Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dr Manhattan's (funky) Transformation Watchmen

So when reading the book I was too engrossed in the overall story and didn't notice some really funky things that I did while watching the movie. It could be that movie was dragging at points and I already knew what was going on or it could be that some things are just plain ridiculous when we think of them in more realistic terms. Dr. Manhattan's transformation from Jonathan (Jon) Osterman to "Dr. Manhattan" (and some of his activities) is just one of those things -

1) Osterman decides to get totally ripped when "re-assembling" himself into Dr. Manhattan -
So did you see how Jon Osterman looks both in the graphic novel and Watchmen movie? He's a thin, stoopy guy who possibly can't even spell gym and would explode at the mere sight of a dumbbell! The way he stumbles around shows that the first time he ran was when he got himself locked into that Intrinsic field chamber thingy.

But one day it all changes when he has the opportunity to "re-assemble" himself!! He figures that since he's gonna re-create himself atom by atom, it wouldn't hurt to add some extra muscle, take out fat and just get freakishly ripped!! And now look at him!! As Dr. Manhattan he looks like a freaking amateur weight bodybuilder on competition diet! Well we couldn't blame the good physicist for finally adding some free muscle could we!

2) Why the hell is Dr. Manhattan blue anyway and why the hell does he glow - Actually, I've wondered this one for quite a while. Why is he blue? He has complete control over all matter at subatomic levels so he could "color" himself to look just like he used to. You know, more like a human being may be! But no, our good doc decides that blue is the new "rad" and goes all bright blue glowy.

The "glowy" part is even more important because there is no reason for him to glow! Glowing actually requires him to emit energy out of his body and therefore requires more energy to just maintain that body! Does he *need* to glow to survive? Does he just use his body for some extra lighting? Is it just that bright blue happens to be Dr. Osterman's favorite color? Was he planning to join the blue men group? My guess is that Dr. Osterman wanted to start a blue themed rock band as a kid but couldn't realize his dream even after going through all the trouble of re-assembling himself in glowy blue color because of that little responsibility called crime fighting! This also explains why he is so detached - the guy is simply depressed! Cruel world innit!

3) Why the hell is Dr. Manhattan naked all the time - This is also one of those things that I'd sympathize with him for not doing considering the laundry, ironing, folding, dry-cleaning and stuff that I've to go through every few days. But still, he is Dr.-freaking-Manhattan, he can just create the clothes of his choice out of thin air! As Osterman he went through all the trouble of re-assembling each little part of his body and mind you, human body is quite intricate and I should remind you that *everything* works on the blue guy ;)!

So what is so difficult about just adding some clothes too? Mind you that it's not about his overall detachment from the material world and stuff either, because initially he did start out as a fully clothed super hero and he does wear clothes on special occasions like that press conference. But almost all other times he is stark naked when he could simply synthasize a jeans and t-shirt as extension to his body and just keep them on all the time! No extra effort required and poor Rorschach spared of the unsightly glimpses of the big swinging bight blue dong. The only conclusion that I can draw is that Jon Osterman was totally into the whole nudist lifestyle all the time and he finally got the opportunity/excuse to live the way he always wanted to - the great bright blue hanging dong lifestyle right out of Osterman's teenage years! Hey if even Rorschach is ok with it, who would dare complain!

4) Why did Dr. Manhattan choose to go to Mars - Now, I get this that Dr. Manhattan wanted to get as far away from Earth as he could so as not to infect (after being accused of being carcinogenic) any other human being. But why Mars? Why not Moon or Venus or Jupiter or Saturn? Why teleport anywhere at all for that matter, why not just dismantle the body? He doesn't need the a human-like body to survive, he has just created himself that way because he used to look like that a long time ago. But I'm digressing, so why did he choose Mars? Anything special about Mars that is not true for our Moon or any of the other heavenly bodies out there? I guess only Alan Moore can answer this one.

5) Why did Dr. Manhattan create a freaking clock on Mars - I understand that Alan Moore wanted to basically show the timelessness of Dr. Manhattan's thoughts and thats what that particular chapter is all about. But why get your character to create a freaking clock if you wanted to talk about time? This happens to be one of the things that never really made sense to me in terms of the story.

Dr. Manhattan going to Mars and creating a clock out of sand simply doesn't fit in anywhere. Was the clock simply some sort of a side-effect of his thoughts (yeah the guy sh-ts clocks when he thinks about time)? Is making gigantic clocks out of sand something people naturally tend to do when on Mars (and we don't know it because we haven't been there)? Was he trying to create a home or mansion or some sort?

6) So *everything* does work on the big guy - Again going back to the re-assembly phase and the big blue swinging dong part of the story, why does Dr. Manhattan need all those *ahem* body parts? Does he eat and drink and just needs a big blue dong for his body to function? I think not. Does he need it to, well, be with his girlfriends? It doesn't look that way because he obviously no longer enjoys having sex with them or else he wouldn't be doing his experiments while "pleasing" Laurie at the same time (hey no human being could!).

And this is beside the point that, since his transformation, Dr. Manhattan's member has somehow managed to lengthened to highly-paid-porn-star's variety proportions even in completely flaccid state! Ofcourse if that is something that he always had to start with then I've to say that he was really wasting his life with all the physics stuff when he could have made a fortune as Mr. Dong-Romeo in Las Vegas! But I've to say that while re-assembling himself he did manage to get everything right, just the way he always wanted as a prominent nuclear physicist!

More about Dr. Manhattan -

Zack Snyder's blunders in Watchmen - What Zack Snyder must've been thinking Part I

What Watchmen movie was missing - What Watchmn Graphic novel had but movie didn't

To read some of Dr. Manhattan's memorable quotes, click - Dr. Manhattan's memorable quotes from Watchmen

To find some funny details about Dr. Manhattan's personal life, click - Dr. Manhattan's personal life and his girlfriend Silk Spectre

To find about other Watchmen character's super powers and super craziness, click - Watchmen character's super powers and super craziness


  1. I see Manhattan only as part human, that also can be based on his abilities. As he is not full human, therefore he doesn't look like one. He made appearance more suitable for himself. Clothes are for maintaining body temperature primary, not for elegance. He doesn't need to maintain temperature, as he even "walked on a surfase of the sun". Why bother to cover beautiful muscles he has?

  2. Short answer to all of those is "because hes no longer human, not bound by human limits and he chooses to"

    But for a longer answer.

    1. Why does this trouble you so. He is well past any human limit, he probobly could look like anything. His appearce his no doubt some idealised form .We all imagine ourselves to be fitter, stronger or more good looking than we really are, in his case this idealizes self image can be made real.

    2. Chekhov radiation

    3. Again, not human and also rapidly loseing whats left of his humanity. Its not that it was too much effot, its that he just no longer cared about such things.

    4. While your right that he could have gone anywhere why is the fact that he chose Mars so strange? Its like questioning why someone would choose a burger over a hotdog, They were hungry and got some food, mabe they liked burgers better. Mabe he just liked Mars.

    At that time the Moon, venus and Mars were places, they'd been visited by probes. the other planets were just distant points of light in the eyes of most. From the Moon you could still see the earth, Venus is not really a place for queit contemplation, leaveing Mars. Though he could have gone anywhere Mars seems like a logical chiose, a Known place that quiet and far away from Earth.

    5. His father was watch maker and he himself was trained in it as a boy. As for why make it, perhaps ,after the events of the day, he was takeing solice in something familar. Something to clear his mind and get his head togther.

    6. Though all the parts are there its just for show he can use them but he doesnt need them. He could draw breath, mabe even feel it in his lungs but he wouldn't get any benifet from it.

    Just my thoughts on the matter. Apoligies for the bad spelling, copy/paste seems to be disabled here.

  3. I think Manhattan is blue because he is an embodiment of Vishnu, the Hindu God. He is Alan Moore's allusion to the supreme deity of Hinduism. Look up Vishnu. Manhattan even says something VERY similar to Vishnu from the Bhagavad Gita. He says something like, "All that there is, is all that will ever be..." Well there are several scriptures from the Bhagavad Gita along the same lines.

  4. @Anonymous: Thanks for the comment, thats a pretty interesting thought! :) It never occurred to me but now it makes perfect sense! Moore used Dr. Manhattan as a proxy for God and that is referred to as an "Avatar" in Hinduism and most important Avatars in Hinduism (Rama and Krishna) are generally pictured with blue skin color! Good thinking there man!