Sunday, March 8, 2009

Putting the Graphic in the Graphic Novel: The Watchmen and Dr. Johnson

So, I went to see the Watchmen Friday morning. That's right, I took off work and went to see it at 11:30 AM. A gazillion other bloggers are thoroughly covering whether it was good or not, whether it was faithful or not, whether it is worth watching or not.

Me, I want to know what was up with Dr. Manhattan's CG Johnson.

It's not that I begrudge him having one, nor that I'm such a prude that I object to seeing it in the movie. It's just that, well, it was kind of more prominent than I expected. See, in the graphic novel, it's depicted, but it's just about what you might expect and consequently, you don't spend all that much time dwelling on it. In the movie version, however, it's considerably more...present. It's not just that it's bigger--although it is way bigger (check the graphic novel)--it's also that it bobbles and swings about and generally makes a spectacle of itself. The thing is kind of a scene stealer--and not in a good way.

Anyway, I don't want to dwell on this too long, but I am curious why they felt compelled to mess with Manhattan's endowment. Did they feel it was necessary in order to convey the full extent of his God-like power? Was it an art director's choice? Did the director demand it? Was it just an accident of motion capture and a credit to the motion capture actor?

However you look at it, it just didn't seem faithful to the original. And it also made me wonder which of the animators actually animated it. I didn't see any specific reference in the end credits, but the thing was so animated that I had to wonder. It might have been fun to be a fly on the wall during the conversations in which the penis animator was getting his direction and having his work reviewed.

"Oh, and Tim?"

"Yes, Mr. Snyder?"

"Can you swing the dingus a little more? And add a bit of a twist?"

"Certainly, sir."

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