Ocean’s 8 in Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos Sound

ocean's 8

Ocean’s 11 began as a stylish heist movie made in 1960 starring The Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop along with Angie Dickinson and others. It was remade in 2001 starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, and Carl Reiner along with Julia Roberts and others. Next came two sequels with the same cast: Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13. This year, an all-female crew takes the reins of the franchise in Ocean’s 8—which, surprisingly, was graded in Dolby Vision HDR and mixed in Atmos immersive sound for presentation in Dolby Cinemas.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock)—sister of Clooney’s Danny Ocean from the trilogy—is paroled from prison after serving nearly six years. Of course, she promises to go straight, but immediately starts recruiting various specialists to pull off the heist of the century: a $150,000,000 diamond necklace under tight security in the Cartier vault. The new crew includes Debbie’s past partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), fashion designer Rose Wiel (Helena Bonham Carter), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina), and profiteer Tammy (Sarah Paulson). The plan depends on duping vainglorious movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) as she wears the necklace to the annual Met Gala in New York City.

Ocean’s 8 is lightweight fun, and there are several tie-ins with the 2001 Ocean’s 11—Easter eggs, you might say. And there are some fairly obvious parallels in the plots. However, this outing falls far short of Ocean’s 11. Aside from a couple of unexpected obstacles and one plot twist near the end, tension is almost nonexistent, and I didn’t really care what happened to any of the characters. Sandra Bullock is a one-note sourpuss, and most of the rest aren’t much better. My favorite character is Daphne Kluger; Anne Hathaway plays that part to the hilt.

This type of movie isn’t the first that comes to mind for the full Dolby Cinema treatment. No alien environments (unless you count New York!), no psychedelic light shows, no whiz bang. Still, the Dolby Vision high dynamic range made the image look wonderful, with great contrast and bright highlights. It’s a testament to how HDR can make any movie look better. After the showing I saw, I ducked into a conventional showing, and it looked much duller by comparison.

Regarding Dolby Atmos, there isn’t a lot of overhead action in the plot. Yet the full Atmos soundfield is fully engaged, mostly with music, which is a wonderful effect. Unfortunately, the dialog intelligibility was not great.

At least the levels were tolerable, even comfortable most of the time: Leq (average RMS level over the entire length of the movie) = 87.0 dBZ (flat), 77.5 dBA, 85.4 dBC; Lmax (maximum 1-second RMS level) = 114.9 dBZ; L10 (level exceeded 10% of the time) = 88.0 dBZ; L50 (level exceeded 50% of the time) = 77.9 dBZ. The average level over the entire movie is 7.5 dB below reference level, and I found that quite refreshing.

Despite my strong support for more diversity and complex female characters in Hollywood movies, I cannot recommend this one. Yes, the cast is fairly diverse, and the female characters are not the typical victim or villain roles, but they are hardly complex. If you do decide to go, it definitely looks and sounds better in a Dolby Cinema; for a complete list of locations, click here. However, I’d save my money for something more engaging.

Check out the trailer: