Review: Watership Down
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital: Watership Down (1978)
Lovely fluffy animated bunnies frolicking in a field. Oh look, they talk as well! AND it has that nice song by Art Garfunkel in it too. Let’s gather the kids around the television and watch this together.
The above is just some of the things that people who never read the book or watched the movie thought before putting on the VHS version for the first time many years ago.
Cue scrambling adults not knowing whether to reach for the VHS ‘stop’ button first, or to grab a handful of tissues to wipe away the tears from their kids eyes.
Based on the novel by Richard Adams (which I read and thoroughly enjoyed in primary school years before the movie was made), Watership Down tells the tale of a small group of rabbits who escape into an unknown countryside after finding out that their warren will be destroyed.
Faced with a multitude of challenges, the group must (literally) fight to survive, encountering various enemies, but also making new friends along the way too.
The animation is superb and has never looked better as on this Blu-ray release, while the voice acting by the likes of John Hurt, Richard Briers, Simon Cadell, Roy Kinnear, Denholm Elliott and many more, bring life to the animated characters and creates a deep empathy for them, which makes the shocking parts of the narrative hit even harder.
Toned down from the novel, Watership Down still has enough emotional punches to bring a tear to even the most hardened of adults, so be aware when showing to children, and especially the younger ones.
However, at its heart, Watership Down is a tale of survival, of never giving up, of friendship and hope. Something that we all can learn from.
Now over 40 years old, this story of ‘rabbits on the run’ is still a heartwarming and heartbreaking experience that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Al together now…”Bright eyes, burning like fire…“
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