November 22, 2013 in Features, Seven

Documentary pays tribute to ‘Calvin’ and strip’s creator

By The Spokesman-Review


‘Dear Mr. Watterson’

Credits: Directed by Joel Allen Schroeder, with Berkeley Breathed, Seth Green, Stephan Pastis, Jef Mallett, Bill Amend

Running time/rating: 1:30, unrated

If, when you first heard about “Dear Mr. Watterson,” you feared it was going to be some grotesque exercise along the lines of stalking J. D. Salinger, you can relax.

Joel Allen Schroeder’s documentary is a devoted fan’s earnest appreciation of the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip. It is not an invasion of famously reclusive creator Bill Watterson’s privacy.

If you did not love that precociously jaded little boy and the stuffed tiger animated by his robust imagination, this is not the movie for you. Same goes if somehow the strip has escaped your attention over the years. The real magic of “Calvin & Hobbes” awaits in any of the many collections.

“Dear Mr. Watterson” is a bit plodding. Even the serious devotee won’t be riveted every second. But if you found the strip hilarious, trenchant and occasionally quite moving, watching bright people talk about “Calvin” is an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.

Just one thing. Don’t leave before the end of the credits.

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