, featuring all of the above and their on-screen rival Anne Hathaway, may have given away the film’s twist (arguably one of most highly anticipated aspects of any heist movie – especially the Ocean’s films) and the modernisation in the filmmaking and its influences did take a little bit away from classic Hollywood feel of Ocean’s Eleven (2001) in particular, but Ocean’s 8 was a great deal of fun filled with memorable moments and all of the build-up and tension that had made the franchise so popular in the first place.
2. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
In 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen, director Steven Soderbergh seemed to rediscover some of the magic missing from his 2004 sequel Ocean’s Twelve. Perhaps it was the return of the franchise to its Las Vegas setting, or the inclusion of new powerhouse antagonist Al Pacino, but more than likely it was the filmmaker’s acknowledgement that this would be the end of his heist movie trilogy and perhaps the last time such a cast would ever be assembled. As with all great third entries into movie franchises, Ocean’s Thirteen plays like a greatest hits of the Ocean’s films that came before it, each major character from the previous films in some way involved, and the twists and turns to its narrative each influenced and in reference to those big twists in the first and second movies. At times a little self-indulgent, with perhaps one too many moments of fan service, Ocean’s Thirteen is a film that will be enjoyed more by fans of Eleven and Twelve than those casually interested, but is a much more pacey and exciting entry than Twelve was; a strong and star-studded heist movie that doesn’t rewrite any of the rules, tropes or beats of the heist genre but does a good job of making them entertaining.
1. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Sometimes unfairly dismissed as a Hollywood star vehicle without much substance, Ocean’s Eleven (2001) is actually a fantastic homage to the superstar eras of old Hollywood in every aspect from its cast to its edits, its set pieces to its romance, its vision of new America versus old America, and the very film stock it’s shot on. Every frame is steeped in a rich plethora of historical influences, the soundtrack straight out of the prime of the careers of the likes of Frank Sinatra (who starred in the original version) and the heist formula about as old as cinema itself. It’s clever too – not so clever it leaves you lost for great periods, but clever enough to be interesting, to keep you guessing and to eventually leave you with a smile on your face – its swift pace and unambiguous divide between the good guys and the bad making Ocean’s Eleven every bit of a Classic Hollywood release for the 21st century. Ironically, 2001 was probably the very last time in which a film of this type could ever be made, the industry of Hollywood films moving beyond traditional film stock (which gifted Ocean’s Eleven its classic look) and into digital technologies, audiences moving away from seeing actors as box office draws as they instead took to character IPs (such as superheroes) as the reason to visit cinemas. Originally intended as a time machine to a greater era of superstardom and Hollywood dominance, Ocean’s Eleven is now something of a time capsule of what it once was to make a Hollywood movie, and a genuinely enthralling and entertaining film in of itself.
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With five movies already released, and a mass of box office dollars to its name, it’s likely that we’ll eventually see the Ocean’s franchise return; but should it? Let us know in the comments below, and tell us your favourite of the five movies while you’re there. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with more list articles like this one from The Film Magazine.