Out of the Disney Vault: Mars and Beyond
Let's take a trip out of this world.
Friends, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but this movie called Oppenheimer opened back in July. (“Oppenheimer? I barely know her!” OK, my good friend Bob Iger, maybe go back to wondering why the two biggest movies of the summer didn’t have the Disney logo slapped in front of them. Leave the dumb meme jokes to me!)
Glibness aside, I remain stunned at how big of a film Oppenheimer has been. In general, I would not have expected either Barbie or Oppenheimer to be such massive hits, but the latter is the one that really knocks me for a loop. It’s not an issue of quality — Oppenheimer is unquestionably one of the best films of the year and among Christopher Nolan’s best films over his quarter-century of work. And critics are largely on board with these sentiments, too. It’s that the notion of a three-hour, R-rated period piece comprised primarily of scenes in which men talk to or at each other has made more than $500 million worldwide, and is going to wind up possibly Nolan’s highest-grossing non-Batman movie that blows my mind. (Think of the fact that this is probably outgrossing Inception and Interstellar. Insane!)
If you have seen Oppenheimer, you know that one of the throughlines of the story is that, after the (shall we say) success of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer briefly became one of the most famous men on the planet. Though his specific fall from grace is captured on film (as well as in many other forms of media, like the book on which the film is based), it speaks to the fact that there was a time not long ago in American history when men of science — often exceedingly uncharismatic men, but brilliant ones — were celebrities in the same breath as movie stars or athletes. It’s not to say that some people in circles outside of popular films or TV or sports aren’t famous, of course. But today, we have dudes like Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg who capture national attention, and less because of their brilliance as opposed to stupid headlines like “What if these two goobers fight each other at the Colosseum?”, an inane question that has killed at least eighteen of my brain cells.
You can get a glimpse into the time when men of science were as famous as big-screen stars, right there on Disney+. It’s certainly true of Mars and Beyond.