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Christopher Nolan
Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr.
Writing Credits:
Christopher Nolan

American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer works on the development of the atomic bomb.

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend:
$82,455,420 on 3610 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/2.20:1 (Varying)
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 180 min.
Price: $49.98
Release Date: 11/21/2023

• “The Story of Our Time” Documentary
• “Innovations in Film” Featurette
• Q&A Panel
• “To End All War” Documentary
• Trailers
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Oppenheimer [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 29, 2023)

When a movie earns $325 million in the US, it spends at least one week at number one – until now. 2023’s Oppenheimer got stuck behind an even bigger juggernaut: Barbie.

Of course, the social media “Barbenheimer” phenomenon helped both movies. Nonetheless, even as it made that $325 US/$949 million worldwide, Oppenheimer couldn’t compete with Barbie’s $636 million US/$1.4 billion worldwide, so it becomes the highest-grossing movie ever to never hit number one in the US.

That said, it becomes easy to see Oppenheimer as the bigger surprise hit. It shouldn’t be too hard to sell tickets to a movie with major stars based on a beloved toy, but a three-hour flick about scientists?

I won’t say no one saw Oppenheimer’s success coming, but it’d be difficult to locate anyone who figured it’d make nearly $1 billion total. Most thought it’d be lucky to hit the $300 million or so it needed to turn a profit.

The lesson: never underestimate auteur filmmaker Christopher Nolan! Even if he couldn’t get mass audiences to go to theaters smack dab in the middle of COVID for 2020’s Tenet, Nolan remains the most bankable director of his era.

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) demonstrates brilliance as a physicist. This leads him through a variety of professional opportunities that culminate in his participation on the Manhattan Project, the World War II-era American endeavor to develop an atom bomb.

Despite his success in this realm, Oppenheimer struggles with his personal life. He also encounters controversy after WWII when his earlier dalliances with the Communist Party come back to haunt him.

That synopsis implies a much more chronological orientation than what Oppenheimer actually follows. The film opens in 1954 and then bops about in scenes from the 1920s to the 1960s.

To his immense credit, Nolan makes all these shifts proceed smoothly. A movie that could – and perhaps should - become a convoluted mess instead remains tight and logical.

I won’t call Oppenheimer the fastest-moving three-hour movie ever made, but it does fly by much more quickly than one might expect. That seems true especially because of the subject matter.

Face it: a long semi-biopic about a physicist doesn’t sound like a recipe for a thrilling movie. While the basic subject matter comes with plenty of room for exploration, it simply doesn’t sound like a topic that moves and feels like a thriller.

Nolan brings that vibe to Oppenheimer, though not in an artificial manner. Nolan creates a vivid visual film but he doesn’t go all Michael Bay on us and submerge substance in the service of style.

This allows Oppenheimer to feel like a “serious film” but not seem stuffy. Nolan finds a way to make the story dynamic without tacky visual tricks or gimmicks.

Nolan manages to tie together competing eras and narratives in a shockingly easy to digest manner. Despite a mix of time periods and story domains, the film connects all the dots well and never becomes confusing.

An excellent cast helps, and Murphy anchors the film well. Granted, it becomes a little silly to see the 47-year-old actor play the role at 22, but we don’t see much of Oppenheimer at that age, so this doesn’t become a distraction. Since most of the film takes place during the 1940s or later, Murphy feels essentially age-appropriate.

Whatever the case, Murphy handles the character’s different dimensions in a believable and three-dimensional manner. He becomes the core of the film.

In complementary but still major roles, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Matt Damon and others do fine as well. A high level of talent helps the movie.

Though I admit Oppenheimer leans a little too hard on big names in small roles. Some viewers complained in 2014 when Damon popped up in a relatively tiny part for Interstellar, as they felt his presence became a distraction.

Oppenheimer takes this conceit and goes bonkers with it, so we find a slew of notables in what essentially amount to cameos. This creates issues – well, at least the first time through the movie. When I expected the stars, they didn’t stand out as much.

Maybe Nolan just wanted the most talented folks he could find for the parts, and I can’t argue with that. The film uses a slew of truly strong actors.

Nonetheless, their presence can briefly take the viewer out the story, as the surprise may detract from the story. This doesn’t turn into a big issue, but it still exists.

Consider that as a nitpick, however, as Oppenheimer does far more right than wrong. This will never become my favorite Nolan movie but it represents a massive cinematic achievement that deserves all its plaudits and success.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Oppenheimer appears in an aspect ratio of 2.20:1 on this 4K UHD Disc - most of the time. The filmmakers also shot a lot of the movie with IMAX 65mm cameras, and that used a ratio around 1.43:1.

On the disc, we see the IMAX elements at a 1.78:1 ratio. The rest of the film used that 2.20:1 frame.

I expect Nolan films to look great, but Oppenheimer’s use of 65mm IMAX meant it fared exceedingly well. It helped that the 2.20:1 material also featured 65mm film, so Oppenheimer didn’t suffer from any obvious degradation when it shifted between ratios.

Sharpness remained top-notch from beginning to end. This meant the movie boasted tight, accurate visuals.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. The image also lacked any forms of print flaws.

Despite the period settings, Oppenheimer went with a fairly standard mix of teal and amber/orange. Limited as the colors seemed, the disc delivered them with nice range and clarity, and HDR added impact to the hues.

Blacks appeared deep and dense, and shadows showed fine clarity and smoothness. HDR gave whites and contrast extra punch. This became an excellent visual presentation.

Although I wouldn’t expect much from a character-based film like this, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Oppenheimer worked well. Unsurprisingly, scenes related to nuclear physics and similar domains became the most involving.

Of course, bomb detonations created the most punch, but the film used other scientific areas to create a vivid soundscape. The rest of the film created an engaging sense of place that didn’t consistently dazzle but that suited the story.

Audio quality seemed terrific, with music that appeared full and rich. Speech came across as natural and concise as well.

Effects offered top-notch reproduction, as I noticed clean highs with no distortion along with deep, firm bass. All of this combined for a strong sonic experience.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical audio.

A native 4K product, the UHD disc boasted superior delineation, colors, blacks and contrast. As great as the BD looked, the 4K became a stronger presentation.

All the set’s extras reside on their own separate Blu-ray, and we open with a documentary called The Story of Our Time. It spans one hour, 12 minutes, 55 seconds and offers info from writer/director Christopher Nolan, producers Charles Roven and Emma Thomas, director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema, production designer Ruth De Jong, executive producer Thomas Hayslip, IMAX consultant David Keighley, film loader Bobby Pavlovski, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, first assistant camera Keith Davis, editor Jennifer Lame, visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, special effects supervisor Scott Fisher, visual effects producer Mike Chambers, IMAX camera technician Scott C. Smith, researcher Lauren Sandoval, supervising art director Samantha Englender, stunt coordinator George Cottle, Los Alamos Historical Society executive director Elizabeth Martineau, IAS Communicationa and PR manager Lee Sandberg, IAS COO Janine Purcaro, head of makeup and prosthetic department Luisa Abel, composer Ludwig Göransson, and actors Matt Damon, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey, Jr., Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Conti, Josh Hartnett, David Krumholtz, Gustaf Skarsgard, David Dastmalchian, Matthew Modine, Alden Ehrenreich, and Dylan Arnold.

“Story” looks at the film’s background and path to the screen, history, adaptation, and Nolan’s approach to the material, cast and performances, photography and the IMAX format, various effects, sets, locations and period details, costumes and makeup effects, music and general thoughts.

Like other documentaries about Nolan movies, this one mixes lots of useful information with lots of praise. I’d prefer less happy talk but we still find a pretty good view of the production and its challenges.

Innovations In Film runs eight minutes, 21 seconds. It brings info from Van Hoytema, supervising digital colorist Kostas Theodosiou, chief color scientist Joseph Slomka, project supervisor Andrew Oram, senior digital finishing producer Steven Celniker, supervising lab color timer Kristen Zimmermann, and 65mm negative cutter Simone Appleby.

“Innovations” discusses issues related to the movie’s use of 65mm black and white film. Some worthwhile material ensues but a lot of this feels self-congratulatory.

Next comes a Meet the Press Q&A Panel. Hosted by Chuck Todd, it lasts 34 minutes, 46 seconds and involves Nolan, biographer Kai Bird, physicists Dr. Carlo Rovelli and Dr. Kip Thorne, and Los Alamos Laboratory director Dr. Tom Mason.

The chat covers why Nolan chose this topic for a film, the experts’ views of the film, facts vs. liberties, and scientific and political perspectives. This becomes a much more insightful and less promotional piece than I’d expect.

An NBC News production, To End All War goes for one hour, 27 minutes, 18 seconds. It provides remarks from Bird, Nolan, Los Alamos scientist’s daughter Ellen Bradbury Reid, filmmaker Jon Else, science educator Bill Nye, historians Gregg Herken, Alex Wellerstein, Martin J. Sherwin, Jennet Conant, Robert S. Norris, David Eisenbach, Alan Carr and Richard Rhodes, nuclear security expert Dr. Mareena Robinson Snowden, theoretical physicists Robert Christy and Dr. Michio Kaku, Hiroshima survivor Dr. Hideko Tamura, and grandson Charles Oppenheimer. We also get archival clips of Oppenheimer and a few others.

“End” looks at the life of Oppenheimer as well as the development of the atomic bomb and its aftermath. It becomes a pretty tight overview as well as an appealing complement to the feature film.

The package ends with five trailers. We get one teaser, two theatricals, an “IMAX Exclusive” and “Opening Look” that provides a montage of film scenes.

Another disc presents the movie on its own Blu-ray disc.

An epic that exceeded all box office expectations, Oppenheimer delivers a brisk and ambitious piece. Christopher Nolan makes the story tight and freewheeling all at the same time in this dramatic and absorbing semi-biopic. The 4K UHD comes with excellent visuals, very good audio and a generally positive set of bonus materials. Oppenheimer doesn’t become my favorite Nolan movie but it continues the director’s winning streak – and might finally earn him some Oscar love.

To rate this film visit the prior review of OPPENHEIMER

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main