MORE THAN MEMES, “Barbenheimer,” a general play of words of the films Barbie and Oppenheimer, took the world by storm as they dropped in theaters last July 2023. What started as a meme has now turned into a cultural and box-office icon to be remembered by for the ages.
If you had told someone in the past that by 2023, a movie about a barbie doll and a nuclear scientist would be a cultural phenomenon, people would have never believed you. Now, it’s happening right in front of everyone’s eyes.
Barbenheimer, a slang developed in the internet in hopes of viewing and appreciating the two films, is paradoxical.
Barbie, a light-hearted with deep feminist subtexts focused on a journey of self-discovery following an existential crisis, is far from the movie Oppenheimer, a film about J. Robert Oppenheimer, as the father of the Atomic Bomb, and how his “son” ended up suffering more ‘suffering.’
Despite the two’s paradoxical existence, down from its core themes, tone, message, and ideas, Barbenheimer was in an equal playing field. Gross earnings show that Barbie earned an astonishing 1.18 billion dollars and counting at the worldwide box office, while Oppenheimer has grossed 649 million dollars and counting.
Directed by two of the most critically acclaimed and well-respected directors of the modern era, Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan were at the helm behind the two movies. With its blockbuster cast, Barbenheimer is well on its way to success.
Living up to the Barbie aesthetic, the all-around production was a sight to behold. Barbie and Ken’s outfits fitted on a breathing human rather than a lifeless plastic, combined with the Barbieland, could compare to nothing. The film portrayed realism that a Barbieland does exist, and Barbie and Ken are living in it.
Bringing a toy-based story to life was not easy, but Greta Gerwig, alongside the great writers, gave justice to the movie.
Its cultural influence and the first idea that comes to people’s mind when they hear “Barbie!” is incredible. With its fun comedic storytelling, transitioning to a heartfelt message about femininity was an outstanding choice by the writers.
The crafting of the movie was something that had been missing for a while at the box office. A masterpiece waiting to be unleashed was here, and Warner Brothers is here to deliver it to the masses.
Barbie left a smile to all its viewers because of its message to girls that it is okay to feel a certain way and desire a certain way, which has been discouraged throughout the last 50 years or could be even longer, tracing back through time.
The way that a girl’s toy could be the foundation of a masterpiece to be recognized for years is finally here, with Greta Gerwig’s Barbie being a cinematic paradigm.
“I have become death, destroyer of worlds.”
Christopher Nolan’s debut with Universal Studios kicked off with a bang (pun intended) with Oppenheimer.
Directed to shed light upon J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life as the Father of the Atomic Bomb and how this turned his life for the worse, the movie encapsulated the essence of a modern biopic and showed the dark and gritty theme of the state of the world during World War II.
The film portrayed its remarkable crafts from production to its casting. The set piece of Oppenheimer truly blows everything out of proportion as Christopher Nolan and his team replicate the sight of an atomic bomb without the use of special effects, which has been running rampant at almost every box office in the modern age.
The set design, however, gets blown by its great storytelling on how it depicted Oppenheimer’s slow descent to madness as he realized what he had done. Only a few people in history were to turn the tide, and Oppenheimer was one of them.
A film about the “Father of the Atomic Bomb” as a cultural phenomenon was a sentence that could have never been expected to be made, but here it is and is here to stay as a cinematic paradigm of 2023.
The motivation behind calling Barbenheimer a cinematic paradigm was because of its contrasting existence that still makes sense to your average viewer. By its definition, a paradigm is a typical example or pattern of something, a model, according to the Oxford Dictionary.
It highlights how the two films have laid the groundwork for every movie at the moment and that whoever will follow the path that they have taken will lead them to glory. You could still enjoy the film if Barbie doesn’t cater to you, the same as when Oppenheimer doesn’t appeal to you.
This is what a cinematic paradigm means and what it should mean to everyone. Barbenheimer made people realize there’s only one film that a viewer will always watch and support. It will always be about a film they never wanted, but it should have been one they never knew they wanted.
(With Elijah de Castro)