There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
After an ex-boyfriend ratted her out to the police, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) was sent to prison. She has had plenty of time to plan her revenge, and that revenge has come in the form of a big-scale heist. She plans to rob the Met Gala, but more specifically, she plans to rob the neck of a high-profile celebrity (Anne Hathaway) who will be attending the Met Gala. This will be a big heist that will require many moving parts to come together perfectly.
Debbie Ocean is good, but this job is too big to do alone, so she needs a team. To start, Debbie tracks down her old friend Lou (Cate Blanchett). Together, they get a skilled pick-pocket (Awkwafina), a jewel expert (Mindy Kaling), a hacker (Rihanna), a high-profile fashion icon (Helena Bonham Carter), and Debbie's former partner in crime (Sarah Paulson). Even with all of these skilled women, the job will not be easy, but together as Ocean's 8, they just might have a chance of pulling it off.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
Debbie Ocean (+4pts)
The Heist (-8pts)
The Necklace (+4pts)
Daphne Kluger (-4pts)
The Investigation (+3pts)
Pro: Debbie Ocean (+4pts)
Sandra Bullock played a very prepared and determined woman. She was on a revenge mission and she wanted to make a ton of money in the process. I liked this element of the character a lot. She was desperate on her mission for revenge, and she was willing to risk her freedom in order to get there, but she was very smart so had seemingly thought of everything.
What made this character even better was the depth that was added in regard to her brother. I liked the subtly of her being skeptical of his death, and I liked the sense that she felt like she had something to prove. The movie subtly implied that this heist—in addition to revenge and making a buck—was her way of honoring Danny Ocean. I expected this movie would have a cheap, lazy tie-in to the previous movies, but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth that this tie-in added to Debbie.
Con: The Heist (-8pts)
This should have been one of the movie’s greatest strengths, but it was actually the greatest weakness. This was a heist movie, so the heist should have been interesting. For this movie, the heist made this a very slow-paced and uneventful movie. Most of the movie consisted of the characters sitting around and talking. Nothing really happened for long stretches of the movie's run-time, and I think most audiences will tire of it quickly.
Then the time for planning was over and the characters were ready to attempt the heist. As a result of audiences being bored by the setup, they will not be very invested in the heist itself. I will not lie, the heist was moderately entertaining, but it should have been a lot more engaging and suspenseful, and it simply was not. This was made worse by the fact that there ended up being a whole, elaborate, extra part of the heist that the audience did not find out about until after it happened. Instead of pulling the audience in for the setup, and delivering a satisfying finish, this movie bored the audience and delivered a mediocre climax at best.
Pro: The Necklace (+4pts)
While I was not a fan of the execution of the heist by the filmmakers, I enjoyed the idea of the necklace. This necklace posed a few challenges for our protagonists. First and foremost, they had to steal it off of someone's neck, rather than just steal it from a vault or secure location. Additionally, the necklace was valued at millions of dollars, which resulted in Daphne Kluger—the celebrity wearing the necklace—having armed security at all times during the Met Gala.
During the days leading up to the event, and during the heist itself, this necklace required a team of people in order to steal it. There were some surprise challenges that came up and it was interesting to see the protagonists handle these challenges. One of the challenges played out in a very lazy way that took a lot of the suspense out of the rest of the heist. It was a challenge that Debbie solved without telling the rest of the crew, but I will get into that when I discuss Daphne Kluger. While this challenge was handled in a pretty ridiculous way, and the filmmakers made a boring heist movie, the necklace itself had plenty of potentials—the filmmakers just handled it poorly.
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Con: Daphne Kluger (-4pts)
Now back to my problem with Daphne Kluger. To be clear, my issue was not with the character or the actress playing her. My issue was with the resolution of one of the heist’s challenges, which was related to Daphne Kluger. There was a challenge that the team needed to overcome in this heist. Debbie Ocean resolved that issue, but she did not tell the rest of her team.
I have a couple of problems with this. The first was with the fact that, by not telling the rest of the team about her solution to this problem, Debbie Ocean gave her entire team an extremely unnecessary amount of extra stress. My next problem with this resolution was that it eliminated the need for two of the team members. I will not mention which team members I am referring to, as that may give away the resolution, but know that there were two team members whose roles were made completely irrelevant by the solution that Debbie kept secret. It did not seem like much of an issue when it was revealed, but the more you think about Debbie's solution to this problem, the larger this plot hole becomes.
Pro: The Investigation (+3pts)
After the heist, we saw an investigation by a character played by James Corden. This character was trying to determine exactly what happened and who was involved. I like James Corden and I enjoyed seeing him in this role; seeing a post-heist investigation was definitely something that interested me. In too many heist films, we see the characters pull off a heist and ride off into the sunset with their prize—usually money—but with every heist, there would be an investigation, an investigation that would be of serious concern to the protagonists. However, we rarely see that investigation.
I liked that this movie emphasized that the heist itself was only half the battle. If you pull off a heist, you still would have to survive whatever authorities would be looking for answers. The potential was there for this movie to have a really intense finale. Seeing James Corden looking into each member of the team—and maybe even breaking some—could have made for a very suspenseful and compelling movie. Unfortunately, the filmmakers resolved the investigation in a similar manner to how they resolved the Daphne Kluger challenge. It was a bit of a disappointment, but the potential of what could have happened was interesting enough. I just wish the filmmakers capitalized on this aspect of the story.
Con: Eight? (-3pts)
Of all the characters in this movie, I thought Lou (Cate Blanchett) and Tammy (Sarah Paulson) were the most useless. Now, maybe the writers had some purpose for these characters that was not shown on screen, but as an audience member, it felt like this movie easily could have been named Ocean’s 6. Add this to Debbie’s solution of the Daphne Kluger problem, and we could eliminate two more characters, giving us Ocean’s 4.
When I really thought about it, this job only required four people, and that includes Debbie. This was my impression, and the filmmakers did a poor job of convincing me otherwise. In a movie like this, the audience needs to feel that each member of the team is essential and serves some purpose, but the filmmakers failed to do this. They tried to cram in characters in order to get the desired number of team members—eight—instead of deciding how many team members would actually be needed to complete the job and working from there. By doing this they added a few characters that did not feel important, and it made the heist feel less important as well.
Grade: C- (71pts)
Ocean’s 8 fell far short of expectations. It had a packed, talented cast and it was the fourth installment of a hit franchise, but it failed at delivering anything memorable. A couple of the better things about this movie were the concept of stealing a valuable necklace off of a moving target, and the investigation that came after the heist. Unfortunately, I thought the filmmakers dropped the ball with both of these things.
The movie was boring as it led up to the heist, and it was anti-climactic during it. Debbie Ocean was an interesting character that Sandra Bullock brought to life well, but the rest of the characters were either underdeveloped or unnecessary. At the end of the day, this movie could have worked. It had potential and it had the benefit of being a return to a hit franchise, but the filmmakers resorted to lazy writing and they delivered a movie that I thought was barely watchable.
Jon on May 16, 2019:
Daphne Kluger was the best character played by the best actress Anne Hathaway