Student sound-off: ‘Barbie’ vs. ‘Oppenheimer’

Movie posters courtesy of IMDb.

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

The talk of the summer and the inspiration for countless memes have all centered around two drastically different films that premiered on the same day: “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” Which one reigns supreme — Greta Gerwig’s daydream in neon pink or Christopher Nolan’s gritty biopic?

According to Corpus Christi senior Eric Jaramillo, life in plastic really is fantastic. Katy junior Michael Okonkwo, however, is a fan of Nolan’s three-hour dive into the father of the atomic bomb.

Did you see both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”?

Jaramillo: I did not. I just saw “Barbie.” I really liked it … I can’t speak for my friends who are women, but I saw the effect it had on them. If it had kind of an impact on me, I can only imagine what it did for them. So I think it was a really great movie.

Okonkwo: I saw both back-to-back.

What drew you to the films?

Jaramillo: I’m a pop culture buff. I knew the movie was coming out ever since the poster came out with Margot Robbie in the Barbie car, so I was like, “Oh, I’m going to watch it.” … It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see [“Oppenheimer”], but it just didn’t catch my eye. … If I had the choice, I probably wouldn’t [see “Oppenheimer”].

Okonkwo: If you go online, there were a bunch of memes about “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” and stuff like that everywhere. I’m not the type of person who goes to the theater like that; I’m usually the type to wait until it’s out on DVD so I can watch it, but there was just so much hype around it. … With movies, what you usually see is superheroes and Marvel — stuff like that. So “Oppenheimer” being a historical thing was new.

How did your expectation of the film measure up to the film in reality?

Jaramillo: I remember I heard from a TikTok that it was sad, so I was like, “Oh, I’m going to be sad at the end.” So it was pretty different, and it was not what I was expecting when I went into it. So when I got out, I was like, “Oh, that kind of hit me and made me really sad.” It was way different from what I expected.

Okonkwo: For “Barbie,” it was a lot more meaningful than I expected it to be. For the most part, I expected it to be just about Barbie, but there were some more mature jokes. It was that, but it got into more about how girls are treated in real life. … It’s nice that they incorporated that into something like “Barbie.”

Christopher Nolan made all the scenes [of “Oppenheimer”] so dramatic and everything, and usually historical people talking is not the most exciting thing to watch, but he made it seem so much cooler than it is.

What did you like most about the films?

Jaramillo: I really liked the message it had, especially at the end. At the end, I think people were expecting [Barbie] and Ken to kiss, and they didn’t. That made me really happy because I think a lot of men wanted them to kiss. … I liked that it didn’t give them that. I think that it’s a testament to feminism.

Okonkwo: I liked both for different reasons. I loved “Oppenheimer” because it was three hours long, but I was locked in for the entire thing. … I feel like “Barbie” was a lot of fun and had a deep message to it. … From just enjoying the cool visuals and everything, obviously “Oppenheimer,” but story-wise, I feel like I enjoyed “Barbie” more in that sense.

Say you got to make your own director’s cut of the film. What changes would you make?

Jaramillo: I would probably include more scenes in the Barbie world, because the set was so pretty but they didn’t include much of it. … They did it so good; I don’t know what else I would add. I guess more dancing scenes; those were nice.

Okonkwo: For “Barbie,” I feel like the mom should have her speech, and the way to dehypnotize the Barbies was to tell them what made them special. Like, “You’re the president. You did this. You don’t need to worry about [Ken].”

I don’t know how [Nolan] would incorporate [stories of the effects of nuclear testing in New Mexico], but I feel like if I was director, I would put that in to show, “Yeah, he’s remorseful, and there were a lot of people who were affected.”