Are ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Dune’ the identical film?

I really like Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. I really like Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. In truth, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I really like them each a lot as a result of they’re the identical film.

“However how can that be?” you might ask. “In spite of everything, Dune is a science-fiction epic. Oppenheimer is predicated on the true lifetime of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. What may they presumably have in frequent?”


‘Oppenheimer’ overview: Formidable, deeply Nolan, deeply flawed 

Seems, a number of themes and aesthetic selections! From two administrators with whose kinds complement one another to the skills of Florence Pugh, the Dune collection and Oppenheimer are extra related than you would possibly suppose. Let’s break it down.

Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve’s careers communicate to one another.

Christopher Nolan behind the scenes of “Oppenheimer.”
Credit score: Melinda Sue Gordon/Common Photos

After I consider modern-day science-fiction auteurs, I consider two names: Nolan and Villeneuve. The 2 have actually labored outdoors the style, producing thrillers like Memento and Sicario, respectively. Nonetheless, a few of their most acclaimed work — suppose Inception and Arrival — is undeniably sci-fi.

Their takes on the style are thematically and stylistically much like each other, usually leaning on cerebral, high-concept world-building to make sense of dense supply materials. Dune and Oppenheimer are each primarily based on hefty tomes, the previous on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, the latter on Kai Chook and Martin J. Sherwin’s American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. To deliver these tales to life, Nolan and Villeneuve each rely closely on sensible results (Nolan extra so than Villeneuve), in addition to throbbing soundscapes and scores that demand to be skilled in a theater. Notably, each Dune: Half Two and Oppenheimer had been shot with IMAX cameras — Dune: Half Two in its entirety, and Oppenheimer for choose sequences.


The ‘Oppenheimer’ solid on taking pictures the movie’s most outstanding moments

Nolan and Villeneuve’s works have additionally weathered related critiques. Although they have an inclination to have intense emotional cores, reminiscent of Arrival‘s mother-daughter relationship or Interstellar‘s assertion that love can transcend area and time, they face the frequent criticism of being cool and impassive. This extends to Dune and Oppenheimer‘s main males: Each Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) are typically extra emotionally buttoned-up, though they actually lose composure in key moments.

Dune and Oppenheimer unleash the ability of blue eyes.

A young man with bright blue eyes walks through the desert in a dark, hooded cloak.

Timothée Chalamet in “Dune: Half Two.”
Credit score: Niko Tavernise

Talking of Dune and Oppenheimer‘s main males, let’s talk about a few of their most defining options. Between Murphy and Chalamet, these movies might as effectively be known as Cheekbones, however it’s their eyes that draw probably the most focus — particularly on this “purchase them brown contacts” summer season.

We spend a lot of Oppenheimer misplaced in Murphy’s blue eyes, his thousand-yard stare within the face of his creation boring holes into the viewers. (Nolan talked about casting Murphy partially due to a photograph of Oppenheimer’s “mild blue-eyed stare.”) However the blue doesn’t finish with Murphy! Between Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Dane DeHaan, Benny Safdie, and extra, Oppenheimer is a parade of blue-eyed actors. You might not have seen simply how blue their eyes had been till now, however as soon as an IMAX digicam is true of their face, it turns into fairly troublesome to disregard.


It’s ‘lady, we f*cking see them’ summer season

The identical goes for Dune, the place blue eyes aren’t simply a part of an actor’s face — they’re plot-relevant elements of an actor’s face! On the earth of Dune, there exists a drug often known as spice, which allows faster-than-light journey. Solely discovered on the planet Arrakis, spice turns the eyes of individuals uncovered to it brilliant blue. The entire Fremen, the indigenous inhabitants of Arrakis, have these blue-in-blue eyes (additionally known as the Eyes of Ibad). Once we decide again up with Paul and his mom, the Girl Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), in Dune: Half Two, they may have spent sufficient time within the deserts of Arrakis to even have the blue-in-blue eyes. (However can they measure as much as Murphy’s?)

Oppenheimer and Dune characteristic chilling visions of dying and destruction.

A man in goggles stares out a circular window, bathed in brilliant white light from an explosion.

Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer.”
Credit score: Common Photos

As Paul makes his manner into the deserts of Arrakis and as Oppenheimer works to complete the atomic bomb, the 2 start to have visions of a terrifying future. Properly, Paul’s are precise visions as he sees time unfurl earlier than him, whereas Oppenheimer is extra so confronting the worst case situation of his actions. Both manner, they communicate of grave penalties for humanity.

In Paul’s case, he witnesses the unfold of a holy warfare carried out throughout the universe beneath the Atreides banner. (The novels explicitly discuss with the warfare as a jihad.) He panics on the considered all this destruction carried out in his identify, but as his affect grows over the Fremen, he realizes there’s much less of an opportunity of him stopping it.


Albert Einstein is vital to ‘Oppenheimer,’ however not for the explanation you’d suppose

Considerably equally, Oppenheimer imagines a future the place the unfold of nuclear weapons leads to worldwide disaster. The Trinity Check might not have triggered a literal chain response that destroyed the world, however as he tells Albert Einstein (Tom Conti) within the movie’s remaining scene, he fears that the Manhattan Challenge might have set off a figurative chain response anyway, as nations throughout the globe search to create an increasing number of harmful nuclear weapons. For each Paul and Oppenheimer, their horrifying futures remind us that neither males are heroes; slightly, they’re males with nice energy whose actions will result in violence they didn’t anticipate or utterly think about.

Each Dune and Oppenheimer characteristic troubling erasures of individuals of colour.

A man with brilliant blue eyes dressed in a Fremen stillsuit.

Javier Bardem in “Dune: Half Two.”
Credit score: Niko Tavernise

As a lot as I like Dune and Oppenheimer, the 2 face related points when it comes to how they take care of the individuals of colour on the coronary heart of their tales — individuals who usually play a key function in or bear the brunt of their protagonists’ harmful energy.

Herbert’s Dune attracts closely — and explicitly — on Center Japanese and North African (MENA) tradition and Islam, incorporating phrases reminiscent of “Mahdi,” “Padishah,” and “jihad.” The familiarity of those phrases permits us to ascertain how Arabic and Islam have continued over the hundreds of years between our current and Dune‘s future, turning into particularly very important to Fremen tradition. But Villeneuve’s Dune doesn’t characteristic any MENA actors in Fremen roles. It additionally flattens lots of Herbert’s MENA influences, omitting phrases like “jihad” and different Arabic influences on the Fremen’s language. As Vulture‘s Roxana Hadadi writes, “In refined however important methods, [Dune] Half One denies the cultures which might be so integral to its supply materials.”

In Oppenheimer, the erasures are many. In a predominantly white solid, there is no such thing as a point out of the Black chemists and physicists who labored on the Manhattan Challenge. Neither is there a lot dialogue of the Native American and Hispanic inhabitants of New Mexico whose land was seized to construct the Los Alamos lab. Contamination from the Trinity Check would lead “Downwinders,” New Mexico inhabitants within the space, to undergo from elevated charges of most cancers.

Notably, Oppenheimer additionally omits any direct visuals from the U.S.’s use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leaving the devastation of the atomic bomb as much as Oppenheimer’s tortured creativeness. The omission is actually purposeful: Oppenheimer spends a lot time hammering dwelling its lead’s preoccupation with principle to the purpose that even his bomb’s victims change into theoretical. When lastly confronted with a slideshow of the bomb’s destruction, Oppenheimer turns away, with Nolan himself refusing to make a spectacle of the bombings themselves. It’s an efficient but unsettling selection, one which understandably raises concerns about how the movie chooses to disclaim Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Challenge’s victims any voice.

The rise of Florence Pugh continues.

A woman with shoulder-length hair in a white dress and a gold net covering the top of her head.

Florence Pugh in “Dune: Half Two.”
Credit score: Niko Tavernise

Let’s finish our voyage into the same worlds of Dune and Oppenheimer with a celebration of their shared solid member: Florence Pugh. The Academy Award nominee continues to take the world by storm, showing in Oppenheimer as Jean Tatlock and within the upcoming Dune: Half Two as Princess Irulan.

As nice as Pugh is, her function in Oppenheimer is sadly restricted to some weird intercourse scenes and relationship angst between her and Oppenheimer. Dune: Half Two will hopefully give her extra to do as Princess Irulan, the daughter of the Padishah Emperor (Christopher Walken) who will go on to (spoiler alert) marry Paul. A scholar educated within the Bene Gesserit manner, Irulan proves key within the political video games Paul will be taught to play — particularly in Herbert’s second Dune novel, Dune Messiah.

I don’t notably love that Pugh performs certainly one of two ladies vying for a person’s consideration in each Oppenheimer and Dune (to name these relationships “love triangles” wouldn’t be right), however I do like to see her working with two main administrators whose movies I love. Any double characteristic ought to be honored to have Pugh because the glue holding it collectively, and Duneheimer is actually no exception.

Oppenheimer is now in theaters.