kottke.org posts about Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer: More Science and More Heist Please

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 11, 2023

Craig Mod has my favorite take to date on Oppenheimer: that it should have been more like Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb:

My ideal version of this film would have begun in the 1900s or '10s, with flashes of Relativity and then the steps of Quantum Mechanics with Planck, Bohr, and Heisenberg. Quantum tunneling with Gamow and Gurney. The nuclear shell model with Maria Goeppert Mayer and J. Hans D. Jensen. Chadwick's discovery of the neutron. Anderson's positron unveiling. Hold the camera longer on Lawrence and his cyclotron. What's going on there? (I mean, ya got Josh Hartnett's pretty head, plaster it up!) Shoot in high-grade mega-IMAX-bokeh the oddly simple experimental setups, the beakers, the blips, the radiation tick-tick-ticks, the iterations, the step-by-step expansion of understanding the fabric of everything around us. Give us an hour of this, this arguably greatest moment of human insight. You can still call the film Oppenheimer. Let the man loom, weave him between it all as he makes his way through Europe, sets up at Berkeley, is selected to lead Los Alamos. Ramp up the Nazi threat. Show the diaspora of brilliance more clearly. Believe the audience is willing to sit through more than just "Is it a wave ... or is it particle?" Oh! There is so much excitement, so much incredible science to be mined, and Nolan mined so little.

Mod and I both share a love for that masterpiece of a book and I would watch the hell out of an 10-part HBO series (in the vein of Chernobyl) based on it, American Prometheus, and John Hersey's Hiroshima.


posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 13, 2023

mashup movie poster for Barbenheimer (Barbie + Oppenheimer)

Barbenheimer poster by Sean Longmore. Perfect, 10/10, no notes.


posted by Jason Kottke   May 08, 2023

Finally: a full-length trailer for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, easily the movie I am most looking forward to seeing this summer. Dunkirk was one of my favorite films of the past few years, I've done quite a bit of reading about the Manhattan Project over the years, and I studied modern physics in college, so I am all the way in for this. Fingers crossed!

P.S. The movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Might have to read this one before the movie comes out.

The Trailer for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 18, 2022

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus (Kindle), Christopher Nolan's newest film follows theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer as he leads the Manhattan Project to build the world's first atomic weapon during World War II. If this film is just 50% slow-motion IMAX-scale fluid dynamics simulations, I don't think I'd be that mad.

I'm curious to see if this film has one of Nolan's signature time tricks — aside from the Batmen, they almost all do.

Oppenheimer comes out in the US on July 23, 2023.

P.S. If you want to read an excellent book about the Manhattan Project, you can't do better than The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes — one of my all-time favorite books.