“We Will Not Be The Prime Suspects…”
With Steven Soderbergh’s ice-cool Oceans Eleven back at the start of the twentieth a contemporary remake of the 1960 Rat Pack-led movie of the same name which managed to not only work exceptionally well to both critics and audiences alike, but managed to create a further two big-screen releases with its’ staggeringly star-studded cast, the release of Ocean’s 8 follows the blueprint of 2016’s Ghostbusters by being a franchise spin-off/remake which modifies the primary gender of the film’s preceding it from predominantly male to female. With the notion of gender-modification on-screen something of which I’m entirely supportive of, with the film industry still way behind in terms of equal pay and equal opportunities even in a post-Weinstein cinematic era, the real question remains whether the final product is good enough to warrant a continuation of the franchise in the first place, and with a stellar, starry cast, an abundance of flashy style and some interesting plot developments, Ocean’s 8 is an enjoyable caper-based romp, one which although sacrifices deep characterisation in favour of simply getting on with the job at hand, is a more than capable treading of old ground which harmlessly passes the time but still does not hit the gold standard of the original remake which still remains the best in the franchise thus far.
Directed by Gary Ross of The Hunger Games fame, Ocean’s 8 follows Sandra Bullock’s (Gravity) Debbie Ocean, the freshly released ex-con whose family tree burdens her with a pre-conception of her immediate return to crime as soon as she gets back on her feet in the outside world. Surprise, surprise therefore that with the help of a merry band of fellow criminals including Cate Blanchett’s (Thor: Ragnarok) leather jacket wearing Lou and Sarah Paulson’s (The Post) suburban housewife turned profiteer, Tammy, Ocean immediately plans to steal a staggeringly expensive necklace from Anne Hathaway’s (Interstellar) air-headed Daphne Kluger during the annual star-studded Met Gala. With a silly, plot-hole ridden screenplay, one which disregards any meaningful character backstory whatsoever and one which leans too heavily on a reliance that the audience will agree to leave their brain at the door, Ocean’s 8 is the cinematic equivalent of an episode of Hustle, a sometimes sharp, quip laden flash-a-thon which is bolstered by a fundamentally appealing cast who simply are there to get the job done and have fun whilst doing it, and whether or not you can bypass the sheer stupidity of the central heist is the real measure of how you may or may not enjoy the film, but for a harmless slice of popcorn entertainment, Ocean’s 8 is far from the worst entry in the franchise and passed the time rather solidly.
Overall Score: 6/10
And It Was All Yellow…
One of the many benefits of heading into my local cinema is to experience a wide range of movies which jump from one completely different genre to the next with my experience of watching Universal’s Minions being a prime example, with it undoubtedly unlocking the 7 year old child that is still inside of me and seemingly transforming all the bad energy in the world to a charming and quite bonkers 80 minutes. The fundamental existence of the minion character has always managed to make me crack a smile, regardless of how I felt at that certain time, meaning before even entering the cinema I was bound to at least like Pierre Coffin’s spin-off from the Despicable Me series, yet unfortunately for the cute little freaks, “like” seems to be the key word after watching Minions with it yes, being rather heartwarming and funny, but altogether not being pretty spectacular whatsoever.
After years of isolation from both the world and a evil leader to follow, Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob are tasked with leaving the confines of their cave in order to seek a new leader to follow in order to bring back the long-lost sense of purpose which has been taken from their race. During their journey, they are taken up by crime-lord Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock, Gravity), who tasks them with stealing the crown jewels in return for the race of Minions to serve once again. In terms of the plot of Minions, not only does it lack originality and freshness, but it is also completely bonkers and thriving with quite huge plot holes, but hey, it’s a kid’s film with bald, yellow alien things, what do you expect? Yet the fact that such plot holes were even picked up reinforces my sadness at how just un-engaging Minions actually was, with an over-reliance of the Minions either falling over or making a complete tit of themselves wearing off and becoming rather quite tedious after the first 15 minutes or so.
On the upside of Minions, in places, it was rather funny, with the scenes in a rather rib-tickling overly stereotyped 1960’s London being the highlight of the film, with every English character seemingly all having exactly the same traits including drinking tea, eating scones, and shouting “cor blimey,” of which I found rather enjoyable. Overall, if a film such as Minions can just about hold a 21 year old’s attention for its’ short 80 minute run-time, then I’m pretty sure the kids will love it. Charming and funny in places, but lacking in originality and engagement in most, Minions passes the time, but don’t expect it to be loved as much as you would like.