Monday, May 28, 2007

Ocean's Eleven (the new one, with George Clooney)

It seems weird that it took so long for George Clooney to become a movie star, doesn't it? Just look at him! I agree with the Fametracker take (the first one, I mean -- I don't disagree with the second one, but it's not what I'm talking about right now), which is that he was probably just kidding around when he was doing things like Return of the Killer Tomatoes. In the commentary for From Dusk Till Dawn, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino actually laugh about how ridiculous it was that Clooney wasn't a recognized Leading Man yet. So it was inevitable that he'd eventually have the clout to make a movie where he hangs out with his buddies in Las Vegas.

Unusually for these big-budget slickified remakes, I actually like this one better than the original. The idea behind the caper in the 1960 movie was that instead of using criminals, they'd use a bunch of army buddies, who were trained as a commando unit in World War II, on the theory that using career criminals is an inherently risky idea. The remake discards that on the theory that career criminals are more likely to plausibly know how to steal things. And I'm impressed that they decided to get rid of the rule that charming criminals in caper movies aren't supposed to get away with it.

There are a few references to the first movie, but nothing that really gets in the way. Like "one character makes houses of cards. And where the first movie had a black demolitions expert (Sammy Davis Jr.) cutting the power to Las Vegas by knocking down a tower. The second movie has a black demolitions expert (Don Cheadle, with an extremely fake British accent) cutting the power in Las Vegas with a massive electromagnetic pulse. You can tell your plan has gotten out of hand when one of the steps is "Next, we steal a nuclear bomb".

At first, I thought they had even less justification for the heist, like maybe Clooney's character was just bored. Unfortunately, it turns out to be an elaborate plan to get his ex-wife back. Well, and the 160 million bucks.

No comments: