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The Cat's Eye

The Barbenheimer War rages on at RCHS

Fozaan Noor
Posters depicting the two live-action films “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” side by side, each showing the lead characters J. Robert Oppenheimer (left) and Barbie (right)

Two hit movies, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” were released on the same date on Friday, July 21, 2023. Both these movies were long awaited by fans and sold out seats at local theaters. 

Both movies have left many in awe of the movies’ supposed greatness. Of course, there will be different preferences between the two which would be said to be better than the other. 

This caused the internet to debate which one was better: “Barbie” or “Opphenhimer.” People made many YouTube shorts and TikToks about seeing both films; both on the same day or simply just reviewing them. 

But the debate has still not come to a closing answer to which one is truly the better film. Even at Rancho Cucamonga High School, many students have different opinions regarding the movies.


Barbie Story: 

On July 21, of 2023, “Barbie” was released. The Warner Bros. Pictures’ movie was directed by Greta Gerwig. 

The movie, being rated PG-13, was the first of its kind. While there have been Barbie movies made by animation companies for merchandise, this is the first movie in which depicts the famous toy doll in a live-action film. 

The movie’s cast consisted of Margot Robbie, playing Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken, Will Ferrell, CEO of Mattle, America Ferrera and Kate McKinnon. 

The plot is that of a ‘What if?’ scenario for Barbie and Ken, in which the two left their home known as “Barbie Land” and came into the “Real World.” 

The movie doesn’t only show (and explain) the perspectives of Barbie and Ken discovering themselves, but it also encourages the audience and the rest of “Barbie Land” to do the same and choose their lives themselves instead of having others decide it for them. 


Oppenheimer Story:

On the same day, “Oppenheimer” was released as well. The Universal Pictures’ movie was directed by Christopher Nolan. 

This cast consisted of Cillian Murphy, playing J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, Emily Blunt as Kitty Oppenheimer, Florence Pugh and Jack Quaid. 

This movie, being rated R, was made after the inspiration of the biographical book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

The plot takes the perspective of the Father of the Atom Bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist, within three hours. Each hour shows the different point in time in which Oppenheimer experiences his life, from studying physics in Europe, to recruiting and creating the atom bomb, and, finally, to the trial he faced by the American Government on his loyalty.  



Both the Pie Charts depict about 250 RCHS students’ preferences between the two movies, and if they watched it or not (Fozaan Noor)


Barbie Opinions:

As it would turn out, many of the students had a more favorable liking towards “Barbie” rather than “Oppenheimer,” many of whom deeply enjoyed the morals of the movie.

“I didn’t expect [the movie] to have such a deep theme and meaning,” freshman Sofia Wang said. 

Wang, who had watched the movie a few days after its release with friends, describes how the movie was very emotional in certain scenes.

“I liked how Barbie was getting flashbacks of a woman with a daughter in a montage,” said Wang. “It was really sad.”

Of course, the students of RCHS also enjoyed the comedic relief provided by the movie’s characters. 

“My favorite part was the Ken-War and the Ken song,” sophomore Sofia Miller said. “The way that they were fighting with tennis rackets and pool noodles was just really funny.”

Like many others, Miller had watched the movie with her family a few days after the release, and like Wang, enjoyed the moral of “finding your true self and learning to embrace that to yourself and others.”

Miller had really enjoyed the scenes depicting the character Ken, so much so that it had reminded her of a different movie.

“All the Kens had big expressions on their faces and like arms,” Miller continued. “It reminded me of the movie ‘Do Revenge.’”


Oppenheimer Opinions:

Of course, there were other students who favored “Oppenheimer” over “Barbie.” These students, who were disappointed with the entertainment Barbie provided, enjoyed the historical accuracy of Oppenheimer.

“Barbie was just weird. I thought it was going to be more entertaining,” freshman Everett Cornet said. “[Oppenheimer] was accurate.”

Cornett, who watched both movies, explained how he deeply enjoyed the scene that depicted Project Trinity. Project Trinity was the moment that the scientists tested the bomb and checked whether or not it actually worked. 

Like many others, Cornett had watched the movie with his family, and had watched the movie a few weeks after its release in a movie theater. Cornett, after watching the movie, felt that the movie “had an accurate ending,” and liked that best about it.

In order to fully understand “Oppenheimer,” one would need to understand history, specifically American History. Also, one would need to know the gist of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s story.

“You need to know a lot of stuff before you watch [Oppenheimer],” senior Nawaf Alsuhaibani said. “It had bad pacing, but good cinematics and music.”

Alsuhaibani, who felt that the beginning of the movie was slow had, similar to Cornett, enjoyed the ending more. Even at the end of the movie, Alsuhaibani explained how he was surprised and “didn’t expect the movie to end like that.”

It was observed that the majority of the students who had a liking towards history had a more liking towards “Oppenheimer” than towards “Barbie”. Of course, there are also those who were seeking comedy and found “Barbie” to be more favorable than “Oppenheimer”.

It can be agreed by many, whether they enjoyed “Barbie” better over “Oppenheimer” or vice versa, that between the two movies, many RCHS students had enjoyed “Barbie” far more than they did of “Oppenheimer.” This could be due to the ratings of the two movies, or perhaps the different genres, but one thing that both sides agree on, regardless of opinions, is that both movies were excellent in their own unique ways.

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About the Contributors
Fozaan Noor, Copy Editor

Fozaan Noor is a senior at RCHS, and this is his second year in journalism. He is the Copy-Editor for the school newspaper, The Cat’s Eye. His favorite thing about journalism is being able to interact with new people and understand their perspectives on issues occurring on campus. When not working on the school newspaper, Fozaan enjoys studying astronomy, mathematics, history, and reading books, along with enjoying time with his family.

Emily Shorter, Staff Reporter
Emily Shorter is a Sophomore at RCHS, this is her first year of Journalism. She is a Taurus, Staff Reporter of the school newspaper The Cat’s Eye. Her favorite subject is English; She loves to read and write during her free time. While reading and writing Shorter will listen to her two favorite platforms, Spotify and Youtube. She’ll listen to music from Broadway Musicals, Disney films or Alternative singers; Shorter will also listen to a True Crime podcast by the name of Rotten Mango. 

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