It's rare that a movie leaves you feeling as good as you feel after watching
It follows the adventures of Danny Ocean and his ten helpers as they
rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. The team includes Mr. Ocean
himself (George Clooney), his best friend (Brad Pitt), the rookie (Matt
Damon), the veteran (Carl Reiner), the brothers (Casey Affleck and Scott
Caan), and a few select others who don't have the same star power.
Ocean's goal is to rob the casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia),
and win back his ex-wife (Julia Roberts).
The movie is not so much about will they do it, but about how they will
do it. It's smart, funny, witty, suave, and very entertaining.
When you look at the film for sheer entertainment value, there's nothing
at all wrong with the picture. Ted Griffin's script is so clever, it even
pokes fun at its own cliches. And you can't argue with a cast this great,
especially when they're having so much fun. I even have to admit that
Julia Roberts -- as much as I dislike her -- was perfect for her role.
Clooney carries the film like a true movie star, Pitt shows why he's one
of my favorite actors, Garcia was robbed of an Oscar nomination (editor's
note: well....), and Damon proves he's the more talented half of the Damon-Affleck
combo. The entire supporting cast is also excellent, particularly Don
I had my doubts about Steven Soderbergh directing the film. He directed
two films in 2000 that I hated (Traffic and Erin Brockovich), so I was
very worried. But he proves here that the dual Oscar nominations and major
recognition didn't prevent him from having a bit of fun. I think his work
on this film is nothing short of brilliant.
Although I thought Lord of the Rings was more deserving of the title
of "Best Movie of the Year," Ocean's Eleven has an advantage in that it's
the kind of film you can watch every day and not get sick of.
Ocean's Eleven wants nothing more than to entertain you, and it does
so without breaking a sweat. To me, it's the most enjoyable and re-watchable
flick to come out since Fight Club.
And now a word from the editor: Ocean's Eleven is a good film
and a lot of fun, but it pales in comparison to the original Rat
Pack outing, especially in its ending which (as Rat
Race did to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) was lame in comparison.
Warner's effort on the DVD is both commendable and disappointing. I'll
start off by mentioning the box. The art on the front cover doesn't do
the film any justice, and actually makes it look pretty bad. The original
theatrical poster would have been perfect. The description of the movie
on the back is also pretty sad, looking as if it was written by someone
who hasn't even seen the movie.
But now, on to the DVD itself.
The picture quality, presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, looks
a little bit old. However, whereas that would be a drawback for most DVD's,
it actually works very well for Ocean's Eleven. It's a bit grainy in several
parts, but I found it kept with the style of the film. I doubt it was
intentional (listen to Soderbergh's commentary and you'll see what I mean),
but I actually liked it.
The audio track, which is a 5.1 Dolby Digital one, is not as good as
I was hoping for. Of course the prize of the film is the dialogue, and
so more than the front channels are not really needed. But there is some
music and sound effects (and yes, some dialogue) that would have worked
really well through the rear speakers. But for what we get, it isn't bad.
Besides, even if it had been the worst audio transfer in history, it wouldn't
have made me love the film any less.
The extras on the disc start out with two audio commentaries. The first
is by director Steven Soderbergh and writer Ted Griffin, and it's a pretty
good track. The two enjoy the film and have a good sense of humor, and
it was interesting to hear what they had to say. The real treat, however,
is the second commentary by Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia. This
is the kind of commentary I love, where it's all about fun. The three
make fun of Clooney quite a bit (which is fine), and it's clear they had
a great time making the film and watching it. Many commentaries can get
too boring and too technical, so this was a nice treat.
Other extras include a 15 minute HBO First Look Special, a 10 minute
costume featurette, and three theatrical trailers.
I love this movie, and a better DVD would have been nice, but I'm happy
enough just to have it in the collection.
Ocean's Eleven, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
116 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt and Julia
Produced by Jerry Weintraub, Screenplay by Ted Griffin
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
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