Dear Mr. Watterson - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dear Mr. Watterson Reviews

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June 2, 2017
I love, love, love the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes! This movie, I just liked. It's much too long for the little "new" material/information it provides. However, I really liked the computer graphics that are in it, and it revived the love of C&H in my cellular structure! So much so, that after this, I'm gathering up all of my book collections, and reading them with my 9 year old girl! :-) Then, I'm off to go play an inning? round? quarter?, of Calvin Ball!! "... let's go exploring!"
½ August 17, 2016
Another review, scratched...grrr
May 22, 2016
Will have to dig out the books and escape again
May 7, 2016
Definitely a must-see for fans of the strip, with all the historical information you could ask for on it, though it doesn't emotionally expand far beyond reflecting fan-love and watching people read.
March 6, 2016
At first this looked like a vapid love fest with an awful soundtrack. As it goes on you get as close a look at the secretive and idealistic Watterson as one can ever hope for. Many of the interviews were top rate.
September 13, 2015
A delightful doc about Calvin & Hobbes
½ July 17, 2015
This documentary is little more or less than a parade of people talking about how much they adore Calvin & Hobbes. This would have made for a dull and monotonous affair, if not for the genuine love that radiates from the many, many admirers of Dear Mr. Watterson. If you are a fan of the great comic strip, it's quite likely that you will enjoy this one.
June 22, 2015
Certainly NOT what I had hoped for.
May 14, 2015
It probably would have worked better as a one-hour special, but fans of the comic strip will enjoy this documentary.
April 17, 2015
A must for anyone who grew up with Calvin and Hobbes. A great story.
March 8, 2015
the ways Calvin and Hobbes influence people. hour of hero worship. zzzzz..... very little about the author
February 12, 2015
I just love Calvin and Hobbes. Wish there was more here to discover.
November 9, 2014
Because I love Calvin and Hobbes.
October 30, 2014
cute enough, really love the comic, this doc is just ok.
September 20, 2014
a loving awesome tribute to calvin and hobbes i know getting an interview with bill watterson is impossible but the entire time you wish you could meet the man behind the comics which ultimately holds the movie back from being as awesome as the director and the audience wants it to be
August 26, 2014
There are few childhood introductions that you remember. I don't remember meeting extended family members for the first time as a 4 year old or meeting my kindergarten teacher. I do however remember the first time I met 'Calvin and Hobbes'. I was 5 years old, and my mother brought home a really interesting looking book from the bookstore one day. I was inherently drawn to the incredible artwork on the cover of my mothers copy of 'The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes' treasury, which she kept on the highest shelf in our living room. My mother would only let me read it if I promised to take good care of it and give it back to her when I was done. Over time, I fell so in love with the strip that I would scale the book shelves (which seemed like climbing Mount Everest at the time) to sneak some time with Calvin and his tiger.

Looking back, I can't say that anything else from my childhood has managed to preserve its wonder, relevance and wisdom in my world the way 'Calvin and Hobbes' has. Its easy to see why I loved it as a 5 year old. The artwork, the outward funniness of the strip, the imagination, etc. But now in my late 20's, I have found so many more reasons to love these characters. 'Calvin and Hobbes' is about so much more than funny jokes. It is about the wonderment of childhood, friendship, the power of imagination, integrity, nature, philosophy, the human condition, life and death, individuality, and so much more. I really can't think of anything (other than my parents) who influenced my world and my view of it more than 'Calvin and Hobbes'. It is something I hold very dearly, and wouldn't trade for the world.

'Dear Mr. Watterson' is essentially everything I just said spelled out through interviews with other cartoonists, avid fans, influenced celebrities, and cartoon historians. As a film, I can't say that it was a tremendous documentary. It was somewhat scattershot and lacked a real structure. Based simply on its own merit, I would probably rate it a 3/5. It really doesn't bring anything new to the table or present any unique take on its subject matter. It is essentially 90 minutes of hero worship to the strip and its creator, the enigmatic Bill Watterson. That said, hero worship is just fine by me. I completely enjoyed seeing all these people who were touched by 'Calvin and Hobbes' the way I was and hearing their stories. As much as this film lacked a strong overall focus and lineage, I enjoyed every second of it.

The film does spend a fair amount of time dissecting Watterson's infamous battles with Universal Syndicate and the licensing of his characters. I personally find Watterson's unflinching and unbreakable artistic ethics one of the more inspiring examples I have ever seen. The man turned down literally tens of millions (and perhaps much more) of dollars to maintain what he believed in and the integrity of his art. He turned down pitches from Spielberg, Disney, Lucas, ABC, and dozens of other incredibly high profile offers, as well as every type of merchandizing under the sun. Watterson understood what his characters were and how they were intended to be viewed. The idea of Hobbes selling MetLife insurance turns my stomach, and the fact that Watterson flat out refused obscene paycheck after obscene paycheck to keep that from happening is remarkable.

The film also gets into many more of Watterson's facets: his borderline reclusive personality, complete adverseness to fame, his history, and his influences among them. However, the films primary focus remains on the strip itself, the undeniable impact it had on so many peoples lives, and why it remains so important.

'Calvin and Hobbes' left an indelible mark on my life and my worldview. 15 years after its conclusion, I miss the strip more than I miss most people I knew 15 years ago. While I will always selfishly want more, I am so happy the strip never sold out, never waivered, and never lost the impossibly high standards Watterson set for himself. 'Dear Mr. Watterson' is a love letter to all of these thoughts, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
½ August 18, 2014
"Dear Mr. Watterson" tells the story of Calvin and Hobbes, a comic strip that defied industry standards and ended in its prime. There is a lot more to this strip than a simple cartoon boy with an active imagination. The strip itself has been lauded as one of the greatest of all time. The stylized social commentary is genius in its own rite and is then combined with some of the best artistry in the industry. The sterotypes and social issues of our society are exaggerated in the imagination of this young boy, but always in a comical way. It appeals to all age groups, from kids who think that the tiger is cute to adults who are amused by Calvin's view of the adult world. But this documentary explores even deeper layers by examining the man behind the comic. Do not expect to see an interview with Bill Watterson in this documentary. That is part of the mystery. After completing Calvin and Hobbes, he removed himself from the public eye and lives in privacy with his wife. He rarely gives an interview, not even for a documentary about his life. Watterson ended the comic after a mere ten years to avoid a formulaic comic that repeated itself. He also passed on tens of millions of dollars that could have been made in merchandise because he did not want to cheapen his characters. Many of his colleagues share their perspectives on Watterson's choices throughout this documentary and it is amazing to see the level of respect that the community has for Watterson and his Calvin and Hobbes comic. He did not create this comic to make money. He created it for his love of comics, and consequently impacted most people who lived between 1985-1995. I have personally felt this impact of this comic, selecting a panel from a Calvin and Hobbes strip to be recreated as a painting in first grade. Perhaps the greatest moment of this comic was its final strip. It is so simple and perfect, and open to many different interpretations. I believe that Watterson is telling us that our childhood never has to end. That even when we move on to something new, we should approach it with the open-mindedness and imagination of a child, and that we should never stop exploring. If you were not a Calvin and Hobbes fan before watching this documentary, you certainly will be afterwards. Now please excuse me while I borrow one of the Calvin and Hobbes collections to relive my childhood.
July 30, 2014
A great documentary style movie for Calvin and Hobbes fans.
½ July 29, 2014
'Dear Mr. Watterson' is documentary that chronics the famed cartoonist's most popular comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

The film plays out like a love letter. It includes tons and tons of interviews from average Joe's who enjoyed the comic strip as well as a few notable names including fellow cartoonists and Seth Green. They all explain why the comic helped them grow and what they loved about it, and that's great and all but by the end of the film that's really all the content we're given.

Beyond countless interviews by people who continuously say they enjoyed the comic and that it was a masterpiece, they're just wasn't enough to the movie besides that. Instead of feeding us facts or information that most documentaries do, it instead just says I love you. The film really doesn't document Calvin and Hobbes, because to document is to tell about its history and the film simply didn't do that.

Sure, the film is fairly sweet but after 20 minutes it simply becomes sour. It doesn't hold your interest, no matter how comfy it may be. It simply would've worked better as a half hour special rather than as a full length film. There's just not enough content presented to justify a feature length.

All and All, 'Dear Mr. Watterson' would've served better as a half hour special rather than as a feature length film. It overdoses on love and lacks any real content or information that makes for strong documentaries. C- 6/29/14

'Dear Mr. Watterson' is unrated. It's appropriate for 10 and up, but outside of Calvin and Hobbes fans, they may not show much interest in this one.
½ July 22, 2014
Well done documentary on a little talked about sector/profession, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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