Friday, June 03, 2005

Please...don't make Thirteen

Don't get me wrong. I liked Ocean's Eleven. It was flashy, sure - lots of style and a cast to die for. But it also had some semblance of a plot, and the audience was always in on the joke. Here's a dozen movie stars, brought together for a bit of a giggle and to have a good time making a remake of a film that the audience can enjoy.

The same can't be said for Ocean's Twelve. This time we have the same plot, moved to Amsterdam, and with a slightly different reason (Andy Garcia's character wants his money back, else everyone dies) and all the original characters have to come up with a plan to make enough to stay alive. This time round though, none of the cast appear interested. Pitt and Clooney stand around looking smug whilst the rest of the cast dial in their performances and collect a pay cheque. Half of them don't even get to DO anything. Bernie Mac spends half the film in prison. Basher doesn't get to blow anything up. In fact none of the characters except for Vincent Cassel (looking remarkably like Frankie Dettori) appear to be interested - they just sit around and look pleased with themselves.

Instead of Eleven's slow reveals, we have a couple of twists coming out of left-field for no purpose other than to hide them to the end and shove them in the audience's face screaming "PLOT TWIST!!". Would that the reveals were actually any good. No, this time we get a couple of fake robberies and the ultimate twist - gasp - a switch on a train. Holding it all together is a back-slapping, self-congratulatory cringefest of a script where everyone appears to be in on the joke, except the audience. Even director Steven Soderbergh seems to be bored as he switches from angled shots to black and white frames, with locations flashing up in different typefaces - possibly in an attempt to stop the viewer from nodding off by inducing some sort of epileptic reaction. Most of the scenes end with close-ups of characters assuming either an annoyed/shocked pose, or a puzzled look. Indeed, there's so much mugging going on, I had to check my pocket to make sure my wallet hadn't been lifted.

This is a disjointed mess of a film where the enjoyment is clearly kept between the cast and crew at arm's length, and away from any viewer unfortunate enough to sit through the whole 120 minutes in the hope of a decent pay-off. As the end credits roll, you'll feel cheated. It's saying something when I borrow a DVD from a friend and then feel bad for them that they've spent money on it. If you liked the original film, you won't find anything worth watching in this.

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