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The Cynical Optimist – 17/3/09

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From Sci-Fi Wire:

If you think there’s a lot of Dr. Manhattan’s big blue penis in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Watchmen, wait until you see the director’s cut.

Snyder told SCI FI Wire in a group interview at WonderCon in San Francisco over the weekend that he actually trimmed a few scenes of full-frontal computer-animated nudity from the theatrical release, but will restore them in the director’s cut, which will have a limited theatrical release in July before appearing on DVD/Blu-ray.

“There’s a big sequence on Mars between Laurie [Malin Akerman] and Manhattan [Billy Crudup], you know, the whole thing about, like, ‘You’re sleeping with him?’ You know, like, ‘I’m a puppet, they can see the strings,’ that whole thing. … That shot, … when they’re walking up the stairs coming to the top of the [crystal palace], it’s pretty intense.”

At this point, Dave Gibbons, who illustrated the graphic novel, chimes in: “Swing, swing.”

Snyder: “Yeah. It looks like a bell clacker.”

Crudup, who plays the big blue Dr. Manhattan, is apparently comfortable with the way Snyder has brought his naked godlike character to life. “Oh, yeah, I mean for better or worse, it’s definitely my performance,” he said earlier this month. “They’re so accomplished now with the level of detail and the nuance that they can manufacture in the computer. … It’s a very realistic rendering of my face and my, um, abs. The rest of it is totally CG. Well, not all of it. Not all of it, people.” He smiled at this point.

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I’ve noticed a lot of comments on Facebook, MySpace and various internet sites from moviegoers who just have to comment about the full frontal male nudity in Watchmen. The comments typically look something like this:

“Disappointed with Watchmen… too much penis…”

“I liked Watchmen, though I could have done with less gratuitous male nudity.”

“If you’re interested in seeing Watchmen, get a picture of a flaccid penis, color it blue and stare at it for 3 hours. Congratulations, you’ve just seen watchmen.”

I’ve even noticed such phrases as “big blue wang” in Entertainment Weekly and other reputable entertainment news sites – yet no one seems to mention the intense, steamy sex scenes or any of the female nudity that exists in the film.

Most of these comments are from high school boys, but unfortunately it seems to be more of a trend with males in their twenties even. I can imagine what it was like for them to watch this thought-provoking film in the theater – cringing at the sight of a computer-generated glowing blue penis while reassuring their sexuality by being overly offended by it.

I’m sure none of these lads were offended by Malin Ackerman’s perfect breasts or any of the other female naughty bits on display in Snyder’s film. I wonder if these guys, upon staring at Michelangelo’s David, giggle like gossiping school children.

It seems a lot of people are fixating on the image of a blue, flaccid penis in a film that is so thought-provoking. I guess it’s a sign of the times – Michelangelo could create a work of art that made people gasp in awe at its beauty, but when it comes to today’s generation of ADD-addled kids, the most a work of art can get is a titter. I’m not saying Snyder’s watchmen is on the same level as David, but it would be ignorant to say that Alan Moore’s work does not warrant recognition for its contribution to literature and popular culture.

If it wouldn’t have been for works like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, I doubt we would live in a time filled with such rich, dark and seriously-approached films like The Dark Knight. These films legitimize the thoughts and pedestal-putting of comic nerds everywhere. While the mainstream was getting a fresh breath of how truly amazing a Batman story could be, me and my fellow lovers of comics were sitting back saying “I told you so,” with our Batman shirts displayed proudly.

If you have a problem with your own sexuality – if you’re uncomfortable with having to see a blue, computer-generated penis – then Watchmen might not be the movie for you. If you can’t take a little full frontal male nudity seriously, how can you expect to immerse yourself into the many depths and layers of a profound and engaging story?

In other words, grow up. Go watch Fantastic Four or Twilight or a Tyler Perry film – there’s plenty of mindless, sappy shtick to go around there. As for me, I’ll enjoy every inch of Snyder’s Director’s Cut when it hits DVD and Blu-Ray later this year.

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Author: Adam Frazier
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