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The big blue junk (a “Watchmen” addendum)

Warning: contains action-related spoilers.

Ok. The “Watchmen” movie includes all of the following scenes, and more: a man being beaten and thrown out of a skyscraper; dogs chewing on the leg-bone of a little girl who’s been raped, butchered, and murdered; the subsequent death of those dogs; a man’s skull split open multiple times with a cleaver; the point-blank shooting of a pregnant woman; the brutal beating and attempted rape of another woman; several people being burned alive; a man’s face melted by boiling-hot oil; a man’s arms severed with a circle saw so that he bleeds to death on the spot; innumerable head-shootings; and multiple people who are literally blown apart into bits, whereupon those bits splatter onto walls, bystanders, and hang, dripping, from ceiling grates. And yet, the most frequent complaint about “disturbing imagery” that I’ve heard leveled at this movie is that there are too many scenes of (un-erect) full-frontal male nudity involving a glowing blue cartoon character.

America? You are seriously messed up.

19 Discussions on
“The big blue junk (a “Watchmen” addendum)”
  • Molly, couldn’t agree with you more. I loved the film, and mostly the violence didn’t bother me that much (though the off-at-the-elbows scene in the jail I actually looked away from) but the blue penis? Seriously? That’s what everybody is upset about? And the boring love scene? Come on…

    Of course the movie is imperfect. The girl who plays Silk Spectre isn’t very good. The ending is plain out stupid. And of course they kill the best character. But I still loved it.

    If it was up to me, I’d have toned down the violence a bit, and shortened it a little. But I’m okay with how it turned out. Its what it was meant to be. They hired Snyder because he had done 300 as a literal translation, and that’s what everybody wanted here. And made tons of money at it. Doesn’t feel like this one is going to be as successful, but we’ll see.

    And my favorite Jackie Earl Haley movie was Breaking Away. 1979. Boy this guy has been around for a while…

  • I was under the impression it was RATED R for a reason. The movie followed the graphic novel pretty close including the blue penis. The director Zach Snyder did the remake of Dawn of the Dead as well so I knew what I was getting into when I saw it. One more thing to point out….it’s just a movie. I enjoyed visual style of the movie along with the ambient score they had. The actor Jackie Earle Haley who played Rorschach was awesome!!! He was in The original Bad News Bears as Kelly Leak!

  • TrishMvhl, you are sure right about one thing – I was sadly misinformed about this movie. I have never read the novel, never even heard of it. A friend told me it was based on a “graphic cartoon”. Teach me to listen to him. I would have been a little better prepared when I took my wife to see it. Oh well, live and learn.

  • The skull cleavering was done in silhouette, but still brutal. The violence is scattered… not constantly in your face. Fighting off a gang of thugs in an alley isn’t going to be pretty. If they wanted to tone it down the movie would’ve been rated “PG”. I had moments of wincing for sure but I wasn’t expecting it to be sanitized for my protection. Everyone’s comfort level is different of course… what’s unbearable for one person may be just unpleasant to another. You just have to make a judgement call.

    Donriho, this film was *never* advertised as based on a cartoon. You were either misinformed or misremembered. It’s faithfully based on the graphic novel. The fact that it is rated “R” should be a flag to parents that this is not intended for young kids.

    I loved the film but I’m a bit biased. An yes, I find the puritanical streak in this country regarding the human body ridiculous.

  • donriho: when on earth was it advertised as based on a cartoon?

    It is based on the graphic novel that is the compiled book from the 12 issue miniseries. At no point has anyone implied it as being from some cheerful cartoon, and dude, it’s directed by the guy who did *300*.

    The movie has been rated Rated R, for ‘strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language’. Any parent who ignores the rating in order to take a child in is, in my opinion, sort of an idiot.

  • I must give out some massive kudos. I’ve actually not seen the movie yet (will be soon), so I can’t say that I agree or disagree about this film. However, it bothers me immensely that you can show someone’s face being cleft open with a chainsaw then slow-mo zoom in to detail of their brain being ground into a fine slurry by the chain on prime-time television (on any of the forensics shows, say), but if you show an erect penis in a film you’re an evil corrupter and you also garner an X or maybe NC-17 rating.

    That said, I can’t agree with the comment that it’s problematic that the movie is based on a “cartoon”. On the one hand, the film is rated R in the U.S. The full rating is: “Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language.” If a parent insists on bringing a child to an R-rated film, then I really don’t think that it’s the film’s fault if the child is scarred by the experience. Also, all of the media indicates that this isn’t a happy-go-lucky “cartoon”. And lastly, it’s hardly reprehensible to advertise a film as being based on a graphic novel is the film really is based on a graphic novel. If anything, maybe it should serve as a wake-up call to parents who think that cartoons and graphic novels and movies based thereon are automatically safe for small children.

  • I hate the fact that this is advertised as based on a cartoon. I wonder how many parents will bring their kids in to watch this decidedly violent and altogether terrible film.

  • Did you notice the only change made to the story that wasn’t made to increase the pace?
    The Graphic Novel says that The Silhouette and her partner were murdered ‘by an old enemy’ after she was kicked out of the Minutemen (when exposed as a lesbian). But in the movie she was overtly homosexual from the start, and her death was a hate-crime.

    I have to say I didn’t read from novel that the hero’s would have super-human strength, I was quite surprised (and very excited) to see them flinging bad guys through the air.
    I felt the replaced threat of extinction didn’t make a lot of sense. (I’d say more, but it would ruin the plot.

  • I wouldn’t even have noticed the full frontal cartoon nudity if the audience wasn’t filled with teenagers who were giggling at every appearance. *sigh*

    I have a friend from Spain who’s shocked by how much violence is on American TV. He’s equally shocked by our reaction to on screen sexuality. He says Americans who visit Spain are often shocked by the amount of sex on Spanish TV. Guess it’s just a holdover from our Puritan roots.

    The violence in the movie shocked me a few times. It wasn’t enough to turn my stomach, but it was enough to catch my attention.

  • kumarhk: yeah, I liked the movie, actually. I’m probably as desensitized as the rest of America (although I wasn’t FREAKING THE HELL OUT about the big blue junk, so maybe I’m just desensitized all the way around). Interestingly, though, I think the movie was much MORE violent, at least graphically, than the comic. The novel alludes to all these themes, and it’s got a lot of violence and extreme darkness, but there’s none of the ridiculous exploding people gore.

  • I have not yet seen this film. The other reviews I’ve read went on about how great the movie was and discussed how it related to the source material. None of them mentioned the level or nature of the violence depicted. I am no longer interested in seeing it.

    Thank you for the review, and for your (as usual) penetrating intelligence and incisive analysis.

  • Thank you, Molly, that made me literally fall off my chair laughing.

    Yeah, America is seriously messed up.

    But did you like the film? I’ve read the comic many times, and IMO it’s quite necessary to have a lot of gore if the superhero genre and mythos is going to be satirized fully. If superheros actually existed, would the world not be in that much chaos?

  • I COMPLETELY agree with you! For the most part, I’m not against seeing some gore and violence in movies, but Watchmen was simply over the top in this regard. I was shocked that my friends weren’t affected the same way that I was, and I was even more surprised that not a single review I’ve read has mentioned how utterly disgusting some parts of this movie were.

    Glad I’m not the only one who thought Watchmen was too gory,

  • what do you expect if you live in a country where music downloaders are prosecuted, while sex offenders (rapists and child molesters) are entered into some obscure database and walk freely.

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