Director Christopher Nolan
Director Christopher Nolan Image Credit: Reuters

Los Angeles, July 25 (IANS) While Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ is noted for not having any CGI in recreating the nuclear explosion, it did still have a bunch of VFX artists who worked in creating the practical explosion. However, according to the end credits, Nolan forgot to credit over an estimated 80% of those artists.

The biopic is based on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who oversaw the Trinity Test and the Manhattan Project, leading to the development of the first atomic bomb in history in 1945 during the end of World War 2.

One of the film’s biggest highlights was when Nolan said that in recreating the nuclear explosion or any of the other elements, such as neutron particles which the scientist kept seeing in his imagination were all created through practical effects and featured no CGI.

This was indeed true as the blast and its accompanying intricacies such as the heatwave, radiation or the burning flames were indeed recreated through practical effects such as miniature explosions and such, meaning that indeed no computer imagery was used. But that does not mean that VFX wasn’t used.

Recreating the explosion without any CGI was probably the most difficult part in the movie, and several animators and VFX experts have said that Nolan has not credited most of the VFX team who helped in designing the explosion. While only 27 names appeared on screen. DNEG, which is one of the leading global VFX production companies and collaborated with Nolan for the film, has said that over 160 VFX artists in fact worked on the film accounting for at least 80% artists not being credited.

Many animators and visual effects experts have expressed anger at this on social media, though ‘Oppenheimer’ crew has been silent on the whole thing. Perhaps at a later date, they may reveal what truly happened as they begin breaking down the explosion and other aspects.

This won’t be the first time as VFX artists are never fully credited in Hollywood productions and there are various examples of this, such as the MCU films, DCEU film, new ‘Star Wars’ features amongst many more.

While the terms CGI and VFX are used interchangeably and are in fact connected, they are not the same thing. CGI means computer generated imagery while VFX means visual effects. CGI is done entirely on computer to create scenarios and environments not possible with practical sets, or to save time and cost.

But VFX is added post production and contains things such as imagery and illustrations among other elements in order to make things more dynamic, fluid as well as more authentic on-screen which isn’t possible using just real life sets. These things are not necessarily digital and are prepared in early stages of development.

‘Oppenheimer’ has lit the box office on fire far exceeding its expected global projections grossing over $85 million at the box office so far and receiving an overwhelmingly 96% positive reception which has by far been the highest so far in 2023.

In terms of reception alone, ‘Oppenheimer’ has surpassed some of Hollywood’s biggest and most acclaimed films this year, getting ahead of even the likes of ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One’, ‘John Wick 4’, ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3’ and ‘Spider Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ each of which has scored above the 90% mark while also surpassing ‘Barbie’ which boasts an impressive 85% positive reception.