Ocean’s Eleven (Steelbook, Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

Less than 24 hours into his parole, charismatic thief Danny Ocean is already rolling out his next plan. He and ten others orchestrate the most sophisticated, elaborate casino heist in history.

May 1, 2024 10 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

“You’re a liar and a thief.”
“I only lied about being a thief.”

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Matt Damon…never heard of ’em. Only kidding. Director Stephen Soderbergh assembled one of the best “A” list casts for his remake of the Frank Sinatra “classic” Ocean’s 11. Soderbergh has worked previously with Roberts (on Erin Brockovich), Clooney and Cheadle (on Out of Sight) just to name a few, but when you have this much star power attached, many of the others did it just for the experience; and many of the stars took a drastic pay “cut” just to be in the movie (which was still budgeted at $90 million and more than made that back in profits). So you have an ultra-hip cast (not quite as hip as the original, mind you), a director who could do no wrong (including a win for Best Director for Traffic , and a remake of a heist movie. Are you in or are you out?

Danny Ocean (George Clooney) has just been released from prison. Upon his departure, he plans to knock over three Vegas casinos all owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Benedict isn’t thought of too highly in Las Vegas as he tears down landmarks and he just so happens to be dating Ocean’s ex…Tess (Julia Roberts). Danny figures that by robbing his casinos he can settle two scores: protect Tess from getting hurt all the while preserving some of the city’s integrity. He believes that he might have a shot of getting her back, though the odds of that happening are about as likely as him hitting the jackpot. Aiding him in his plan are, you guessed it, ten others. There’s Rusty (Brad Pitt), a former card player who’s now teaching teen beat actors how to play. Linus (Matt Damon), a pickpocket. Basher (Don Cheadle), an explosives expert, Reuben (Elliot Gould), a Vegas bigwig with an ax to grind against Benedict along with siblings Virgil and Turk Malloy (Casey Afflect and Scott Caan respectively). There’s also a dealer, Frank (Bernie Mac), a retired gambler (Carl Reiner) as well as the I.T. guy (Eddie Jemison) and finally Yen (Shaobo Qin), an acrobat who’s the lynchpin for the entire gig.

I have to admit that most of this movie is about the planning and preparation for the actual robbery. But again, that’s where the fun is. I won’t tell how it all happens or ends up, but let’s just say that everyone has their own job and if they don’t pull it off, the whole thing will go bust and they’ll all end up in jail. While the side story of Daniel and Tess (he’s trying to win her back) tends to take away from the action, it’s so exciting to see movies like this. There are several reasons why to see this movie, for one the cast. It’s a work of art to see all of these huge stars making a movie and it looks like they all had a blast doing it. The story, it’s intriguing and fun to watch. Heck, it makes me want to knock over a casino right now! The execution, a result of the director and the cast. This has always been one of my most enjoyable movie-watching experiences.

Video: How does it look?

Well it’s about time. I’ve held onto my Blu-ray collection of this for ages and with 4K catalog films becoming more of the norm (if we sell it to them once, we can sell it to them again) it was only a matter of time before we saw this trilogy in 4K. The wait is over. Soderbergh uses a variety of film stock in his movies and though Ocean’s Eleven mainly plays it straight, there are a few “artsy” scenes. By and large, the new 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image is simply stunning. Some of Warner’s other 4K catalog titles (The Departed, The Fugitive) show that the studio has a knack for putting out top notch content. Be it the sweeping visuals of Sin City or the Italian suits that Clooney’s character seems to wear in every scene, it all looks great. Detail has been improved as well as the grain removed. Colors are much brighter and bolder as well. I’d forgotten how colorful of a movie this was. Suffice it to say that if you’ve been clamoring for this movie in 4K – it was worth the wait.

Audio: How does it sound?

Though Soderbergh’s movies are more known for their content and not their sound, Ocean’s Eleven does contain a fairly decent DTS HD Master Audio track. I’m sure a lot of fans were hoping for an Atmos track, but alas – it wasn’t meant to be. That said, a lot of the LFE sounds are very prominent throughout and as much action is devoted to the music and scenery, this really is a dialogue-driven movie. The surround effects are used rarely, but when they are in action you can tell they are. So while this may not be as in your face as some of the soundtracks out there, this one gets the job done but without a lot of the frills. The action takes place on the front three speakers for the most part and dialogue is crystal clear. All in all, it’s not reference-quality, but it shouldn’t disappoint either.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Perhaps the only down side is that not all of the supplements made the leap to this 4K disc. There are enough to keep the viewer entertained, of course, but if you want the entire intact batch of supplements – hold onto your Blu-ray’s.

  • Audio Commentary – Director Soderbergh and Ted Griffin (screenwriter) start us off and both obviously have a lot of knowledge about the film. As with most of his tracks, Soderbergh is very entertaining and talks almost all the way through; and another great thing about him is that he has done a commentary track for nearly every movie that he’s directed. Thank you!
  • Audio Commentary – Casual viewers of the film might switch to the second track featuring Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Naturally these three aren’t that adept at doing these tracks (I think Pitt has the most under his belt with three), but it’s nice to see (hear, rather) these huge stars commenting on the movie and have just as good of a time doing it as they did in the movie.
  • Are You In or Out?: The Making of Ocean’s Eleven – From the 2013 Blu-ray set, this features some new interviews as well as some vintage clips from 2001. Director Steven Soderbergh, producer Jerry Weintraub, as well as crew members and most of the cast contribute their thoughts.
  • Pros and Cons: Inside Ocean’s Outfit – Essentially a short bio on the stars that comprise the film.
  • The Style of Steal – As if you needed a reason, this explains the allure and long-lasting appeal of the three Ocean’s films.
  • The Look of the Con – This one concentrates on the different outfits and “costumes” of the different members of the cast. From Brad Pitt’s sleek and snazzy look to George Clooney’s more earthy tones, this really shows how much the clothes they wear can influence their character (and no, none of us would look as good as they do in the same clothes)
  • Original Ocean’s, Original Cool – If you’re feeling nostalgic, this is a look back at the original film with Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

The Bottom Line

This is one of those movies that I could watch back to back to back. And every time I see it on TV, I know that I’m instantly hooked. I remember seeing it in theaters in 2001. It’s timeless and always satisfies. Warner’s new 4K offering gives us an improved picture, a decent soundtrack as well as s smattering of extras (but not all of them). Any way you look at it – this one comes up aces.

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