Barbenheimer: the movie event of the summer

 Although the movies “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” could not be more different, with the help of social media, they became inextricably linked as the defining cinematic event of the summer.
Although the movies “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” could not be more different, with the help of social media, they became inextricably linked as the defining cinematic event of the summer.
Photo courtesy of Universal Studios and Warners Bros. Studios
Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) looks through a window to view the horrifying reality — the atomic bomb — he created.
Jake’s take: “Oppenheimer” is cinema gone supercritical

I’d heard the hype, but Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” still defied all expectations. From Nolan’s storytelling to the outstanding cinematography and mind-blowing practical effects, this three-hour dialogue-rich odyssey, centered around J. Robert Oppenheimer — the enigmatic “father of the atomic bomb” — is a true embodiment of cinematic artistry. Cillian Murphy, who bears an uncanny physical resemblance to Oppenheimer and brought his signature piercing gaze and nuanced emotions to the lead role, elevated the film to another level. One of Nolan’s trademarks is his manipulation of time and this movie proved no different. In “Oppenheimer,” black and white is used to switch between the views of antagonist Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.) and Oppenheimer. This was done to reflect Strauss’ more rigid worldview as opposed to the brighter, more creative views of Oppenheimer and added depth and complexity to the non-linear narrative. I watched the film in IMAX 70mm film and the practical effects, best seen in the “Trinity” test, were nothing short of mind-blowing, with the fusion of visual and auditory elements transporting me back to the pivotal moments in the creation of the atomic bomb. During the “Trinity,” as you’re held captive by the mesmerizing fireball on screen, a haunting silence envelops the theater before the deafening bang of the explosion reverberates, leaving you on the edge of your seat. This movie is sure to go down in history as a classic, and is definitely worth a watch in theaters.

Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) looks through a window to view the horrifying reality — the atomic bomb — he created. (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios)
Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) launch into a dance number in the cinematic hit “Barbie”.
Arshia’s take: “Barbie” is a world in pink

Before watching “Barbie,” I associated the Mattel dolls with one thing: pink. And while I was right about the intense amount of pink decorating almost every scene, the film pushed beyond superficial aesthetics, tackling hard-hitting-social issues like gender roles, toxic masculinity and body image. Greta Gerwig showed the audience the grim reality of our society by creating “Barbie Land.” Women lead this fictional society, with all occupations held by the many Barbies created throughout decades. This reversal of society’s stereotypical gender roles was a satirical way to address sexism. At the same time, when “Stereotypical Barbie” (Margot Robbie) sees her perfect facade fall away after developing cellulite, Gerwig comments on unrealistic beauty expectations. In the real world, Barbie is catcalled, disrespected, and finds that most jobs are held by men. Seeing Barbie deal with the same insecurities and challenges that women face was surprising — and gratifying. The Barbies’ determination to work together and remember their importance in Barbie Land speaks to the extra effort that women must make to effect change in society. It’s only fitting that Greta Gerwig has become the first female director to break past $1 billion in the box office with this masterful social commentary. 

Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) launch into a dance number in the cinematic hit “Barbie”. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
Oppeneheimer (Cillian Murphy) cheers with the American public at the Los Alamos lab following the bombing of Japan.
Arda’s take: “Oppenheimer” is an American Prometheus

“Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.” No, this is not Prometheus speaking. It is J. Robert Oppenheimer, creator of the first atomic bomb and the lead character of Christopher Nolan’s new biographical drama, “Oppenheimer.” Although the movie is R-rated, it demands a wide viewership because it is an important film. Already an immense success at the box office, the film accurately showcases Oppenheimer’s academic and personal life, with an almost-scarily perfect delivery from Cillian Murphy. Emily Blunt, who plays Kitty Oppenheimer, shines as Oppenheimer’s wife, while Florence Pugh, who plays love interest Jean Tatlock, and Robert Downey Jr., who plays nemesis Lewis Strauss, deliver strong performances deserving of more screen time. Yet, at a whopping three hours and a slow pace, the picture really does not need any more time. The last hour of the movie could have been condensed to just 15 minutes. Still, when Nolan takes on a job, he does not disappoint, and the film meticulously chronicles every interaction and avoids any possible plot holes. For example, the “Trinity” bomb test sequence is truly a masterclass in filmmaking; one cannot help but think how it might be an extract from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Incidentally, Oppenheimer says the aforementioned famous line in this scene, implying his concern with the unfolding act. The end of the movie showcases the possible consequences of Oppenheimer’s invention through a jarring sequence of global nuclear destruction, leaving the audience completely terrified, and yet, thoroughly satisfied.

Oppeneheimer (Cillian Murphy) cheers with the American public at the Los Alamos lab following the bombing of Japan. (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios)
Barbie (Margot Robbie) and a stowaway Ken (Ryan Gosling) are on their way to fix the portal between the human world and Barbieland.
Brinda’s take: “Barbie” is not Kenough

Upon the Barbie movie’s release, the world dressed in pink from head to toe and rushed to the theaters to view what would become the biggest movie of the summer. For weeks, I saw Barbie everywhere: Barbie-themed ice cream, burgers, jewelry, clothing and so much more. I expected the movie to be an emotional rollercoaster with a meaningful message about sexism, and to offer ways to fix society. But not so. Instead, the movie captured the female experience well, but failed in its execution. The film was anticlimactic, predictable and overhyped. Seeing Barbie’s (Margot Robbie) character grow throughout the movie was great, and watching her embrace her insecurities by turning into a human was a lovely ending. But her journey there was dull and unexciting to watch, and I found myself bored halfway through the movie. I expected so much more from this film — more emotion, more plot, more depth. I thought that Ken (Ryan Gosling) was so entertaining and overly comical that it was borderline ridiculous. And while the scene of the Kens fighting on the beach was humorous, it seemed random and out of place. The plot felt lazy, with few twists and little to no excitement. Put bluntly, the Barbie movie was almost entirely hot pink fluff, with a painfully basic storyline and so much unexplored potential. The movie was a visual treat and almost tedious in terms of clever playfulness. However, in terms of having a complex, interesting plot, the Barbie movie was simply not “Kenough.”

Barbie (Margot Robbie) and a stowaway Ken (Ryan Gosling) are on their way to fix the portal between the human world and Barbieland. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Burlingame B
$560
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Burlingame High School - CA. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Arda Inegol, Business Manager
Arda Inegol is a senior at Burlingame High School and a third-year Journalism student. As the business manager, he is tasked with managing the B's business affairs. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, playing tennis, golfing, and listening to good music. He is also president of the Politics Club and secretary of NHS.
Jake Rothstein, Managing Editor
Jake Rothstein is a senior at Burlingame High School and is a third-year student in journalism. Jake is excited to be the new co-managing editor for the Burlingame B. He is an avid runner on the cross country and track teams and enjoys building and designing software applications. In his spare time, Jake enjoys being with friends and family and reading the news.
Brinda Iyer, Copy Editor
Brinda Iyer is a sophomore at Burlingame High School and a second-year journalism student. She's thrilled to have the opportunity to explore different styles of writing in this class and to gain the experience of working in a newsroom. Outside of school, you can find Brinda playing lacrosse, traveling to new places, playing and listening to music, rewatching her favorite shows and spending time with friends and family.
Arshia Chakravartti, Copy Editor
Arshia Chakravartti is a senior and a third-year journalism student. She is an avid reader and writer who is excited to continue her role as a Copy Editor in The Burlingame B staff. Outside of school, she participates in multiple sports, such as skiing, tennis, and track. She also loves traveling, eating good food, watching tv and spending time with friends and family.
Donate to The Burlingame B
$560
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Burlingame B Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *