Roll the Dice: OCEAN’s 8 Begins Production
Because Warner Brothers isn’t exactly making the best decisions right now, Ocean’s 8 – a spinoff/sequel to the George Clooney and Brad Pitt lead Ocean’s trilogy – officially began production on November 2nd. Eight women – Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina, lead by Sandra Bullock – plan and execute a heist in New York City, with Bullock portraying an ex-con and sister of Danny Ocean (guess it runs in the family). Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) directs from a script he co-wrote alongside Olivia Milch (Dude).
I’ve been bothered about this whole thing since word of it arose in October 2015. Not because it’s an all female cast – though I hope the filmmakers are bracing themselves for the same kind of backlash that plagued 2016’s Ghostbusters, even though the Ocean’s trilogy, while largely celebrated, isn’t as beloved or as iconic as the Ghostbusters IP – but because I really wanted to see an Ocean’s 14. This film may have ties to that original trilogy of capers, but a Danny Ocean cameo – a Clooney appearance has yet to be confirmed either way – won’t suffice. Danny, Rusty, Linus – I want to see those guys again. I don’t want to see their brand, ironically, stolen and given to a new batch of thieves in what seems to be a prequel (eight) to the Danny Ocean heist trilogy. All new male crew, all new female crew – I’d be complaining either way, because this is a new batch of characters and not the ones I wanted to see.
For whatever ways Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13 fell short, that’s an entertaining trio of films – and I feel a fourth would be welcomed with open arms by audiences, particularly as Clooney, Pitt, and Matt Damon aren’t in the same “top of the pile” status they were at a decade ago (Damon recently revived his Bourne franchise). Add some new blood into Danny Ocean’s crew – female or male, who cares – and continue on that way, preferably with Steven Soderbergh back at the helm. That obviously isn’t happening, but my problem with Ocean’s 8 is – like Ghostbusters – it’s a “not really” restart of a franchise that has the name, and the same kind of story, but doesn’t have the same kind of pieces that you enjoyed in the first place (like the characters audiences showed up three times to see).
It’s unfair to judge Ocean’s 8 so early on, particularly with nothing to go off of, but my bitching (premature or not) lies squarely in the fact that I’ve wanted an Ocean’s 14 so damn badly that this half measure is a frustration. Warner Brothers has set Ocean’s 8 for a Summer 2018 release.