Though Watchmen isn’t being presented in 3D upon its theatrical release, you may want to cover your eyes for fear of being slapped with a big wet one during Jon Osterman’s transformation into Dr. Manhattan. Today, during a first look sneak peak at footage from the film, Manhattan’s origins were presented in full, and one amazing fact can’t be over looked. The big blue guy is hung in illuminated lengths of greatness. Let’s just say that Tommy Lee and John Holmes combined couldn’t challenge this guy to a saber duel. I went straight to the source to find out what kind of boardroom discussions went into deciding how well hung Dr. Manhattan should be. In an exclusive chat, this is what director Zack Snyder had to say:
“It was a weird process. We made a wedge. That’s a visual effects term. It was done in quick time. We would scroll the length up and down. And we wrapped it around a frame. Of course we were worried about the rating. Yeah. We are still nervous about it. It wasn’t so much about taking any inches off. It was more about how many times you get to see him. We have an R rating right now. So they’ve seen him. Maybe, partly because he is CG, they thought it was okay. It was a really practical decision to make it that length. Then we put him in the thong, which is CG. We basically took his outfit from the book. But, as in the book, we took it off him. Because he just lets it go. He certainly lets it all hang out.
Despite a looming court battle over who owns the distribution rights to Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, Warner Brothers is still moving full steam ahead with its marketing of the film. And Zack Snyder’s epic was given another great push of optimistic support today with an advanced sneak preview and lecture held at The Lot in West Hollywood. Not only did Snyder talk with us about Dr. Manhattan’s extremely lush groin region, he also answered questions from a packed house full of journalists and film industry types. And he answered pretty much all of the major questions you wanted to know.
Is there going to be a Watchmen sequel? When asked if the actors have a clause in their contracts stating that there could be one, Zack answered:
“I don’t know that. That would be interesting. But there can’t be a sequel. There can’t be a prequel. Not with me involved. They might be able to find someone that would do it, but it wouldn’t be me. That’s crazy talk.”
About the Fox lawsuit, Snyder seemed rather uninterested in it, saying:
“We are just working on the movie. I’m not a lawyer, so it is hard for me to give a comment about that. And I probably shouldn’t. We have just been forging ahead. They would have come and stopped us if they wanted to. But they haven’t yet. We are having fun. And we are just making a movie.”
It was recently announced that Zack Snyder would be creating video games from EA. He was asked if that came out of his disappointment with the proposed Watchmen video game. He stated:
”It’s not related. We have a (Watchmen) game now that I think is awesome. It was really about those first hits and starts, where we first started talking about making a Watchmen game. For me, it became about embracing the concept, and allowing that to flow. The work was to create a subversive concept that complimented the movie and the graphic novel. I think we came around to that. That was exciting. And the EA think was the afterbirth of that. I am involved with the Watchmen game as much as I can be. We certainly have looked at everything. We would look at it and say, ‘It’s great, but this could be better.’ But it’s not like its mine. We have had a lot of contact with them. Its cool.”
About a possible alternate DVD version of the film, Snyder spoke of the upcoming Black Freighter supplemental DVD that will be released in conjunction with the film by Warner Premiere. About the animated short film, Snyder told us:
“What we are hoping for is a Watchmen movie that has the Black Freighter in it. We’ve been working really hard on (the Black Freighter), and Warner Premier has done a really great job of putting that together for us. So hopefully we will be able to incorporate that back into the film at some point.”
And possibly the most important question of the day was about the film’s current running time. Snyder tells us:
“The run time right now is right around two hours and forty-three minutes. That’s in its current form. It could get shorter. I don’t know.”
For those still not in the know, Watchmen was created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and it is the only graphic novel to ever win the coveted Hugo Award, as well as appear on Time Magazine's 100 best English-language novels of the last 90 years. The story is set within an alternate reality version of 1985, with the plot following a group of superheroes that are investigating the mysterious death of one of their own. The United States is edging towards a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and these so-called "heroes" (only one of which has any real super powers) must deal with their own neurosis and failings. Fanboys and comic book aficionados alike are awaiting the arrival of the film with baited breath, and some have already called it a classic in the waiting without seeing one inch of film in context.
Not only did Zack answer important questions about the film, he also arrived at The Lot with a few canisters of film in tow, along with Costume designer Michael Wilkinson and production designer Alex McDowell, for a quick presentation that would only leave us drooling at the mouth. Like some sick pet owner, Snyder waved a couple of delicious treats in our face, and then pulled back, happy to hear our collective geek stomachs growl with anticipation. If what he showed us in half is as great when culminated into a whole, then we will truly have the next evolution of the comic book film. And you thought the The Dark Knight was ground breaking. Sister, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The clips were quite stirring, and it was almost sort of disappointing to have to watch them outside of the actual full-length feature film. More than most of you have read the graphic novel. Some of you even devoured the twelve-issue mini-series before it went on to win great praise. So the scenes won’t really act as spoilers for you. As far as a visual aesthetic goes, the film is absolutely beautiful to look at. It is gorgeous and very pulpy. Its framing reminded me a lot of Tim Burton’s original Batman, as the characters certainly seemed trapped within the confined walls of a comic book page. He has basically reconstructed the original source material with a sweeping, grand cinematic arc and feel. It is awe inspiring, and should illicit huge debates of just how awesome it really is when it finally gets released.
We were allowed to watch the first twelve minutes of the finished film, which revolves around an assassin arriving in Edward Blake’s apartment. This is the death of The Comedian, and it is magnificently book-ended with the iconic blood splashed smile face logo that has become the novel’s signature trademark. It is quite an extraordinary face push into the otherworldly realism the film is attempting to achieve. After The Comedian falls a few stories to his death, an astounding opening credit scene unspooled that reveals a bit of the history behind the origins of the Watchmen, and it comes on like one of the best opening credit sequences ever created. For a so-called super hero film, anyway. Yes, you will get an erection.
If this cinematic atom bomb hadn’t turned me into a true Watchmen believer, the next two scenes certainly would have. Snyder treated us to one of the more action packed sequences from the film, which finds Sally Jupiter and Nite Owl attempting to bust Rorschach out of prison. The fistfights are adrenaline fueled and quite fantastic, and the note ends with Walter Kovacs flushing a midget down a toilet, which soon overflows with blood. We were also allowed to watch Jon Osterman’s transformation into Dr. Manhattan, which provoked the preceding “penis” question. Let’s just say, when illuminated in glowing blue juice, Osterman is able to obliterate human flesh into a pulpy mess of dripping blood. All together, with the meaty man business in the front and the Shazam hands, this guy isn’t for the squeamish. All and all, it was sort of mind blowing for such a short presentation.
From what we were allowed to watch, there is no doubt in my mind that Watchmen will be considered one of the all time greatest superhero flicks ever brought to the silver screen. It is shaping up to be something quite special, lawsuit be damned. And now, all of a sudden, March 6th, 2009, just can’t get here soon enough.