Films: Oppenheimer and Barbie




What do Bond, Spiderman, Oppenheimer and Barbie have in common?

The answer is that they have all been described as the ‘saviours of cinema’. Since the Covid Pandemic, cinemas have been fighting hard to get audiences to come back. Their hopes rode on the success or failure of several block busters that were meant to be real crowd pleasers. And by and large films such as No Time to Die, Spiderman and Tenet all did well at the box office and helped bring the crowds back.

That said, not every major release has been a success, for example Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was deemed by some to be a box office failure after two weeks. Mission Impossible Seven: Dead Reckoning Part One, did slightly better but still wasn’t a complete runaway success. So I imagined that many a Cinema Manager had July 21st circled in their diary.

Would Chistopher Nolan’s latest epic Oppenheimer, a biopic about the man who created the atomic bomb, and Barbie, be the ‘saviours’ which cinema chains have been longing for? The jury is still out, in the meantime, let me share some thoughts on each of these movies.

Oppenheimer: I am with the good Dr Mark Kermode (one of the UK’s leading film critics) on this one. In finishing his review Mark said: “It’s a really, really good film but not great.” For me he’s spot on. You do have to concentrate due to the non-linear storytelling and I did feel the last 45 minutes or so dragged a bit. But great performances, script, score and effects.

Barbie: A seven out of ten for me. It’s a bit all over the place and given that they must have known that young children would be taken to see it some of the jokes are cringeworthy. For me a 12 certificate would have been justified. Loved the opening scene, loved the fact that the film laughs at itself and indeed at the central character. Ryan Gosling is terrific as Ken and Margot Robbie looks like Barbie should! Lots of laughs and fun to be had but I maintain that a 12 certificate would be more appropriate.

I have no doubt that these two films will do well at the box office and that we may look back on them as ‘saviours of the cinema’.

Main Photo Credit: Kilyan Sockalingum via Unsplash

Andy Godfrey

Andy Godfrey is a speaker with Outreach UK and has been in full-time Christian work for many years. He is a founding member of the Mark Kermode Appreciation Society and has a collection of nearly 3,000 movies. He’s also an ardent Bristol City fan.

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