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“Barbenheimer”: Is It Worth Seeing Both?

For the record, my plans for this weekend included neither watching Oppenheimer and Barbie, nor writing up reviews about both the films and the “challenge.” Not to mention, I was only interested in seeing Oppenheimer; I was going to wait for Barbie to come out either on streaming platforms or on DVD/Blu-Ray. Then, some of my original plans fell through and I decided to watch the former because I wanted to see it; next, I decided to watch the latter the next day due to curiosity. So yes, I ended up participating in Barbenheimer. And, it was a worthy and a fun experience.            

I saw Oppenheimer at night and the theater was mostly full of adults—the sex scenes are NOT appropriate for children. This biopic is Christopher Nolan’s first, but anyone who has seen his previous movies know that he doesn’t end his movies with what you would expect it to be. Instead, that point is the climax of the film, and the rest of the narrative arc occurs. That’s what happens in this movie. Those of us who were taught about the “Manhattan Project” in school knows what was about and who the lead scientist was, but the consequences—The Cold War—and the fallout—government conspiracies—afterwards were mentioned briefly in class. This movie delves into the latter as many of us are not as familiar with it as with the former.             

The acting ensemble for Oppenheimer was amazing! Even with the actors you already knew were in the film, other actors appeared at times when a different part of the story was presented, and you knew those actors would play their roles brilliantly. I would argue that not knowing about the additional actors in this movie is what grasped my attention the most whenever I felt the length of the movie getting to me (remember, it’s 3 hours long). This movie had everything I expected from a Christopher Nolan Film and from what I remembered about J. Robert Oppenheimer. The narration, the cinematography, the cast, the score, the direction, etc., was amazing! I left the theater feeling very satisfied with the movie experience. I do hope I get to rewatch this movie in IMAX.            

The next morning—that’s correct, about 16 hours later—I watched Barbie because I was curious as to whether or not the hype was worth it. The opening scenes of the movie are what you expected them to be, and then the plot picks up when Barbie and Ken travel to the Real World. However, without going into too many spoilers, there is a reason why that Barbie and that Ken are able to travel from their world to the Real World. From there, the rest of the movie takes off; but, similar to Oppenheimer, don’t expect this movie to end at the point where you expect it to. Instead, the climax of the narrative arc occurs, and the movie goes in a unique, yet hilarious direction. Greta Gerwig—I did enjoy her film adaptation of Little Women—did an amazing job with the movie, the set (which, caused a shortage in (all shades of) pink paint), the story, the music, the cast, etc.             

I will address one thing about Barbie that is more obvious than it is a spoiler: yes, the movie screams feminism from its beginning to its ending. The movie is about one of the most popular and most ubiquitous toys of all time—I would rank Cabbage Patch Dolls and American Girls Dolls in the Top 5 as well—and you believe there wouldn’t be a “message” within the film?! If you can get past the “feminism propaganda,” then I believe there will be moments where you’ll be laughing out loud. I enjoyed Barbie more than I thought I would, and now I’m thinking about all of the Barbies I had growing up (and I still have). While Barbie is more upbeat than Oppenheimer, my theatrical movie experience with Barbie is equal to Oppenheimer. In other words, after each movie ending, I left the theater knowing I made the right decision to see both movies sooner rather than later.             

Overall, both movies were excellent, and I’m glad I watched both as close together as I could. If you’re interested in seeing both movies, then I recommend you watch the one you want to see more first and then watch the other movie. This way, you know you watched the movie you wanted to see regardless of your thoughts about the other one.             

As for how I would describe watching both movies within the same weekend—or, less than 24 hours apart—a few weeks ago, there was a meme on social media where someone described the hype surrounding both Oppenheimer and Barbie. My fellow gamers—especially, JRPG fans—knows which one I’m talking about. But, for clarity, here’s the comparison.The tone of both of these video games should be noted to where both movies present themselves. In addition, the ending of both games are similar to the ending of both films. If you don’t believe me, then watch the movies and play the video games afterwards.            

2023 is the year where the theatrical movie experience has returned to society to the point where individuals want to watch movies in theaters instead of waiting to watch them on their (smart)TV and/or to stream them online. Both Oppenheimer and Barbie are 2 of the movies of this year that you should try to make time to see in theaters. There are a few movies coming out towards the end of this year I hope I get to see in theaters, but I’m satisfied knowing that I watched these movies in theaters.            

Have you participated in the “Barbenheimer Experience”? Which of the 2 movies do you want to see and why? If you watched either and/or both movies, then which ones did you enjoy and why?

4 thoughts on ““Barbenheimer”: Is It Worth Seeing Both?

  1. I’m definitely going to see Barbie, but I’m waiting to see it with my daughter when she moves back to California. Hopefully it will still be in theaters. I love that you saw both movies only a day apart😁

    1. I didn’t have the time to watch both movies back-to-back, but seeing both within ~15 hours apart was just as satisfying.

      As for watching the movie with your daughter, I believe you’ll have time. The movie is a blockbuster, so it won’t be leaving the theaters anytime soon.

  2. I saw Barbie with my daughters and while I didn’t totally get the hype, the girls had fun and I had fun with them and that’s all that matters 🙂

    Also thanks for the warning about the sex scenes in Oppenheimer. That’s one I wanted to watch and was considering bringing my older daughter who is fascinated with all things WWII, but she’s still at the age where seeing that would be super awkward and/or inappropriate.

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