In his latest and one of his most popular projects, Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan has bragging rights over the fact that CGI was not used in the filming of the atomic bomb explosion in the film. However, the gigantic feat of making the explosion look realistic and get all the credit it is getting right now had the work of quite a few dedicated VFX artists and about 80% of them were snubbed of a 10-second credit in a 3-hour behemoth of a film by Nolan.
The film, Oppenheimer, is about J. Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the Trinity Test and the Manhattan Project, leading to the creation of the atomic bomb during the World War 2, which caused a massive magnitude of death and destruction to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The film had gained a lot of popularity due its theme and Nolan’s name and got massive box office success in the first week of its release.
The Bomb Explosion in ‘Oppenheimer’
The most difficult part of the filming process was definitely the filming of the explosion and it was a massive job to recreate it without CGI. Even though Computer Generated Imagery was not used in this process, VFX was certainly a great helping hand in the filming. CGI and VFX sound the same, but they are completely different. While CGI would mean the entire scene was generated by a computer, VFX would cover the work in post-production where a lot of details were honed and finessed by a lot of talented artists to increase dynamicity of scenes on screen and make them look perfect.
Despite the challenging task of creating the explosion without CGI, many animators and VFX experts have revealed that only 27 names appeared in the credits, while over 160 VFX artists from the renowned company DNEG were involved, making up the majority of those uncredited. This situation is not entirely unique to ‘Oppenheimer’ as production houses of a lot of films and TV shows constantly snub the efforts and hard work of artists like these.
Many animators have expressed their disappointment and resentment with the artists being snubbed like this maybe at a later stage, the crew of the film might acknowledge this issue, but for now they have chosen to remain completely silent. With the writer’s strike, this gesture has made Nolan’s image take a little hit. Many other Hollywood blockbusters such as MCU films, DCEU films and ‘Star Wars’ have done the same thing with VFX artists, always compromising and falling short in giving their artists enough credit and recognition for their own work.
Reception of the film
Oppenheimer’s success has reached great heights with box office collection of $220 million in less than a week and with the highest critical reception of any films in 2023. In terms of reception alone, ‘Oppenheimer’ has surpassed some of Hollywood’s biggest and most acclaimed films this year, getting ahead of even the likes of ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One’, ‘John Wick 4’, ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3’ and ‘Spider Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ each of which has scored above the 90% mark while also surpassing ‘Barbie’ which boasts an impressive 85% positive reception.