DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

Now Showing: Barbieheimer

Two drastically different hit films battled for the top spot this summer: One, a biographical thriller about the development of nuclear weapons in World War II; the other, a comedic story of the infamous Barbie on her journey to enlightenment. Their simultaneous release has sparked the internet phenomenon “Barbenheimer,” a debate regarding which movie is better.

Both movies outperformed everyone’s expectations this summer, with Barbie grossing over  $1.3 billion and Oppenheimer grossing nearly $800 million internationally, ranking them the highest-grossing and fourth highest-grossing domestic movies, respectively, this year. However, many attribute Barbie’s success in the box office to its alleged $150 million marketing budget, making it more than the production cost itself. Oppenheimer’s longer screen time and R rating was also a deterrent to some viewers.

Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, was a visual delight, due to its incredibly detailed costume and production design. In fact, the producers of the movie used so much of one particular shade of “Barbie” pink paint that they contributed to a global shortage.

The movie features Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, living inside a world called Barbieland, where all different Barbies and Kens happily live together. The plot unravels when Barbie experiences an existential crisis, causing her to travel (with Ken) to the human world to discover her true purpose. Gender roles are a big theme in this movie; the contrasting matriarchal society of Barbieland and the patriarchal society of the human world is one of the main elements of the story.

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Barbie’s strengths were definitely its plot, design and production quality. Going into this film, I had a feeling that Barbie would feel like a commercial for the actual toy. Needless to say, I was wrong. Barbie showcased a humorous and clever satire of gender roles in society. Its excellent production quality was a huge selling point too. Although the movie was fun to watch, I never felt as if I was extremely invested in the scenes and what was about to happen next. There was not enough suspense because some parts of the plot were predictable and generic, making me expect what was going to happen next. For example, Ken’s conversion of Barbieland into Kenland (a patriarchal society) was heavily foreshadowed by his reactions and discoveries in the human world.

Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, was also a beauty to watch. Nolan turns what other people would consider a boring topic, the development of the atomic bomb, to a suspense-filled thriller that also sheds light on Oppenheimer’s complex lifetime as he faces the repercussions of his own destruction.

The movie features Cillian Murphy as the lead role of J. Robert Oppenheimer. It also delves into his story as a physicist, and the issues he faced in his journey.

Compared to Barbie, Oppenheimer’s strengths were its acting performances and suspenseful story. Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon did a fantastic job in their respective roles. However, Cillian Murphy’s acting was spectacular. He executed the role of Oppenheimer perfectly, portraying every trait of the historical figure with great accuracy. Oppenheimer’s plot also had me sitting on the edge of my seat constantly throughout the movie. Some dialogues and parts in the movie were a bit confusing, however, as the sound mixing made some lines hard to hear, new characters were getting introduced left and right, and the movie kept cutting between different scenes and time periods. I had to search up a summary of the movie after I watched it to clarify the parts I misunderstood. The movie’s three-hour screen time also made it feel a little slower-paced than it had to be. Some scenes and dialogues felt like it was  unnecessary and could be removed.

The debate of Barbie vs. Oppenheimer ends in a tie, because they are both equally appealing to different types of people. If you’re looking for a fun coming-of-age movie, Barbie is the right choice for you. If you’re interested in the history and work involved behind the making of the first atomic bomb, then Oppenheimer would be a better fit. The unique selling points of each film will definitely make each of them a meaningful watch.

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About the Contributor
Eric Zhang, Asst. News Editor

Pronouns: he/him Years on staff: 1 Instagram: r_ericzhang Life Motto: It's not over until you give up Unique thing about yourself: I have perfect pitch Silliest childhood fear: Death Celebrity crush: Don't have one Dream job: Anything I'm passionate about Job you would be terrible at: Anything I'm not passionate about Favorite movie/show/video game/etc: Wonder Favorite artist/genre/song/album: Pop Most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you: My middle school Discord chat logs

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