Watership Down

Watership Down

4.4 26
Director: Martin Rosen

Cast: Martin Rosen, John Hurt, Richard Briers, Michael Graham Cox

     
 

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Unique in the annals of animated films, Watership Down is a serious, even grim tale that many will find relentless and depressing and others will find poetic and moving. It doesn't pull any punches. Death -- violent, disturbing death -- is ever present, portrayed in a manner that is astonishingly honest for a cartoon. As a result, it is that rare animated filmSee more details below

Overview

Unique in the annals of animated films, Watership Down is a serious, even grim tale that many will find relentless and depressing and others will find poetic and moving. It doesn't pull any punches. Death -- violent, disturbing death -- is ever present, portrayed in a manner that is astonishingly honest for a cartoon. As a result, it is that rare animated film that really aims for a mature audience, despite its superficial funny animal trappings. It has a brilliant opening, most likely created by UPA veteran John Hubley, which in a primitive and simplistic style relates a creation myth as told by rabbits. The style changes thereafter, with beautiful watercolor backgrounds and a more natural approach to character animation. Unfortunately, the animation suffers somewhat from this point, becoming a bit sloppy, although it continues to portray the characters' movements as realistically as possible. The character designs themselves are rather too similar, with the result that it is sometimes difficult to tell the various rabbits apart. The story is also sometimes told in too-broad strokes, leaving those unfamiliar with the novel confused as to exactly what has happened and, more importantly, why. However, these flaws are redeemed by some unforgettable sequences, including a chilling segment detailing the destruction of the rabbits' warren and a devastatingly sad end sequence in which the Black Rabbit of Death gently takes one of the heroes away with it. Voiced by a fine cast, with stellar work from John Hurt and Richard Briers, Watership Down is an imperfect film with some of the most powerful moments ever created for the genre.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
This unsung British gem, a 1978 animated version of the Richard Adams novel, is ripe for discovery. A distinguished voice cast -- including Ralph Richardson, John Hurt, Denholm Elliott, and Zero Mostel -- combines with captivating animation to bring the tale to life. The story concerns a group of rabbits who seek safe haven on high ground after leaving their endangered warren. A word of caution: This is not the "delightful" film "for all ages" that the box proclaims. It is a grim and often intense adventure in which the rabbits are at the mercy of animal predators, humans, and each other (in the form of the tyrannical General Woundwort and his minions). There is a goodly amount of blood spilled in several fight sequences. In short, it's not kid stuff, but for older children looking for more sophisticated animated fare, this is among the best non-Disney animated films ever made.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2004
UPC:
0018713832771
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
NR
Source:
Good Times Video
Region Code:
1
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:50:00

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Hurt Hazel
Richard Briers Fiver
Michael Graham Cox Bigwig
John Bennett Capt. Holly
Simon Cadell Blackberry
Roy Kinnear Pipkin
Richard O'Callaghan Dandelion
Terence Rigby Silver
Ralph Richardson Chief Rabbit
Denholm Elliott Cowslip
Zero Mostel Kehaar
Mary Maddox Clover
Hannah Gordon Hyzenthlay
Lyn Farleigh Cat
Harry Andrews Gen. Woundwort
Nigel Hawthorne Campion
Joss Ackland Black Rabbit
Clifton James Blackavar
Michael Hordern Frith
Derek Griffiths Vervain

Technical Credits
Martin Rosen Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Mike Batt Songwriter
Marcus Dods Musical Direction/Supervision
Angela Morley Score Composer
Terry Rawlings Editor

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Escape to Watership Down
1. Always Thinking [9:56]
2. Out Come Two [13:03]
3. Back to Efrafa [10:41]
4. Sniff of Danger [11:47]
5. Military Discipline [9:39]
6. Escape Tunnel [10:56]
Side #2 -- Journey to Watership Down
1. High, Lonely Hills [7:28]
2. Beeg Vater [6:07]
3. Frith's Blessing [6:41]
4. Gulls and Mice [8:37]
5. Bobstones Champion [5:32]
6. The Black Rabbit of Inle [8:54]

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