Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I like this cover art quite a bit. It is the entire gang at a crap’s table, looking straight up. Kind of a neat photo shot, and it is set up to also look like a playing card. Not bad at all, and it goes along with the return to Vegas that the movie is based on. The menus are a mix of circles and colors that remind me of the 1960’s, and they again work well with the film.
There are not a ton of extras here, but what is included is nice. There is a 22 minute short entitled Vegas: An Opulent Illusion that includes background on the film, and more importantly, the setting: Las Vegas. The short goes on to chronicle the city’s history, and the way that the big spenders are treated by the casinos. It is a good glimpse into the world that Ocean’s Thirteen is set in.
Also included is a short piece about the set-up of Bank’s Casino, which is where the heart of the film takes place. It is an interesting foray into the actual casino that was created for the movie. Finally there are several additional scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie. Not a bad group of scenes, but definitely not missed in this film.
The Movie: 8/10
Ocean’s Thirteen starts off where Ocean’s Eleven seemingly left off. We will, for the time being, briefly forget about the Ocean’s Twelve that took place in Europe, and was seemingly a virtual (and real) vacation for our merry group of thieves. Thirteen seems to have regained the focus of the group, and the acting, and action, is both relevant and tight. Al Pacino joins the group as Willy Bank, a savvy Vegas businessman who at the very beginning of the film screws over our very own Reuben Tishkoff, played by Eliot Gould. Tishkoff, who bankrolls the original Danny Ocean crew, suffers a heart attack, and the rest of the gang begins the monumental task of taking on Bank’s and his new casino, with their main focus: revenge.
At this point the movie kicks into high gear, and your are forced into a whirlwind of tricks that are all meant to take down Bank’s casino, so that Reuben can get back his money. George Clooney and Brad Pitt seem to half-act and half-laugh their way through these comfortable roles, as the movie twists and turns around the set-up that will eventually take down the big money casino. I often times wondered if they were laughing at how easy this movie was to make.
There were others that seemed to thrive more than Clooney and Pitt though when it came time to actually act, and one that really stood out for me was Matt Damon. While he reprised his role as Linus Caldwell, he was both funny and extremely awkward at the same time. I often thought he stole several scenes that he was in, even though he was surrounded by terrific actors.
As for the rest of the crew, it was more of the same. My only issue with Thirteen was that there was too much going on to really involve all of the actors. While we got to appreciate humorous, long shots of Clooney and Pitt watching Oprah, the rest of the cast struggled for screen time. I thought many of the original crew was short-changed, and could have been given more of a role.
Having said that, the movie itself was fun. It was great to see the Ocean’s crew do what they do best, which is defy all odds in order to get even. Pacino made it easy to hate the megalomaniac Willy Banks, and watching his demise was just one part of the fun of this film.
Audio & Video: 5/10
I viewed the standard DVD, and the transfer was decent. The audio again was good, but this isn’t the type of film that really tests your surround sound system. Having said that, I thought both were quite good.
This is a good fun film, and a nice addition to your collection regardless of whether you own the other two films in the series. There are not a ton of extras, but overall this is a great little movie for a decent price (around $15.00 or so.)
Overall Score 8/10