Watchmen (Rated R; 2 hours, 40 minutes): My comic-book superheroes were modest. Batman, Superman, Robin … they wore some tight tights, probably some tape was involved, but you always knew where the action was going on.
It was all happening above the utility belt.
Not so much with the Watchmen — especially Dr. Manhattan. True to the graphic novel, Dr. Manhattan walks around most of the movie without a stitch on. Granted, it’s only full-frontal CGI nudity, but it’s a bit jarring.
It made me uncomfortable. I glanced around and saw the grade-school kids giggling away while they sat with the adults.
Now, going into the movie, Watchmen followers are well aware of the nude and sex scenes.
But not everyone has the time to dig up the graphic novel as a point of reference. This movie was mass-marketed and mass-released with a blood-dripped smiley face as an icon. And judging from the trailers, you never know that the blue-skinned Dr. Manhattan is any more naked than Sgt. Pepper’s Blue Meanies or the Smurfs.
But he is.
And the adults who escorted kids into the movie probably weren’t expecting the nudity. I could chide them for not bringing anything to the table, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt this time, again because of the marketing.
Of course, you can argue that seeing people evaporated into chunks of meat is brutal enough for an R rating. It is. The carnage is worse than a few glimpses at skin and appendages and a few foul words.
But it wouldn’t have hurt for Dr. Manhattan to at least slip into some boxers.
RANT OVER, THE REVIEW: Watchmen attempts to be an epic. But it has way too many stories going on. The back stories bog down the movie. It’s preachy.
From a filmography standpoint, it’s memorable. Great CGI, the kind that made 300 and Sin City fun to watch. The 1970s and ’80s music gave it life.
It’s not the worst way to spend nearly three hours.
BEST TIME FOR A BATHROOM BREAK: It’s not easy to find a quick escape because of the constant dialogue to establish the back stories. Just pick any time and ask the kid in the next row what you missed.
DISTRACTING NEWSPAPER SCENES: Yes, it’s 1985 America. But the fact that the broadsheet newspapers that are flashing headlines are printed on a 48-inch web width is distracting. Really.
DATE MOVIE: Not sure. You can bet Dr. Manhattan will prompt a discussion.
AVAILABILITY NOW: It’s on DVD/Blu-Ray and you might catch an edited version on cable. Dr. Manhattan has some shorts on in the cable version.