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

Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff.

May 3, 2024 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Any movie with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon on board is sure to be a hit or at the very least, cost a lot to make. Granted, this trio has starred in the two previous Ocean’s movies and in no small part these three have made the ensemble cast look a bit paltry by comparison. That’s not to say that the likes of Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle and Andy Garcia didn’t make the first two movies work – but if you had to pick a few members of the cast that really stood out above the rest, I think we all know who they’d be. Ocean’s Eleven started out as a remake of a campy Rat Pack movie of the same name and though it was forty years later, the movie was a commercial and critical success. The movie is now a trilogy, somewhat of a gold star in Hollywood (pardon the pun) and is still as popular as ever. As the numbers go up, so do the number of stars and this go around we get Al Pacino and the ever-so-sultry Ellen Barkin (and we lost Julia Roberts)! How does Ocean’s Thirteen stack up against its predecessors?

Rusty (Brad Pitt), Daniel (George Clooney) and the gang are all back up to their old tricks. A new casino is set to open and owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino) has pulled the rug from under Reuben (Elliott Gould) in a casino deal gone wrong. Willy represents all that’s wrong with Las Vegas, putting up lavish casinos solely to win the coveted “5 Diamond” seal of approval. By crossing one of the original eleven (Reuben), this prompts Daniel and the gang to seek some revenge. Naturally they need financing and the group faces a series of nearly impossible tasks to make sure that the casino will fail and take down Willy in the process. This time around, there’s an artificial intelligence machine that can monitor every gambler in the hotel, new security and about a dozen other things that make this task impossible to pull off. But this is Ocean’s Thirteen and we know it must and can be done.

I have to admit that I love all of the Ocean’s… movies, though the first was surely the best. I thought the second one was a bit over the top and by this installment, the film is almost a parody of itself – but it’s a fun parody of itself. There’s something about heist movies that has always intrigues me and short of turning to a life of crime myself, I’ll have to live vicariously though the characters in these movies. Once again, Steven Soderbergh is behind the camera and he and longtime pal, George Clooney, are clearly calling the shots here. The cast has amazing chemistry and works well together (a tip of the hat to the film’s international success, no doubt) and as I mention again, the loss of Julia Roberts from the cast was the ace in the hole. If you enjoyed the first two Ocean’s movies then this one delivers more of the same, though it’s up in the air as if there’ll be an Ocean’s Fourteen.

Video: How does it look?

This installment finds the gang back in the desert of Las Vegas. The glitz and glamour looks about as good as it can short of being there. Colors are warm, very bright and vivid and Soderbergh uses a nice color palette to really reflect the mood here. Flesh tones seemed warm and natural and short of some minor softness in a few key scenes, I really couldn’t find much wrong with this transfer. The new 4K image offers up what we’d expect and it’s a nice upgrade from the Blu-ray that I’ve seen oh so many times.

Audio: How does it sound?

A DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is included and sounds deent. Granted, there isn’t a whole lot going on during the middle of the movie, but the jazzy, hip soundtrack sounds pretty good while emanating from the surround channels. Dialogue is reproduced very naturally and sounds true to life and though the majority of the action takes place in the front stage, the end of the film has some unexpected surprises which sounded decidedly good in surround sound. In short, Ocean’s Thirteen isn’t something that you’ll use to demo your system with, but you won’t be disappointed either.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – Director Steven Soderbergh and writers Brian Koppelman & David Levin combine for a pretty lively commentary. The usual topics are covered, returning to Vegas, the cast and so forth. It’s a good listen if you’ve never had the chance.
  • Third’s a Charm: The Making of Ocean’s Thirteen – As we might expect, this is the obligatory “Making of…” featurette which covers all the bases. The growing cast, the “loss” of the two leading ladies and more.
  • Ahab with a Piggyback: The Means & Machines of Ocean’s – If the technology involved in these movies (and doing the heists) is something of interest well look no further. This one’s got you covered.
  • Jerry Weintraub Walk and Talk – The esteemed producer (and sometimes actor) gives us the lowdown on the film and the franchise.
  • Masters of the Heist – If “real world” heists are your thing, then this 45 minute segment is bound to satisfy. Four of the most infamous (or famous, depending on your perspective) are covered.
  • Deleted Scenes – Four total, running around four and a half minutes.

The Bottom Line

It’s not quite as good as the original, but had this one been first it’d have still been great. For those that weren’t picking up the European vibe of the second, the gang (and more) are back in Sin City for another go round. Warner’s disc, of course, looks great. This is a perfect bookend to one of my favorite film franchises.

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