Wednesday, March 4, 2009

He's big! He's blue! He's naked!

The above photo shows only part of Doctor Manhattan, one of the more significant characters in the new and much-anticipated "Watchmen" movie. If you're a comic book illiterate like me, you may not know Doctor Manhattan from Dr. Scholl. I was ignorant until I saw all two hours and 43-minutes of "Watchmen," the big-screen adaptation of a 12-issue comic-book series by Alan Moore, who also authored "V for Vendetta" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

Doctor Manhattan may not be the film's most emotional character, but he is its most revealed -- as in full-frontal nudity. Most of the time, Doctor Manhattan -- actor Billy Crudup mixed with digital effects -- appears sans clothes, a big blue exhibitionist who acts as if strutting around in the buff is no big deal.

About the doctor's complexion: As the result, of an accident -- something involving a device called an Intrinsic Field Subtractor -- Doctor Manhattan was transformed from a mild-mannered scientist into a being with superpowers. He also turned blue.

On screen, Doctor Manhattan looks a bit like a giant Oscar statue, only one that's anatomically correct. Doctor Manhattan, you see, has a penis, and director Zack Snyder shows it as part of what some see as the movie's slavish commitment to the comic book's defining details. Snyder evidently has kept faith with fans who insist on a high degree of fidelity in their big-screen adaptations.

Early on, the blogosphere fretted that "Watchmen" might not show Doctor Manhattan in his full blue glory. As far back as October of last year, though, the Web site confirmed in that Doctor Manhattan's private parts had made (you'll pardon the expression) the final cut.

"Watchmen," which I'll review Friday, is rated R for graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language; i.e., the whole gamut of R-rated possibility.

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