Imagine a hit movie that, to be honest, no one was expecting. That describes Ocean's Eleven. Now imagine a sequel, that takes everything that made the original such a hit, and throws it out the window. That describes Ocean's Twelve. In an effort to do more, Ocean's Twelve does less in a sequel that's shockingly inferior to the highly entertaining original.
Though Ocean's Twelve is extremely confusing, the basic plot can be summed up in one short sentence: The Ocean's Eleven crew has to somehow get 97 million dollars, and give it to Terry Benedict, the antagonist of the original and this horrendous sequel.
Gone is almost everything that made Ocean's Eleven such an entertaining film. Ocean's Eleven primary strength were the characters. And while the entire cast is back for the sequel, most of the cast gets surprisingly little screen time. We do see slightly more of Danny Ocean, and Rusty Ryan gets an extended role, as does Terry Benedict and Julia Roberts. Yet the rest of the cast, who are far more interesting, get very little screen time, and this is a major disappointment.
The pleasant simplicity of the plot from Ocean's Eleven is not present here. Ocean's Twelve is ridiculously confusing, and oddly tedious at times. Frankly, I'm still not quite sure I understand what happened in Ocean's Twelve.
To make matters worse, Ocean's Twelve tries to be more emotional this time around. For the most part, the original kept the emotion to a minimal, which was good because the romance felt clumsy and pointless. Instead of eliminating the romance, or diluting it, we get MORE of it.
Even the score (by David Holmes) has suffered dramatically. While the original film's score wasn't exactly superb, it at least worked for the film. Despite having the same composer for the sequel, the main theme from the original is completely ignored, as is the style of music. The score doesn't feel cohesive at all, even if only compared with itself. Also, the additional rock and electronic oriented pieces are extremely unpleasant.
Still, Ocean's Twelve has it's share of entertaining moments and humor. One of the best parts of the film involves Tess (played by Julia Roberts) pretending to be...Julia Roberts. I laughed quite a bit here, and while this was (arguably) the most entertaining part of the movie, it's also a reminder of what made the original so fun, and how inferior this sequel is.
The acting is solid, as was the case for the original. Clooney is sharp as ever as Danny Ocean, and Brad Pitt still performs as Rusty Ryan with skill. Still, newcomer Catherine Zeta-Jones fails to energize the generic and cliched Isabel Lahiri, and only serves as another reminder of how far Ocean's Twelve has slipped from the original.
While rare moments of inspiration are still present, this serves as little compensation for a confused plot, uncohesive score and clunky and tediously done romance. After such a commendable first film, it's shocking to see how awful Ocean's Twelve ends up.