Twelve Minutes too Long

The mistake with Ocean’s Twelve – or rather “mistakes” since it commits a litany of them – is assuming complexity is intelligence. Instead, complexity becomes nonsense.

Ocean’s Eleven thrived because of the star’s visible personalities. In Ocean’s Twelve, between the bizarre camerawork and knowing the entire thing is likely a dupe from the beginning, it’s harder to lock down characters who spread thin across Europe. They work as a group. Ocean’s Twelve sends them in a dozen different directions.

Ocean’s Twelve becomes so implausible, it’s a parody of itself

In order to pull off the heist, the crew needs tech that’s still implausible 20 years later. Then, somewhat infamously, Julia Roberts has to play Julia Roberts in a bit that has comic potential, but it’s railroaded by a need to keep stuffing Ocean’s Twelve with more cameos. The charisma, the charm – it’s zero’d out.

These films exist in a perpetual state of glamour, hence the good-looking, well-dressed Hollywood stars, which is part of the joke on its own. This sequel makes them all corrupt celebrities rather than clever thieves, with people looking for them in every location. This attempt at tension and drama diminish the series’ allure, which is the unseen swiping goods from high society.

It’s not that Ocean’s Eleven was plausible so much as Ocean’s Twelve becomes so implausible, it’s a parody of itself. The respect isn’t leaping from the characters, but the scriptwriters determined to make sure the audience never figures out the ruse. In that, they succeeded, if only because it’s difficult to understand what the writers were crafting in the first place, except for the initial act, which is an admittedly clever way to bring the crew back.

The greatest whiff though is losing the charisma and charm with the character’s interplay. It happens in spurts, but much of the time, Bernie Mac is stuck in prison, Shaobo Qin comes and goes, while Pitt and Clooney go their separate ways with separate women. In the few meetings where they sit together, they have conversations that make no sense to have if they know their scheme. It’s purely for the audience, who becomes a member of the crew without a direct line to the inside.

Video

A blindingly bright HDR pass makes an immediate impression. It’s intense, almost too much so, but no less an impressive showcase for the tech. While black levels crush (significantly), the contrast doesn’t clip.

With a minuscule grain structure, the encode doesn’t struggle. However, the mastering does. Warner adds suspicious processing, causing grain to stick and move unnaturally. The first readily apparent moment happens around 7:50; watch the grain around Julia Roberts’ face. That’s hardly the only instance, just the first. The heavier grain becomes, the more notable the problem. Ocean’s Twelve carries a soft veneer, lacking precision sharpness and offering eroded texture.

Warmed color gives the European locales a richness, albeit with a push toward bronze. Flesh tones carry that glaze with them regardless of the scene.

Audio

An unremarkable Dolby Atmos track doesn’t sound all that different from the 5.1 mixes. Environments lack spacing or even basic ambiance. The lone exception is an airport, where planes follow through the soundstage. There’s little range in the score or even overall. Listless.

Extras

A 25-minute making-of opens things, followed by an HBO EPK. Deleted scenes and a commentary from director Steven Soderbergh and George Nolfi finish this up.

Ocean's Twelve
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Ocean’s Twelve stretches plausibility past its breaking point while lacking the charm of the first.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 47 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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