Ocean’s Twelve

Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
Warner Home Video
Cast: George Clooney, BradPitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts,, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

Since I thoroughly enjoyed Steven Soderbergh’s remake of "Ocean’s Eleven" I was eager to see its sequel, "Ocean’s Twelve" as well. Immediately Soderbergh once again makes it clear that he is not working with standard formulas. The set up for the film is unique and wonderfully intriguing, making sure you’re in the movie right away.

After their successful casino heist in the first movie, in this sequel, the casino manager, Terry Benedict, (Andy Garcia) somehow finds out the identity of each of the thieves that made him $160 million lighter. He approaches each one of them to give them the chance to return the money within 10 days… or die. Of course by now, the eleven thieves have already spent most of the money and they need to pull another job to become a bit more liquid. But when they do the job, the artifact they were supposed to steal has already vanished… and with it their chance for the money they need. Of course, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his gand want to know who stole the artifact right in front of their noses… and thus ensues an engaging competition between these rivaling thieves.

The entire principal cast of "Ocean’s Eleven" has returned for this sequel and Catherine Zeta-Jones has further been added to the endlessly star-studded roster. Once again performances are marvelous and the story is making great twists and turns. I did find the film a bit slow at times, however, but still extremely entertaining and exciting.
All the cast members easily settle into their characters once again and always with a wink, the film never takes itself too seriously. Julia Robert’s part in the film is the perfect example for this. Because of her pregnancy, Roberts was not able to play a major part in the film but Soderbergh and his crew created a part for her instead that may be comparably small but steals the show single-handedly.

Warner Home Video is presenting "Ocean’s Twelve" in a wonderful <$PS,widescreen> presentation on this DVD in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TV sets and free of any blemishes or defects. Colors are rich and vibrant throughout. Soderbergh chose a very interesting visual style for this film once again, that often resembles video footage in terms of the way it’s reading image information with excessive contrast and light overexposure. It gives the film a unique look that is perfectly reproduced on this DVD, of course. Blacks are solid and deep, rendering shadows without ever losing detail or definition. No edge-enhancement is evident and the compression is equally without flaws.

The audio side of the release is very convincing, too. Coming as a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> surround track the mix makes aggressive and constant use of the split surround channels. Whether it’s for effect’s or ambient purposes, surrounds are constantly engaged to create an active and lively sound field that is wide and highly spatial. The frequency response of the track is wide with very good bass extension and clear, clean high ends. The dynamic range makes sure to reproduce even the most subtle changes in the sound field. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable without ever being drowned out.

The DVD doesn’t contain a lot of extras, which is a bit surprising as most new theatrical releases feature at least some promo featurettes. The only supplement that Warner has included on this release is the movie’s theatrical trailer. I would take this as an indication that a Special Edition of this release is at least in the planning stages at the studio.

"Ocean’s Twelve" is another wickedly fun ride, courtesy of Steven Soderbergh and his talented cast and crew. I personally liked "Ocean’s Eleven" a bit better, but I found this sequel’s premise incredibly enticing and the way it all plays out marvelously well-constructed. Check it out and see for yourself.