MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In the classic Rat Pack flick, Frank Sinatra is Danny Ocean, who is planning the ultimate heist in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. With ten other partners in crime, Danny hatches an elaborate scheme to rob the casinos blind and roll out of town with the loot.
WHAT I LIKED
For fans of anyone in the Rat Pack, this film is a joy. While there were many Rat Pack movies made, this is probably the one that lives on the most. It has all the big stars, and it was a huge production for its day. Watching “Ocean’s 11” is like actually visiting Vegas now and watching a Rat Pack revival on stage… only these guys are the real thing.
And if you happen to be someone from the younger (or younger-ish) generation who grew up with the Brat Pack rather than its namesake, it’s still fun to watch. This works not just because it’s a classic film with plenty of spunk, but also because it’s a neat way to see where Steven Soderbergh’s remake and subsequent films came from.
Things are very different now, but it’s neat to see who was the George Clooney of the early 1960s and how much his influence ran. Like I said, this film has spunk, and that’s something you don’t seen all that often in movies nowadays.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I can get into films of almost any era, but the films of the 1960s just don’t click with me on the whole. “Ocean’s 11” isn’t as out-there to me as something like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or the original adaptation of “Casino Royale,” but it still revels in a day that is lost on me.
Plus, during this time (and up until the 1980s, frankly), movies really worked hard to jam an irrelevant musical number into the mix. With all the crooners in this film, it’s not unexpected to find some songs. And while Sammy Davis Jr.’s rendition of “EO11” is a neat little ditty, it sort of sits there like a lump in the film.
Finally, anyone who has been to Vegas recently will immediately recognize this film as being part of the old Vegas heyday. This was when Vegas was jazzy, but not too loud. It was still a vacation stop, but it was lower key. To some, this may look cheap, but it’s a realistic representation of the town in its Rat Pack glory days.
The Blu-ray looks decent, though it suffers from the same thing many films of its era does… and that’s the fact that we end up with high definition grain in 1080p. That’s really a result of when it was shot and the film stock used. But it looks good on the big screen, at least.
Features include commentary by Frank Sinatra Jr. and Angie Dickinson as well as an interactive map detailing “Las Vegas Then and Now.” There’s some nostalgia spots on the casinos of the old days, the theatrical trailer and a clip from “The Tonight Show” in which Frank Sinatra guest hosts and chats with Angie Dickinson about how the flick ended.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Rat pack fans and those who want to see where “Oceans Eleven,” “Oceans Twelve” and “Oceans Thirteen” came from.