I actually do like a lot of rebooted/remakes, such as Dawn of the Dead, Halloween or Star Trek. But, of course, for every three that are good, a dozen or more are mediocre at best. That's not the case here.
Granted, I have not seen, nor really desire to see the original Ocean's Eleven, after what I read and researched about it. I'll just take this movie at face value.
More than just a remake, this movie ranks HIGH on my all-time favorites list. I have probably seen it twice the number in the title and plan on more visits to one of the most creative, funny and just plain entertaining movies I have ever seen. It helps that I am a George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon fan and I can enjoy Brad Pitt and Andy Garcia from time to time. But, put all of those, plus a lot more, together and you have probably the highest level of chemistry between any casts in any movie.
Ocean (Clooney) is released on probation from jail and first things first: he starts high-rolling his latest heist scheme by rounding up the usual suspects through his buddy, Rusty (Pitt.) Their diabolical plan is to rob three Las Vegas casinos in a single night, all from the same vault under the Bellagio. To do so, they need (almost) a dozen men and everything to go as planned.
That's the basic premise, but there is so much more richness to this movie that causes oodles of repeat watching.
Number one: Even though the chemistry is pitch perfect across the board, even involving enemies, its Clooney and Pitt that make this jump three levels. Their banter and understanding of each other while finishing each other's thoughts and sentences hasn't been seen since the 1950s. Usually that involved Cary Grant and a various female lead. Here, sexuality aside, these two cats had it down. They added humor, pose and you rooted for them every step of the way, even though, in reality, they're the bad guys.
Number Two: The remaining cast was excellent. Each held their own, each had their own depth. Not two alike. Damon was great as the nervous and up'n'coming'thieving Linus, brothers Virgil and Turk were played hilariously by Caan and Affleck and Jemison played the computer nerd wonderfully. Those are just four. Mark my words: EVERY SINGLE actor in this film was perfect in their respective roles. I could go on another 1,000 words on each one and not do them the justice they did for themselves.
Number Three: It's pure fantasy. I consider myself somewhat a Vegas Expert – I've been following, studying and visiting Sin City since I was about 13-15. THIS COULD NEVER HAPPEN. Even if one aspect of their master robbery plan would partially work, it would be thwarted in seconds. And that's part of the fun. You know this is unrealistic, yet, we're so drawn into it, it's extremely enjoyable. That's due to (#4 below) the dialogue and character depth that acts as a (no coincidence) diversion to the improbability of what's happening on screen.
Number Four: The dialogue was original, deep, snappy and quotable from line one. Speaking of which, those first two words spoken, by both the probation officer and repeated by Daniel Ocean, "Good Morning" seriously became my tagline, no matter the time of day. I would walk into Santisi Brothers, my local pub and watering hole for going on ten years and tell my favorite waitresses "Good Morning." I did it so much, that I didn't catch myself sometimes and some newbie's would tell me it was evening. I always replied, "It's morning somewhere."
I mention that story because this movie had such an impact on me, it became part of my subconscious. Oh, and there's plenty more lines I absolutely love: "Whiskey. And whiskey." "I only lied about being a thief and I don't do that anymore. – Steal? – Lie." "All reds!" There's more than a hundred more. Admittedly, some still go over my head including ones about the caper lifestyle I'm not familiar with. Though I can't necessarily follow what an "Ella Fitzgerald" is, it just proves how brilliant this movie is. (And no, I refuse to Google it. I love my ignorance and the movie's intelligence.) It's nice to revisit a movie and either hear/catch things I haven't before or enjoy the dialogue I did.
Number Five: I get cranky when it comes to Vegas-Themed movies. They rarely get it right – Con Air and 21 being the most offensive and misappropriated views of the city. This movie got it right. And it was gorgeous. Though now a (only a tad) bit dated – it's 9 years old, after all, it still captures the essence of the beautiful strip, inside the casino and out. It doesn't just take the finale in front of the Bellagio water fountains to tell you: they knew Vegas.
Number Six: Simply intelligence. This script was perfect. Rarely will I encounter such a well written, well rounded script from minute one to the end where they introduce Julia Roberts. Everything worked here, from dialogue, to interactions, to tension, to comedy. In a word: masterpiece in writing.
If you have yet to experience Ocean's Eleven, you are missing out on a modern classic. Whether or not you like George Clooney or Bad Guys as heroes, you will love this. This worked in 2001 and will be timeless enough to be shown in 2050 and have the same impact. SEE IT!
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