Last summer, the teaser trailer for Watchmen was attached to The Dark Knight and nerds the world over collectively rejoiced (orgasmed). Here, in case you forgot:
I’ll freely admit that it got me excited, but not in that way. I’ve never read Watchmen, so I’ve no profound attachment to the source material or deeply preconceived set of expectations. Instead, I just think it’s pretty. Added to that, I’m waiting for “visionary” (HA! such lies!) director Zack Snyder to make penance for 300; Dawn of the Dead showed promise, so I thoroughly believe that Watchmen may be his redemption due to its distinct lack of being associated with Frank Miller. At least we know that Watchmen won’t be ridiculously misogynistic and homophobic (maybe?). Oh, and let’s not forget that Frank Miller is absolutely the worst. That’s a tangential thought, but one worth repeating until we all remember.
More than anything else about the teaser worth noting, though, was the fact that there was this:
Wait. What? Are we looking at full-frontal CGI blue-dity? Is this some sort of PFLAG-mandated penance for the 7-foot-tall Xerxes tranny? Did the CGI Billy Crudup lost his Kibbles ‘n Bits in the explosion and now is the walking equivalent of a blue-energy Ken doll? I’m not worried about who is watching the Watchmen, people; clearly the real important questions involve these above-mentioned shenanigans, and they demand the important answers!
Thankfully, Defamer now has the answers. Well, the first and third, at least.
“Massive and circumcised” claims their tipster? Oh…boy…? I’ve never really known how to say thanks for the present I never really wanted, but I suppose now is as good of a time as any to start.
The real kicker, though, is the interview from Snyder himself that Defamer picked up on from Hollywood Outbreak, where he insists that the director’s cut will have more of Dr. Manhattan’s manhood up-close and in-motion (yay…?), which is apparently how visionary director’s build character (whaaaa?). I guess the women in Friday the 13th had tons of character (silicone), and I just didn’t know. Looks like it’s already time for a critical reappraisal! Hooray!
I think I’m largely just confused by this revelation, though, in large part by how utterly ambivalent I am.
On one hand, I think it’s a good thing to get a healthy dose of full-frontal male nudity in a mainstream genre movie, particularly in a genre that’s so predominately enjoyed by heterosexual men. Watchmen will certainly provide an interesting counterpoint to Frank Miller’s nastily misogynistic trash, that’s for sure.
You can try to explain the flagrant nudity away with probably a dozen or more fanboy excuses about the source material and/or staying true to it in adaptation, but in the end there’s something indubitably subversive and even subtly homoerotic about large groups of young men sitting and getting a healthy dose of Dr. Manhattan in his birthday suit. I’m not saying that Watchmen will cause armies of young men to suddenly go homo (nor am I hoping– Star Wars shirts are IMPOSSIBLE to accessorize!); however, provided that Watchmen avoids the ridiculously homophobic elements that plagued 300, that’s still something, right?
At the same time, though, that johnson is blue, and I don’t imagine a CGI bishop-in-a-turtle-neck really having nearly the same impact as seeing the real thing on screen. Everybody freaked that Jason Segal showed the goods in Forgetting Sarah Silverman, one of the numerous guy-centric movies from Judd Apatow and friends. Sure, the scene is played for laughs (and therefore existing as something safely unsubversive to the staight-male gaze) because Segal is pasty and schlubby, but the moment picks up on the rarely acknowledged fact that audiences beyond heterosexual men have sexual desire as well, and we too can appreciate seeing a little skin on the big screen.
Perhaps Jason Segal isn’t any sort of Adonis, but I’m all for exploding American cinema taboos about full-frontal male nudity. If we’re going to make women bare all, it’s about time we expect the same from men. Objectification is only sexist if we prioritize one sex. Le duh.
And besides y’all, seriously:
Don’t lie to yourself: Jason Segal is totally dateable. Dr. Manhattan is the polar opposite. Beyond the simple fact that I was merely looking for an excuse to post a picture of Jason Segal (he’s so dreamy that he’s practically the realistically-dateable-guy equivalent of a picture filled with kittens!), it’s important to remember that nobody (well, I hope nobody) can sexualize Dr. Manhattan. Which gets me to my point (did I have one? Of course i did!) in this theory-addled rant.
There’s a pervading fear of sexualizing men in Hollywood, and it’s one that simultaneously exploits women: that’s worrisome. I’d love to suggest that a Dr. Manhattan-in-the-buff in Watchmen could be a sign of a more enlightened era in cinema, one that is so unafraid of a little skin that it treats both sexes (and all sexualities) equally, but I question such utopian optimism. As I’ve yet to see Watchmen, I can’t fairly judge whatever this news means, but a little speculation never hurts.
At best, we’re given a movie that proudly confronts a history of sexist American cinema that gleefully objectifies women in its genres yet determinedly avoids any sort of homoerotic gaze to emphasize its masculinity; however, at worst, I fret we’ll receive a distinctly unpolitical, hyper-hetero-male-sexist, CGI-equivalent giggle of the Saving Sarah Marshall nude scene: one in which male nudity becomes a blue-hued laugh-track that silences any subversion through determined ignorance.
ANYWAYS: Soap boxes, while quite fun, are tiresome on the heels, so let’s be done with this nonsense.
A fake penis in Watchmen deserves much less thought than that it has received here (although don’t you wonder about the men sitting at their computers who were told to animate Dr. Manhattan’s crotch? I bet that’ll go far on a resume). I figure it’s best for us all to just step into theaters with open (albeit preconceivedly critical) minds. Just make sure to tell your box office attendant you’re only buying your ticket to disrupt patriarchal heteronormativity (aka, for the big, blue penis). They’ll surely understand.
I’m sure it won’t stop Watchmen 2 from happening, but at least it’ll put your conscience at ease. And make you look like a crazy. Totally worth it, I’d say.