Ocean's 13Ocean’s Thirteen on Blu-ray disc

by Johnny Bray

After simultaneously robbing three casinos, and then having Julia Roberts literally (instead of metaphorically) playing herself, it must have been hard to come up with a bigger, zanier story for the second sequel.

Nevertheless, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and company are back to pull off another heist, this time to avenge the near-death of their friend Reuben (Elliot Gould).

Betrayed and left for dead by Willy Bank (Al Pacino), Reuben’s only chance of survival is having “something to live for.” Naturally, the Ocean team sets out to undo the evil-doer.

The plan is to rig every game in the casino, thereby making it everyone but Willy’s lucky night. Furthermore, for the price of his financial backing, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) has decreed that the crew must also steal Willy’s prized possessions: his multiple “best casino in the universe” diamond necklaces.

It’s sure to be Ocean’s most difficult and personal caper to date.

Okay, so if we’ve seen the first two, we pretty much know they’re going to pull it all off. The question is how they do it, and that’s what we want to see. We want to watch them put on funny wigs and fake noses and schmoozing ‘til the cows come home. And this alleged final entry to the series has it all in spades. The entire Ocean crew is back, including Rusty (Brad Pitt), Linus (Matt Damon), Livingston (Eddie Jemison), Basher (Don Cheadle), Frank (Bernie Mac), the Amazing Yen (Shaobo Qin), Saul (Carl Reiner) and the Mormon Twins (Scott Caan & Casey Affleck). They each return to do what they respectively do best.

The witty dialogue and subtly stylized direction also return, and throw in a story that doesn’t include Julia Roberts and you have a film that’s miles better than Ocean’s Twelve.

It has its flaws, though. For example, anytime anything goes wrong for the crew, we can’t help but assume that either: a) it’s all a part of their plan and it’s not really a problem, or b) they’ve foreseen it might be a problem and have taken it into account, so it’s not really a problem. There’s also the fact that a few pieces of the story don’t really make any sense when you look at the project as a whole. Sadly, we can’t mention them without spoiling some of the “twists.” Just take our word for it.

Minor qualms aside, Ocean’s Thirteen is a fun piece of cinema that captures the mood of the original (the original remake, that is). The cast is always charming, and the story keeps you engaged. The first worthy sequel.

We’re really enjoying this whole Blu-ray thing. While they may be a bit pricey, even people who claim not to care about video quality can notice the difference. Comparing the Ocean’s Thirteen DVD to the Blu-ray version, we can tell you that the colors are richer, details are more defined, and you can even tell the difference between the kinds of material in the characters’ suits (all on the Blu-ray version, of course). It really does look as good as “they” say it does, so let’s hope they finish the HD war soon so people don’t have to worry about their selected format disappearing.

Audio is very good as well.

The most interesting extra is the 45-minute documentary “Masters of the Heist,” which recalls some real-life big-time heists. There are four different sections, each one examining a different form of heist-ness. A 22-minute featurette takes us through the history of Las Vegas, focusing on the evolution of the city. Pretty nifty. You’ll also find a short set walkthrough, some deleted scenes, and an audio commentary exclusive to high definition.

Ocean’s Thirteen, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
122 minutes, 1080p 2.4:1 HD Resolution, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Al Pacino
Produced by Jerry Weintraub,
Written by Brian Koppelman & David Levien, Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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