April 28, 2024

Revisiting the OCEAN'S TRILOGY in 4K

2001-2007 / 364 min (3 movies)
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😺

Though it doesn't happen very often, I appreciate the effort to remake a film that wasn't all that great in the first place. The original Ocean's 11 was more notable for its cast than the story…a Rat Pack party shot in their adopted hometown, the cast putting the cigarettes down just long enough to commit a heist.

Not that the new version isn’t a similarly high-concept product built around an all-star cast. But at least George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julie Roberts, Elliot Gould et al aren’t simply playing extensions of themselves. These are pretty well conceived characters, while the motive, planning & execution of the elaborate casino heist is genuinely engaging (if a bit implausible). 

Slickly directed and aesthetically flashy, Ocean’s Eleven is one of those movies that was never destined rack-up a ton of awards or end up on anyone’s Top 10 list, but had enough universal appeal that box office success was all but guaranteed. Sure enough, two sequels and a spin-off followed in subsequent years, all driven by the fun the cast seems to be having (which is admittedly infectious).

Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen are now available in 4K UHD, either as individual SteelBooks or this three-disc set. While not as creatively packaged as the SteelBooks, it’s certainly a lot easier on the wallet if you’re seeking to add or upgrade all three in your collection. Not having seen them on Blu-ray, I can’t state whether or not the upgrade is significant, but the transfers are really good. The overall video image is sharp and clean, with excellent contrasts and vivid color (particularly noticeable in the first & third films, which make use of glitzy Vegas locations). Each film also features an excellent DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track.

"You heard me...go fish."
As for the movies themselves, Ocean’s Eleven remains the best of the trilogy. In addition to the fun of being introduced to the team, this one is more fluidly paced and boasts the most interesting plot, which has recently paroled Danny Ocean (George Clooney) immediately going to work planning the massive robbery of three casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who not-only forced one of Ocean’s buddies out of the business, his girlfriend, Tess (Julia Roberts), is Danny’s ex-wife.

Ocean’s Twelve is the longest and most meandering of the series, taking its sweet time even getting to the primary conflict, that of an international master thief known as the Night Wolf challenging Ocean’s team to steal a priceless Faberge egg from a museum. And even then, the plot is overly complex, somewhat hampered by juggling too many new characters (and a few pointless cameos). Still, the congenial performances save this one. 

The most outlandish - and cartoonish - of the three is Ocean’s Thirteen, which returns the team to Vegas to bring down ruthless casino tycoon Willy Bank (Al Pacino). This one tests the limits of plausibility, with a few plot turns that are almost embarrassingly silly. But overall, it’s a lot of fun, certainly more enjoyable than the previous film and a nice send-off for these characters. 

None of the films are classics, but all three are an improvement over the original that inspired them. But other than technical upgrades, the Ocean’s Trilogy 4K set offers nothing else new (unless you count the digital copies). All the bonus features are carried over from previous Blu-ray/DVD releases. Still, this is a good collection for fans who want the best possible picture and sound.




FEATURETTES - Are You In or Out? The Making of Ocean’s Eleven; Pros & Cons - Inside Ocean’s Outfit; The Style of Steal; The Look of the Cons; Original Ocean’s, Original Cast.

2 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - 1) By director Steven Soderbergh & writer Ted Griffen; 2) By actors Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt & Matt Damon.


FEATURETTES - Ready, Jet Set, Go: The Making of Ocean’s Twelve; HBO First Look: Twelve is the New Eleven.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Steven Soderbergh & writer George Noifi.



FEATURETTES - Third’s a Charm: The Making of Ocean’s Thirteen; Ahab with a Piggyback: The Means & Machines of Ocean’s; Jerry Weintraub Walk & Talk; Master of the Heist.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Steven Soderbergh & writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman.


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