In my Most Anticipated Films of 2018 I had the heist film Oceans 8 at my 6th spot. I loved the trailers and felt the gender swap concept made the most sense for a heist film, as many women have all female friends. So, suffice it to say I went into this film with very high expectations, hoping I would love it. Now that I have seen it, it’s a decent film but didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
The biggest strength of Oceans 8 is the cast led by Sandra Bullock as the sister to the original film series lead Danny Ocean. She has just been let out of prison and is ready to implement a heist that she has been planning during her incarceration. She recruits Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina to make her plan work. These women have chemistry and do a good job working effortlessly together.
I also thought once Ocean’s 8 got going with the heist it became fun and enjoyable. The plan could have had a few more hitches the team would need to deal with but it was breezy and sold with class. The fashion and costumes are also top notch and really sell the whole Met Gala heist angle.
Unfortunately there are problems with Oceans 8. Mostly the set up for the heist did not interest me. They had so many scenes with characters huddled together looking at screens. This never works in movies and is a great way to guarantee I will be super bored. In the original Oceans 11 remake they did a better job setting up for the heist and building up the characters or at least explaining their character archetype within the group.
The other problem I had with Oceans 8 is I hated the score by the usually reliable Daniel Pemberton. It had a lot of organ music, which I felt was extremely strange for this hip modern movie and it was loud, overbearing and distracting. It didn’t fit at all with the film.
So, Oceans 8 ends up being a mixed review for me. There is entertainment to be had, especially once the heist gets going, and the cast is amazing. However, the setup is a bit of a slog and the score doesn’t work. I’d say it is an ok rental but I was hoping it would be better. Oh well.
I got to see the Minions movie tonight. I went into this movie actually pretty excited. I am not the biggest fan of the Despicable Me movies. I think they are just ok, but the thing I like about them most is the minions characters. They are really funny with their language and love of bananas. There is something adorable about them. They even like selfies on occasion…
And little kids love the minions. I’ve seen it with my 5 nieces. They crack up and get a huge smile on their faces whenever they see the minions. But it is always tricky when a sidekick gets their own movie (think Elektra…) especially sidekicks that don’t speak English. How was this going to work?
Then the first trailer came out and it looked really cute. It is actually the first 5 minutes or so of the movie in that first trailer and it is the best part of the movie IMO. We get the history of the minions starting with amoeba cells and then through all time periods looking for a master to serve. This takes us to 1968 and 3 of the minions decide to go out and look for their leader before they all perish from boredom. They are Bob, Kevin and Stuart which for some reason makes me laugh. It just seems like funny names for these minions.
They then travel great distances and there are some cute gags but nothing that wasn’t shown in a trailer and that made me laugh out loud. The best scene is probably when Stuart wants to eat Kevin and Bob because he thinks they are bananas but again that is in the trailer so you don’t need to pay the big bucks to see that. Eventually they make it to New York where we start to get material from the second trailer. This trailer had me nervous. It looked like a lot of adult ‘wink-wink’ humor which I really hate. Like do we really need to see Stuart in a thong and having a threesome joke? I certainly don’t.
But luckily there isn’t that much of those jokes so my fears were mostly ill founded. Besides, pretty much all the adult humor jokes are in the trailer including a scene where they are tortured which was strange and hung in a noose. Do we really need that in our kids comedy? These scenes were awkward instead of funny.
The minions eventually go to Villain-con which was a fun sequence and they meet Scarlet Overkill voiced by Sandra Bullock. Her character had potential but they didn’t do much with her. I think they needed a vocal performance with a little more sauce to it like someone Russian or with an exotic accent. Bullock ends up feeling flat as Scarlet but it isn’t really her fault because she doesn’t have much to do. Her boyfriend is voiced by John Hamm who is actually a little bit funnier than Scarlet.
The one thing I did like is Scarlet wants to be a princess and be treated like royalty. She already has the money so I thought that was kind of clever to have a female villain who still wants to be pretty and a princess. Usually the villain hates princesses. I also liked she wanted her hair cut like a drawing of her as a princess she did when she was a child. That made me laugh.
So she equips the trio of minions to steal the crown from Queen Elizabeth. The rest of the movie is then spent in England and at one point Bob becomes King of England which was funny.
I think small kids who already love the minions will enjoy this movie. It is definitely better than say a Home or Strange Magic. That said, I never really laughed like I did for Penguins of Madagascar last year which was very funny and had great vocal performances. It also makes me realize how clever Mr Peabody and Sherman was because that had a thin premise but the jokes were so good I laughed a lot. Both those movies are much better than Minions.
A friend of mine asked me if she should still see and I said yes. It’s fine but just know it is made for little kids without a ton of grown up appeal. But then it has those adult moments which are unfortunate. However, it does look nice and is bright and colorful and the beginning 20 minutes is a lot of fun. It’s when they get to England that things really fall apart.
In the end I left Minions thinking ‘that was cute but I didn’t laugh’, and I think many of you will feel the same way. I also might have laughed more if everything hadn’t been in the trailers. But like I said it’s cute, there are a couple jokes that work but there are sections where I got a little bit bored because I wasn’t laughing.
Kids will like it but probably forget about it rather quickly. If you have a $1 theater by you wait till then to take the kids. It’s worth a $1. $10 I don’t think so.
If you like 1960’s classic rock you will enjoy the soundtrack with songs from The Who, Beatles, Kinks and many other bands. They must have spent a fortune on all the songs so that is cool.
I will say the people in front of me were laughing hysterically so maybe I missed something? Or they were on something? Not sure…