Dear Mr. Watterson

November 17th, 2013


Dear Mr. Watterson

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A documentary film about the impact of the newspaper comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, created by Bill Watterson.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 5.6/10 (151 voted)

Critic's Score: 56/100

Director: Joel Allen Schroeder

Stars: Berkeley Breathed, Jef Mallett, Stephan Pastis

A documentary film about the impact of the newspaper comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, created by Bill Watterson.

Berkeley Breathed - Himself
Seth Green - Himself
Stephan Pastis - Himself
Bill Amend - Himself
Jef Mallett - Himself
Dave Kellett - Himself
Jan Eliot - Herself
Lee Salem - Himself
Wiley Miller - Himself
Nevin Martell - Himself
Jean Schulz - Herself
Dan Piraro - Himself
Keith Knight - Himself
Lucas Turnbloom - Himself
Andrew Farago - Himself

Taglines: An Exploration of Calvin & Hobbes


Official Website: Official site

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 15 November 2013

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 1/10

Whilst this is an original and informative investigation of a much-beloved funny papers classic, in my view it's not really a very good film. I have two reasons for this. Firstly, a lot of what is said ranges from the pointless (inking errors vs deliberate mistakes) to foolish conjecture (the whole Snoopy rip-off angle), instead of focusing on the more conventional interpretations. Bill Watterson's creation is about imagination and coming of age, and his strip is the psychic receptiveness Calvin has which allows him to tune into his plushie tiger toy (and to a lesser extent his parents), with the central metaphor of the boiler blowing representing joy and life. Watterson's creation is the same idea, but in a more metaphysical context, with the boiler replaced by a maze (the actual one and the hotel's corridors) reflecting the layers of Calvin's psychosis. Nobody in this documentary mentions any of this; they're all convinced it's an allegory for something else, some cosmic key involving the number forty or whatever. There is nothing wrong with these ideas but they say a lot more about the people talking than they do about C&H. The second problem I have is the sound, which is pretty feeble. There are many good ideas here, like the Impossible Window, or the daydream theatre, and there are some great visual touches too, especially the interviews with random contempoary cartoonists.

Watterson's creations are rich in the sense that plot-wise they are loose (to the point of exasperation sometimes) but visually they are packed with stuff going on - each frame is filled with interesting things that he carefully considered in a way other cartoonists either didn't care about or simply didn't have time for. This is why they are all so open to such a huge variety of interpretation. He pushed the medium to artistic limits, but he also understood its raison d'etre and key strengths - storytelling, drama, action and suspense - something all these folks have overlooked.


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