TYLER WILSON: Filling in the ‘Ocean’s’ franchise

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This weekend’s “Ocean’s 8” finally gets the ladies in on some stylish and overly complicated heisting.

While the George Clooney-Brad Pitt-led trilogy of the 2000s featured A-listers like Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones in supporting roles (though both skipped part three), the crew of thieves focused almost exclusively on men.

The spinoff, “Ocean’s 8,” follows an-all female crew attempting to rob the famed Met Gala in New York City. Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Clooney’s Danny. She’s backed by the likes of Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter. Director Gary Ross takes over for Steven Soderbergh behind the camera.

“Ocean’s 8” is a smart recalculation of the franchise, and the lineup of Bullock, Blanchett and Hathaway probably exceeds the trifecta of Clooney, Pitt and Damon in terms of performance chops. It’s not like the “Ocean’s” trilogy is particularly sacred. “Ocean’s 11,” released in 2001, remains a thoroughly entertaining heist flick, but the sequels aren’t exactly revelatory. “Ocean’s 12” is a bizarre shrug of a movie that substitutes a traditional heist with a bunch of wink-wink, Hollywood tomfoolery. “Ocean’s 13,” from 2007, refocused on another casino heist and added Al Pacino as a blowhard villain. It’s not great, but it’s much better than “12.”

With “Ocean’s 8” existing within the same universe, a few cameos should probably be expected. Let’s assume the movie makes money and they go ahead with “Ocean’s 9” and “10” with Bullock and Blanchett as the focus. Maybe “10” even reintroduces Clooney in a supporting role.

Despite the number, it should be noted that “Ocean’s 8” takes place in the present day, after the events of “Ocean’s 11-13.” Still, in the spirit of modern Hollywood franchising, it would be great to see the next batch of “Ocean’s” movies screwing around with the timeline.

Consider this:

“Ocean’s 8-10” will be sequels to “Ocean’s 11-13,” but then the franchise should utilize at least a few of “Ocean’s 1-7” as prequels to the others.

The first movie would be “Ocean’s Origins,” about Danny and Debbie as sneaky little kids competing with each other on who can snatch the most pogs from their classmates. The timeline of Sandy and George as kids definitely doesn’t align with when pogs came out, but it’s not like the core audience of young millennials will even know anything about pogs anyway. Bullock and Clooney appear in bookending scenes and boom, you have a cheap franchise installment.

People are going to hate “Ocean’s Origins,” so the studio will need to hire the next young hot actors to play age-21ish versions of Debbie and Danny in “Ocean’s Deuce,” about the siblings’ exploits as card counters in Vegas. Audiences will really hate this one too, so the studio will make a Japan-set spinoff about completely new characters. It will cost the studio nothing and make only a little money, but a bunch of people will see it on home video and be surprised that it isn’t worse than part two.

“Ocean’s Cuatro” will then try to right the ship by doing a straight Bullock-Clooney heist picture, but with the two actors playing younger versions of themselves via CGI technology. Young-ified Cate Blanchett will be the villain that helps them in the third act. At the end of the credits, Samuel L. Jackson will appear and the team will get recruited into a Super Team of Posh Thieves.

“Cuatro” will make a ton of money, but people still won’t like the uncanny valley look of young-ified stars, so that’s when “Ocean’s 5-7” will go back to being sequels of 8-10 and 11-13, with a mish-mash of Matty Damons and Annie Hathaways, and maybe even Julia Roberts shows up for a paycheck or two. The number won’t need to correspond to the amount of people needed in a crew, because, honestly, it’s always been a little hazy about who gets counted anyway. “Ocean’s Five” could just be about robbing five casinos. Solved it.

The franchise will run on fumes all the way to “Ocean’s 7, and at this point, Clooney will barely be able to stand (Sandy will still be at her A-game, obviously). They’ll try to resurrect Bernie Mac’s character via CGI, and that will be the final straw, because you should never disrespect the dead.

By then, gobs of money will have been made by the studio, and all of us will most certainly be dumber, but hey, movie stars deserve our adoration. Then we can do a proper ranking of all these movies and still somehow forget to mention that it all started in 1960 with the Rat Pack. Then they’ll finally remake “Ocean’s 11” with a digital Frank Sinatra. It still won’t be okay, but you’ll see it, because MOVIE STARS.

Or maybe we just see how “Ocean’s 8” goes and not get ahead of ourselves.


Tyler Wilson can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com.

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