Explained: Does Oppenheimer contain any CGI shots? 

A still from Oppenheimer (Image via Universal)
A still from Oppenheimer (Image via Universal)

Christopher Nolan is perhaps one of the most talked-about figures in the world right now, primarily because of his upcoming film, Oppenheimer, which is set to detail the creation of the first ever atomic bomb, which according to Nolan could be the most pivotal part of humankind's history. But with a big-budget production like Oppenheimer, especially with the complications of recreating a historical era, the question of technology always comes into play.

We already know from Christopher Nolan's older interviews that the famous Trinity Test was done without any CGI, adding to the grandeur of the film. But now the veteran director has revealed in an interview with Collider that the film has no CGI shots at all, making it one of the rarest films in recent years to not employ the technology, especially with the volume of things that it had to portray.

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So, no, according to Nolan, there are no CGI shots in Oppenheimer, and with the format of shooting that the director and his talented crew used, it would definitely be one of the biggest spectacles to grace the screens.


How did Nolan do the Trinity Test sequence in Oppenheimer without the use of CGI?

When the subject is like the infamous Trinity Test and involves big explosions, it's only natural to assume that CGI would play a big part in the realization of the image. But that is not the case for The Dark Knight director, Christopher Nolan, who opted to recreate this test physically.

Historically, it is one of the pivotal moments which defined the fate of the nuclear bomb. The test was originally conducted in New Mexico in early 1945. Speaking to Empire Magazine in an interview a few months ago, Nolan explained how Oppenheimer used practical effects over computer-generated ones to achieve this feat. Of course, it also means that there was immense logistics and technical planning that went into the process.

Speaking about the explosion that Nolan and his talented crew managed to capture on film, the director said:

"I mean, I've done a lot of explosions in a lot of films. But there is something very unique and particular about being out in a desert in the middle of the night with a big cast, and really just doing some enormous explosions and capturing that. You couldn't help but come back to this moment when they were doing this on the ultimate scale, that in the back of their minds they knew there was this possibility that they would set fire to the atmosphere. It was pretty amazing to engage in that kind of tension."

Moreover, this beautiful sequence is shot especially for IMAX 70mm, which is the ideal medium to watch the entire film.

This offbeat approach to the upcoming film is supplemented by a very talented cast that will surely not let down the historical retelling. The ensemble cast for the film includes Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh Jack Quaid, Benny Safdie, Rami Malek, Dane DeHaan, Josh Hartnett, Matthew Modine, Kenneth Branagh, David Krumholtz, Michael Angarano, and Alden Ehrenreich, among others.


Oppenheimer will premiere globally on July 21, 2023.

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Edited by Abhipsa Choudhury