Ocean's Twelve  -
Like its predecessor Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve is a piffle of a caper, a preposterous plot given juice and vitality by a combination of movie star glamour and the exuberant filmmaking skill of director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, The Limey). The heist hijinks of the first film come to roost for a team of eleven thieves (including the glossy mugs of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, and Don Cheadle), who find themselves pursued not only by the guy they robbed (silky Andy Garcia), but also by a top-notch detective (plush Catherine Zeta-Jones) and a jealous master thief (well-oiled Vincent Cassel) who wants to prove that team leader Danny Ocean (dapper George Clooney) isn't the best in the field. As if all that star power weren't enough--and the eternally coltish Julia Roberts also returns as Ocean's wife--one movie star cameo raises the movie's combined wattage to absurd proportions. But all these handsome faces are matched by Soderbergh's visual flash, cunning editing, and excellent use of Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome, among other highly decorative locations. The whole affair should collapse under the weight of its own silliness, but somehow it doesn't--the movie's raffish spirit and offhand wit soar along, providing lightweight but undeniable entertainment. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com
Customer reviews (av rating: 2.0):
A REVIEW OF OCEAN'S 12 : After grossing nearly one-hundred and eighty-five million dollars domestically and well over four-hundred and fifty million dollars world-wide, Warner Brother executives were eager to jump on the bandwagon while the property was still hot and pump out a sequel as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. Steven Soderbergh insisted that the production budget be kept around the same as that of the original film - eight-five million dollars respectively - and asked all his actors, specifically George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts, to take significant pay cuts from their usual twenty-million dollar-per-picture salary. And with the WB studio in a tight market race, currently tied for second place with The Walt Disney Company, they need a hit more then ever, especially if they want to come close to recovering profits lost on the multi-million dollar disaster, Alexander. Perhaps the executives of the studio could learn a thing or two from these con-artists.
The story picks up some time after the original film ended and takes audiences across such glamorous European locations as Amsterdam, Paris and Rome in another crime-capping adventure. It has been three years since Danny Ocean and the rest of the gang of thieves and con artists broke into the 'impenetrable' vault of Terry Benedict's Las Vegas casino and ripped a cool one-hundred and sixty million dollars right under his nose. After splitting the money amongst the eleven members of the Ocean's team, each went their separate ways, with the exception for Danny and Tess of course, and attempted to lie low and live an easy going life with their newly acquired fortune. Unfortunately for them, a fellow con-artist with a grudge against the group breaks Rule Number One by ratting them out to Terry Benedict, thus causing the ruthless casino owner to pay a visit to each and every one of the team members demanding a return of his one-hundred and ninety-eight million dollars - that's the amount of money they stole plus interest over three years - within two weeks. Considering they are too hot to find suitable work in the United States after their last stunt, they travel to Europe to steal an antique item only to run into complications with their criminal rival, 'The Night Fox', who just happened to be the man who broke Rule Number One. On top of that, the gang has to deal with Isabel Lahiri, an intrepid female Europol agent with extensive links with Rusty Ryan, who is vividly determined to catch them in the act. When it comes to the story treatment for Ocean's Twelve, one must learn not to take these sorts of genres, specifically the caper-comedy, seriously. They are for mere entertainment purposes only and not to be destined, or taken as such, for Oscar-caliber quality or serious thought. On another note, the script is not as original as it may seem. In fact, it was originally designed as John Woo action-flick vehicle but when it came to developing the highly-anticipated sequel to Ocean's Eleven, Warner Brothers decided to rewrite the script to specifically fit with each of the characters of the series. Though some may feel cheated by this piece of trivia, this turns out ten times better then anything John Woo could have slapped together, so look on the bright side of things here.
The complication Ocean's Twelve faces, the exact same predicament the original feature ran into three years ago, is that with so many cast members, specifically ones with marquee names, increases the likelihood of each person receiving limited screen time which inevitably causes complaints of certain characters being underused. Quite surprisingly, the whole Brad Pitt/Catherine Zeta-Jones romance angle worked amazingly well and added yet another intriguing twist to the already complicated storyline. Unfortunately, what does not work out quite as well as it should have was the 'family' element to Catherine Zeta-Jones' Isabel Lahiri, if it can be properly described as such. There is hardly any mention of her family other then in limited moments of the film and the scene near the end where she reunites with her father seemed senselessly tacked onto the end without a second thought as to what it should have meant but was not. Perhaps it is due to all these separate story elements - the romance between Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones and the wager with 'The Night Fox' - that George Clooney's Danny Ocean seems quite left out of the picture compared to the last go-around where it was completely and entirely his film. Not that this was a significant problem but this is just yet another demonstration of the sometimes unequal shifting of story involvement amongst the numerous characters of the film series. Without giving too much information away, let us simply say that the way Tess is used in order to help the Ocean's gang pilfer a specific item from an Italian art museum was hilarious. Sure, it does wear a little thin as more time is spent on but, in the end, it works invariably. The only one that can truly be said as being underused in this picture is Andy Garcia reprising his role as the menacing Terry Benedict, the victim of Ocean's Eleven's casino heist from the first film. His appearance in the film, in the beginning and near the end, is really nothing more then a mere cameo, possibly to fulfill the contractual obligation he signed to appear in the sequel with the rest of the cast. This, on the other hand, can not be said of Matt Damon's Linus Caldwell who seems to have had a significant increase in the amount of screen time from the last film, playing a more central role in the story, specifically near the end.
Overall, Ocean's Twelve, in spite of its failure to surpass the magnificence of the original which essentially set the precedent for all modern crime capers to follow, does indeed match it based on pure entertainment value and would certainly be a feature Frank Sinatra and the rest of the crooning Rat Pack would be proud of. All in all, the film itself has very few problems to raise complaint about - A drawback that was apparent with Ocean's Eleven as well was that the first thirty minutes of the picture start off quite laboriously and nothing exactly interesting happens or no real action occurs. Granted, this is to set up the situation and the characters but considering this is a sequel and most audience members are aware of the original film, this should not have taken as long as it did. And was it absolutely necessary to bring back every single member of the original Ocean's Eleven cast for this film? Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, and Carl Reiner barely appear at all - you could count on both hands, possibly only one, the number of lines each one of them has in this feature - and should have been written out entirely based on what they contribute - nothing. Middling complaints aside, Steven Soderbergh's skillful editing, mixing and cinematography style works wonders, except for the occasional still-picture shots, near the beginning and the end of the film, but are not so off-putting as to be entirely noticeable or discomforting. Though not holding quite the level of prestige as some notable sequels that have managed to surpass the expectations set upon by the first film might have, the series still able to maintain its suave composure, intricate white, and stylized flare to make more then worthwhile viewing over the holiday season this year.
What a waste of a brilliant production and cast : Beautifully shot all over Europe and an all star cast but to someone expecting the clever plotting and near-wizardry of Ocean's Eleven it is a sad disappointment. The various heists are not shown but described (leaving many questions as to 'how they did it' unanswered) and - without giving away secrets - the most clever theft is thrown away at the end in an unsatisfactory and unconvincing flashback.
It looks as though the actors enjoyed it but perhaps rather more than the audience.
I actually liked it : Although O12 got alot of bad reviews I just take it for what it is: a fun, breezey follow-up to 'Ocean's Eleven'
If you watch this film not expecting it to blow you away you will not be dessapointed. Those people who dont like it probably don't take it at face value and I agree with some comments of it being self indulgent and pointless but so was the origional O11 with 'The Rat Pack'
This time the team have to pay Bennedict back the money they stole - with interest. They rob a series of things only to find that they have already been stolen by a new rival and the guy they think dobbed them to Benedict. So now the team have to compete after the same object to see who is the best thief and if Ocean wins they their rival will pay their debt to Benedict.
All in all a casual film that is good if you don't expect the world from it and just cruise along with it not too seriously. I hated it to start off with but with a few more viewings I have actually grown to enjoy it.
I reccomend it to all that love the Ocean's franchise and want to see a lighthearted, funny, slick follow-up to 'Ocean's Eleven'.
Waste of talent : Were all the actors on an "here I am" ego trip. I had enjoyed Ocean Eleven and had expected better. This was so fragmented that it did'nt make sense most of the time. So many things were implausable like the scene where he hs to get through the laser maze. Great actors in their own right but I think they were out just to have a fun time together not make an intereting movie for us to watch. Blame the director
This is lazy `sequel' that tends to do nothing but bring back a bunch of celebrities : "Ocean's Twelve" faces the same difficulties as any sequel. By this I don't mean those movies that are essential components to trilogies that continue the story; I mean those movies that basically take an established cast and throw them in a completely new storyline. The problem is trying to meet the expectations of an audience that loved the first and wants a new movie to love for all the same reasons. So many people were disappointed to learn that "Ocean's Twelve" was not yet another heist movie.
This film had to be a sequel. The plot takes advantage of the relationships the characters developed in the first film, and throws in many subtle jokes the average viewer may miss if they don't listen closely. Some of the phrases like "thief a la mode" used in the film may require a bit of culture to appreciate. While Ocean's teams do work together in the same fashion as the first film, the thievery itself doesn't take the spotlight in the film. "Ocean's Eleven" was the traditional heist film in its plot development with its climax at the point of executing the plan. Ocean's Twelve breaks away from this formula in favor of developing opportunities for some great character interaction.
The film disappoints with many characters taking a back seat in their roles to such an extent that the film could have been named after Pitt's character, with the Benedict aftermath merely serving as a catalyst for the characters finding their way back together. However, it would have been unreasonable for all eleven original characters to share an equal share of the spotlight and still turn out as well. The story is more about Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones than George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The rest of the cast perform very well and the guest-star appearances, including an unforgettable one by Bruce Willis, are hysterical. Half of the time I was unsure if the actors were even acting!! It appeared as if they were not even looking at the script, and instead talking amongst themselves like, "Hey, so how you've been?". "Oh, I `v been good, the kids at home are taking up a lot of my time, ya know". Come on now, really.
In the end, "Ocean's Twelve" is not a mere heist film but an Intelligent Comedy that may need to be watched more than once to appreciate some of the subtleties in the dialog. Just the amount of activity on this film's message board regarding some of the subtleties in the plot is a testament to the thought that went into making this film. Will "Ocean 13" rectify this, well I would have to go see it for myself.
Buy "Ocean's Twelve " now!