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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


Warning: Lots of Sparkles and Special Effects

This past summer, two of the most popular movies went head to head. Take a look.
Warner Bros/Universal Picture via AP

All over the world people were noticing bright pink billboards on the streets, and dark gray posters in the subways. It brings attention to the most asked question of the summer of 2023: Who did you watch?

The “Whos” are:  “Barbie” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, versus “Oppenheimer” featuring Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh. These films made people want to leave their homes and go watch them on the silver screen. With the salty popcorn, overpriced chemical candy, and large sodas. Both films did a wonderful job of having people on the edge of their seats full of curiosity about what these movies will bring to the table. 

Let’s dive into director Greta Gerwig’s, “Barbie”.

The most perfect yet, unexpected duo: Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling waving to fans during the “Barbie” press tour. (CHRISTOPHER POLK/WWD VIA GETTY)

With lead actress and Producer Margot Robbie on set, Gerwig created a different image of Barbie than what most would assume. Gerwig and Robbie teamed up together to shut down the stereotypes of a Barbie doll while also keeping everything clever and fun, with a hot-pink exclamation point added where necessary. The movie is packed with moments of womanhood, domination of men, and making sure the point is getting across. Gerwig makes it her mission during press tours all around the globe to assure fans and critics alike that even though the movie centers on a plastic children’s toy, it’s still stuffed with lots of real feelings and emotions. Senior, Fiona Kelly said that, “I thought that it had a much deeper meaning than I thought it would”. 

In the blue corner, we have Oppenheimer. A weighty drama directed and written by Christopher Nolan, one of the most famous film makers. NBC Universal Studios took on this challenge, while Warner Brothers was working on “Barbie”. The story follows Robert J. Oppenheimer, the man behind the atomic bomb and who was responsible for making the Manhattan Project a large “success”. This three-hour-long creation has experienced actors and actresses such as Emily Blunt and Matt Damon. The film’s purpose is to remind humans of the psychological aspect behind a scientist. Nolan made it clear that he was more interested in special effects and drama than a boring history movie. Students at DHS went to the theaters themselves and had their own opinions. Senior, Teddy Karl shared his experience, “I liked Oppenheimer. I thought it was cool. It was well produced but, I fell asleep at the end though”. 

Robert J. Oppenheimer played by Cillan Murphy, dodges the snapshots of paparazzi in a scene in the film. (Universal Pictures )

Since it is not “the olden days” anymore and it is now 2023, AI has come to play. AI has been dominating the workforce, especially people in the field of communications.  Employees question their jobs and wonder if a computer could potentially put them in the dog house. The big question is how was AI used in “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”? In the bright pink world of “Barbie” AI was used in scenes to create new products and help our girl Barbie out with her everyday tasks. AI was also used to “Deep Face Lab” animated characters and give them realistic facial expressions. Oppenheimer was more of a special effect movie and AI was used to develop new cool weapons and resemble the voices of historical figures like Albert Einstein. My mom, Tracie Wilson, a executive producer for NBC Television, shared with me that “I see it everyday in my work place. AI has been definitely a challenge that we are all trying to figure out”. 

Despite their differences, both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have left an indelible mark on popular culture. Barbie has become a global phenomenon with countless accessories and spin-offs while “Oppenheimer’s contributions to science continue to shape our understanding of the universe. While “Barbie” represents an idealized version of femininity, “Oppenheimer” embodies scientific progress with its moral complexities. These two icons serve as reminders that society is multifaceted; it encompasses both dreams and nightmares.

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About the Contributor
Reese Wilson
Reese Wilson, Writer
Reese is a senior at DHS who started writing for Neirad in the fall of 2023. She loves writing about opinion pieces, movie reviews, and pop culture. You can find Reese listening to music in her room, playing outside with her dog, hanging out with friends, or watching Jersey Shore when she is not writing for Neirad!

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