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The Mountain Lion Messenger

The Mountain Lion Messenger

The Barbenheimer Phenomenon


Light vs dark, good vs evil, comedy vs drama, Barbie vs Oppenheimer? Whether audiences opted for the atomic blonde or the atomic bomb, both Barbie and Oppenheimer detonated the movie scene this summer, causing a chain reaction that might pivot the direction movies are headed in for the foreseeable future. Oppenheimer, a horror-like biopic about the physicist behind the creation of the Atomic bomb dropped on Japan in WW11, clashes with Barbie, Director Greta Gerwig’s pink extravaganza, a contentious look at social gender roles.

Both films dropped onto the scene this summer on July 21st, 2023. What started as an ironic coincidence turned out to be one of the most diverting and reviving moments for film in decades. Both films shattered the box office, as Barbie became the highest grossing film in Warner Bros. history, making a ghastly 1.1 billion dollars at the international box office. Oppenheimer also did incredibly well with 650 million dollars internationally, making July 21st one of the biggest days for the box office ever, something truly unheard of for a double feature.

While both films were heavy hitters in regards to the creatives behind the films, social media and fans hold the recipe to what made Barbenheimer more than the typical blockbuster battle. The film industry is no stranger to films releasing on the same day, but Barbenheimer “flipped the script” into something studios will attempt to recreate from here on out. Rather than a rat race to win over audience tickets, both films amplified each other, creating a mutualistic bond of free publicity and instantaneous relevance. Both Barbie and Oppenheimer received great reviews. Barbie flaunted an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 80% on audience scores, while Oppenheimer shocked with a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a matching 93% for the audience score.

Oppenheimer is a transcendent filmmaking experience by Director Christopher Nolan. It delivers awe-inspiring visuals, poignant thought-provoking social commentary, and introduces a younger generation to one of the most important men in human history. Cillian Murphy, who stars as the physicist, gives one of the best performances of his career, acting with an intense melancholy and a frighteningly haunted depiction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The film will certainly be a force in the upcoming award season while simultaneously continuing to inspire audience members alike with its artful filmmaking, earning itself an untouchable 10/10. Barbie on the other hand, was much more of a shot in the dark. Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie parades a stunningly flamboyant, colorful, and feminine atmosphere, and delivers one of the funniest casts in recent years. Yet, the film feels unsure of who exactly its intended audience is. Barbie has forever been a childhood icon, a symbol of girlhood and child innocence, and while Barbie makes some fascinating commentary about the subject, it comes off more as an echo chamber of ideas rather than something tangible, where even the most cynical non-believers feel the pink. Nonetheless, Barbie delivers a stellar soundtrack and incredible performances from Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, who steals each scene; ultimately earning a sparkling 7/10.

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About the Contributor
Caiden Beasley, Entertainment Editor
Caiden Beasley, a senior at Sierra Vista High School, is in his third year of journalism. He has a strong passion for writing and analyzing the art of film. Currently, Caiden holds the position of section leader for entertainment at the SVHS newspaper. Hailing from Michigan, he also has a keen interest in history, politics, working out, and watching movies.

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