BY: Alaina Buckenroth

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Christopher Nolan’s new film, Oppenheimer, opts for real-life visual effects rather than using computer generated imagery (CGI) to capture the scene that will depict the Trinity nuclear test of 1945.

Nolan and his visual-effects supervisor Andrew Jackson set out to New Mexico to shoot the scene, and he tells Total Film, “Recreating the Trinity test without the use of computer graphics was a huge challenge to take on.” Nolan goes on to say, “from representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself … there were huge practical challenges.”

The original Trinity test of 1945 was conducted in the Jornada del Muerto desert of New Mexico. It was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. It created a crater 4.7 feet deep and 88 yards wide, along with a mushroom cloud that reached 7.5 miles in height. It was also felt over 100 miles away. Though it is not known exactly how Nolan was able to pull off his recreation of the Trinity bomb, it is said that he used real explosives in order to capture the feel of the original explosion.

The new film follows J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and his role in the creation of the first atomic bomb. Typical of Nolan, this is not the first time he has opted for a real-life visual effect instead of CGI. According to CNN Entertainment, his 2010 film Inception utilizes a rotating hallway that houses a fight scene. He is also famous for blowing up a Boeing 747 for his film Tenet and flipping a truck for The Dark Knight.

The star-studded cast includes actors Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, and Emily Blunt. The story is based on the biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

The film is set to premiere on July 21st, 2023.

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