‘Ocean’s Eleven’: Was the Frank Sinatra or the George Clooney film better?
Ocean’s 8 hit cinemas in 2018 as a gender-flipped heist film starring Sandra Bullock and a host of other A-listers. A spiritual successor to the Brad Pitt/George Clooney trilogy (Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen), it received mixed reviews, and many suggested it could not touch the original.
Some agreed with this – Clooney and Pitt were unmatched. But others were quick to point out that it wasn’t the original film. The 2001 hit Ocean’s Eleven was a remake of the 1960 Ocean’s 11 starring the Rat Pack. How does George Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven compare with Frank Sinatra’s Ocean’s 11?
As the walkthrough of the casino in the 1960 film shows, many things differ, but the atmosphere of the casino stays the same to provide a backdrop of tension for the heist films. The essence of the casino remains the same in both the 1960 and the 2001 film – and no doubt in many casinos in 2020 too.
The games played in the films are casino classics and staples of modern casino experiences. As Betsafe Live Casino shows, many of the games available at the casino in the 1960 film can be played today – from poker and blackjack to slot machines. The games have been given an online makeover to allow players to see live dealers or engage with video and graphics, compared to the fixed gaming stations in the original film.
While the original involves a five casino heist on New Year’s Eve, the 2001 remake features the casinos being used to hold money in the vault for an eagerly-anticipated boxing match, suggesting $150,000,000 could be up for grabs if the heist goes according to plan. Both films use the casino backdrop without any characters attempting to play anything that might win them the money. The casinos are used to create an atmosphere of tension and excitement. Ocean’s 8 involves a heist at the Met Gala instead.
A heist film in 1960 and a heist film in 2001 would always differ based on the forty years of technology that spanned the release gap. Not only would the Ocean’s gang be able to use a multitude of different methods to conduct the heist, but the police and security forces at the casino would also be better equipped. This challenge helped set the films apart – one was a heist film with early 1960s technology and one was one with the gadgets and gimmicks of the 21st Century.
The main difference between the Ocean’s Eleven/11s is the zeitgeist. Each major difference points to the time in which the heist was executed. The 1960 film featured the gang being veterans of World War 2 as they embarked on the heist, while the 2001 film features a romantic rivalry over Julia Roberts’s character.
The former reflected the positive attitude films with war connotations brought, while the latter bounced off the popularity of rom-coms throughout the 1990s and added an element to appeal to both male and female audiences.
So perhaps the reason that Ocean’s 8 didn’t do as well as people would have liked was that it came too soon after the Pitt/Clooney films ended (Ocean’s Thirteen only came out in 2007). Maybe a futuristic Ocean’s film would do better, or one released after upcoming smart technology completely changes our lives.
When it comes to establishing whether Frank Sinatra or George Clooney was a better Danny Ocean, it isn’t a fair comparison. Both were exceptional in their respective times – and should be viewed as such.