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Against all odds, and perhaps thanks to my scarce –if not nil– expectations about a production that, beyond its fantastic cast, did not have anything new, I must confess that I have fully enjoyed Ocean's 8, which has become one of the great surprises of the summer season.
The film has shown once again that reinventions in female key are sometimes a good idea, accompanying with a magnificent positive message to its aspect of unpretentious entertainment; agile, fun and with a rhythm that helps transform the two hours of film into a trip as much fleeting as refreshing.
However, after the joy experienced thanks to the last work of Gary Ross, I made the mistake of rewatch the original Ocean's Eleven by Steven Soderbergh. An experience that has rediscovered an excellent feature film which has overshadowed its new sequel; something that has urged me to put both tapes inside a ring to face them in this text.ç
In the case of two productions in which glamor, fashion and design have an important role, Ocean's Eleven would be the Prada handbag and Ocean's 8 would be the fake one. Both share patterns, colours and a style that, together, makes them appear completely identical but they aren't.
By looking closely and more thoroughly at both objects, the brazen fake bag begins to reveal its small –and not so small– which show that it is fake, a cheap copy. The materials are rougher and less durable, flimsy and visible seams and the details of the brand are lost in the imperfections trying unsuccessfully to copy a good quality product.
Taking Ocean's 8 around the swampy grounds of remakes and sequels –with references to characters from 2001's Ocean's Eleven– while striving, unsuccessfully, to capture the essence and charm that made os the film starring George Clooney and company a unique film.
Gary Ross (Ocean's 8) is not Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven). With this obvious statement could be summarized to perfection the main reason which makes of Ocean's 8 a rehash of the superb approach of Soderbergh's film.
Throughout his career, the creator of the trilogy started with Ocean's Eleven has transcended his status as a filmmaker to be part of that select group of who we can catalog as authors. Regardless of our affiliations, phobias and personal tastes, some of his films (Erin Brockovich, Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Traffic, among others) reflect the spirit of an author who soaks each of his creations with his stamp and experiences without any shame with formal and narrative elements, elements and even formats as he has revealed in Unsane; his last film shot with a an iPhone in one week starring Claire Foy.
This desire for constant renewal and his lack of prudishness when taking risks were projected back in 2001 in Ocean's Eleven which opted for such atypical elements as its non-linear structure or its disassembled montage full of resources as tacky as effective to bring personality to the archetypal history of robberies while in Ocean's 8, Gary Ross uses Soderbergh's feature film as a template to create a sort of transgender and decaffeinated version of it. Without any kind of modesty, the director goes through the same narrative and stylistic paths of his reference work, showing himself as a mere imitator unable to breathe into the story, if he had used his own style it would have make the film go from the simply efficient to the truly special.
To be fair, both films coincide in the undeniable charisma of their cast. The change of gender of the group has seated wonderfully to Ocean's 8 which finds in its eight main actresses and in the chemistry among them its main virtue; being the only element that holds the production at all times. Sandra Bullock's Debbie Ocean is even better than George Clooney's Danny, and above a estimable Sarah Paulson, Elena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and an amazing Rihanna, I must highlight a huge Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway who steal all the lights and who bring more talent and cache than all her companions together.
Personally, I must point out that, as much as I can extol the virtues of the Ocean's 8 casting, I find it much more complete, better in interpretive terms and in keeping with the appeal of its characters to the impressive cast of Ocean's Eleven, in which George Clooney and Brad Pitt manage to seduce the public of all kinds and sexual preference while they surround themselves with amazing actors.
In Ocean's Eleven the relationships between the members of the group are much more natural and their roles within the leader are more defined –the pickpocket, the actor, the technician, the explosives expert...–, something that favours the development of the plot and the cohesion of a story edited in a somewhat chaotic but highly effective way.
Although where we can find a real gap between the two films, it's in their villains. In one, Ocean's Eleven, we have Andy Garcia, who generates an instant animosity towards his cold and calculating Terry Benedict and, on the other, we find Richard Armitage in the skin of a poor idiot, cowardly and cowardly with the same charisma as brain, Claude Becker.
It is in its direct confrontation against the magnificent Ocean's Eleven where the new release of the franchise shows its shortcomings and weaknesses, making it clear that its apparent charm and its visual, tonal and stylistic power are nothing more than a decaffeinated imitation of the work of a author made by a solvent narrator whose expertise behind the scenes fails to mask his absence of a personal seal.
Although reading this it may seem that Ocean's 8 is a real nonsense, I must say that nothing is further from reality. Gary Ross' film Oceans's 8 works like a charm summer entertainment for fast consumption, with a remarkable female cast, a capacity to enjoy unpayable and a waste of style rarely visible in a film.