Barbie vs. Oppenheimer

We couldn’t publish the first issue of 2023-2024 without some Barbenheimer content.
Illustration by Luci DiBonaventura 25
Illustration by Luci DiBonaventura ’25
Luci DiBonaventura ’25
Barbie: The good, bad, and misunderstood

“Barbie,” the current highest-grossing movie of 2023, continues to capture the interests of people all around the world. Read what Haven students thought of the movie.

WARNING: Potential spoilers below. We would recommend watching the movie first if you haven’t yet before continuing to read.

When the new “Barbie” movie came out on July 21, people around the globe bolted to theaters dressed in pink to see it.

“There was a lot of high energy, a lot of bright colors. I thought the dreamhouse was really cool. The fact that she could walk on the pool,” senior Catherine Caruso comendated.

The movie, which grossed $1,402,676,857 at the worldwide box office, follows the adventures of Barbie and Ken as they leave the picture-perfect Barbie world to explore the real world, where Barbies are made.

As Barbie discovers how imperfect the real world truly is, Ken begins to recognize that he can assert male dominance over Barbie in Barbie World, believing patriarchy to be the answer. Ultimately, after a long journey of self-discovery, Barbie and Ken decide to pursue their true identities: Barbie discovers that she does not need to be the perfect image that everyone expects her to be, and Ken discovers that he is strong enough on his own without Barbie (but not without a power ballad sung by Ryan Gosling, of course).

When people left the theaters, many felt surprised by the direction that the film had taken.

“I was expecting more of a fun, super happy, sparkly, not serious movie at all, but I thought they did a really good job with it,” sophomore Claire Donavan said. “It was different than you would think. It was more serious and focused on more feminist stuff, but it was really good. Five out of five stars.”

However, some others did not feel the same way about the new movie as a whole, questioning its overall plot.

“I would rank it a two or three [out of five],” Caruso said. “I feel like the movie was kind of all over the place, with them constantly going to the real world and back, and some of the characters were kind of unnecessary. I just didn’t understand it.”

However, the positive reviews significantly outnumber the negative ones. Unlike “Oppenheimer,” which only covers the creation of atomic bombs, “Barbie” emphasizes a message on mental health and self-worth: “You are Kenough,” as freshman Kathryn Kudrick said.*

OPPENHEIMER: No special effects needed

One student offers a perspective on the serious side of summer films.

Christopher Nolan has been a well-known director for some time. After announcements for “Oppenheimer” previewed, people got excited. No digital effects, real explosives, and a story about one of the most prolific and influential scientists of the 20th century. Expectations were high for another Christopher Nolan film.

When the bomb finally dropped in theaters on July 12, it went off with a bang. Theaters sold out in minutes, and the film crushed its box office projections by almost nine times, totaling $890 million of revenue.

The movie itself was a masterpiece that left viewers stuck in their seats, stunned and silent after the 180 minute rollercoaster of a film had concluded. This truly was a movie that lives up to the Christopher Nolan name, along with other fantastic films like “Inception” and “Interstellar.”

Everything from the actors, cinematography, writing, music, and practical techniques used to pull all of this off without digital effects came together to produce not just a film, but a visual work of art that pulls you into the world and mind of Robert J. Oppenheimer. Some of the things that stood out the most were the music & sound, practical effects, and unique visuals that were presented throughout the film.

Ludwig Göransson composed a riveting soundtrack that forced viewers to feel the onscreen motion in unique ways. In addition to this, the use of silence throughout the film to further convey emotion was phenomenal.

The use of 100% practical effects in the film was a big selling point that peaked my own interest. Nearly every film that has been made in the last few years has some component of digital effects. A large number of Nolan films not only have digital effects, but the effects usually comprise most of the film

This was a huge departure from anything Nolan has made to date. Nolan made this decision so that he could provide visuals that were more tangible and easily taken in by audiences. No digital effects also translated to the explosives in the movie. Nolan was able to produce an explosion that visually mimicked the scale of the real Trinity Explosion. This really hammered in the sense of realism he was looking to capture on film.

Overall, this was a film that blew people away in ways not seen before in cinema. If you haven’t seen it is highly recommended to anyone looking for a fantastic film.*

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