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The Lancer Ledger

The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

‘Barbenheimer’: The Ideal Way to Watch Oppenheimer and Barbie

Looking for a way to kill five hours over winter break? Watch the ‘Barbenheimer’ double feature.
‘Barbenheimer’ became a cultural phenomenon in the summer of 2023. (“Barbenheimer on display” by RyanAl6 (CC BY-SA 4.0))

The ‘Barbenheimer’ meme took over the internet back in July of 2023. Viewers were challenged to watch the two as a double feature, with many stating it led to the most enjoyable viewing experience. With about a five hour run time between the two films, and one being an upbeat comedy and one a very serious drama, the Lancer Ledger took the challenge to let our readers know the best way to approach these films.

The Inception of Barbenheimer

The Barbie and Oppenheimer movies have become some of the highest grossing films recently, with Barbie becoming Warner Bros. highest grossing film of the year, making over $1.36 billion worldwide, and with Oppenheimer making a respectable $850 million, according to a Variety report from September. Not only this, the films have received favorable reviews by both critics and the general audiences with the Barbie movie receiving a 7/10 on IMDb and Oppenheimer with a higher rating of 8/10. This success was no doubt partially helped in one strange way – in the creation of online memes comparing the two movies.

As the films were getting closer to release many people online began to point out and joke about the tonal juxtaposition of the two films, with the intense, historical film about the creation of the atomic bomb and its creator J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the lighthearted, colorful film about Mattels childhood doll Barbie. From here, many on online forums, such as Reddit and TikTok, started joking about seeing these two films as a double feature. This was further assisted by the massive amounts of marketing by both films, as nearly everyone heard of Barbie and Oppenheimer.

While initially starting as a joke online about the two films, many people took up this proposition after their release, curious at what it would be like to see the two together, and many enjoyed their experience, with the aforementioned tonal juxtaposition providing some laughs for the people watching. The memes and viewer’s reactions only fueled the double feature challenge and popularity of the two films.

Along with memes, fan art for ‘Barbenheimer’ went viral in 2023.
(“Barbenheimer Parody Movie Poster” by ThreeOfCups (CC BY-SA 4.0))

The Oppenheimer Experience

Clocking in at around three hours, Oppenheimer is the latest masterpiece of Christopher Nolan, director of the Dark Knight, Interstellar, Dunkirk, as well as many other critically acclaimed films. Oppenheimer provides a long, thought-provoking experience as we journey through the creator of the atomic bomb’s, Oppenheimer’s, life, from his university experiences to his years teaching at the University of California, Berkeley to him being recruited in the Manhattan project as director of the Los Alamos laboratory, to the 1954 security hearings relating to his past.

The film’s actors give great performances across the board from Cillian Murphy as the titular Oppenheimer to Matt Damon as Lt. General Leslie Groves to Robert Downey Jr. as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Lewis Strauss. As viewers see Oppenheimer struggle with the world around and his guilt over his own creation, cinematography for this film is immaculate. The film is expertly shot especially in the trinity test scenes, displaying the true power of the atomic bomb.

The Barbie Experience

Coming in at almost two hours, the Barbie movie was a bit of a surprise for viewers with its deeper themes of self identity and female empowerment. The film is the latest work of Greta Gerwig, director of Little Woman, and is both fun and hilarious.

The main duo, Barbie and Ken, are fully developed characters that change throughout the story, with Barbie discovering more about herself and struggling with her self identity. Ken meanwhile brings ideas of patriarchy to Barbie Land, inspired partly by feeling like only an accessory to Barbie.

Barbie is a hilarious film that will make you break out into laughter multiple times. On top of the comedy, the film is also well shot and edited, with the setting of Barbie Land being a beautiful, toy-like world.

The Barbenheimer Experience: Worth It

Staff writer Josh Jaquez took the Barbenheimer challenge.

Clocking in with a total time of five hours, the Barbenheimer experience is a double feature that seems nonsensical on the surface as the two films have almost nothing in common. However, this contrast allows the two films to blend uniquely, allowing you to experience the joy of the juxtaposition of a film about the creator of the atomic bomb and a movie about Mattel’s very own doll becoming self aware.

These two films serve well to provide an enjoyable film experience for whoever is watching with you. However, given the length of the experience, I suggest you see the two films with friends or family, or you will be sitting alone for hours.

Overall, was the Barbenheimer experience the best way of watching the films? I would say yes! While a lengthy experience, the films provide a unique experience. I recommend watching Oppenheimer, with it being grand, surreal, brooding and ending with a joyride from the Barbie movie to leave you laughing and smiling.

Both films are currently available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Jaquez
Joshua Jaquez, Staff Writer
Joshua is a freshman at Lakeland Regional High School. With a profound interest in journalism, he decided to choose journalism as an elective. His favorite classes are World History and English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, drawing, and playing video games.

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