HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mighty Wind, A
Man at the Top
Guru the Mad Monk
Jezebel
Monos
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
   
 
Newest Articles
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
   
 
  Watership Down Rabbitting OnBuy this film here.
Year: 1978
Director: Martin Rosen
Stars: John Hurt, Richard Briers, Michael Graham Cox, John Bennett, Harry Andrews, Zero Mostel, Roy Kinnear, Simon Cadell, Hannah Gordon, Michael Hordern, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Richardson, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Griffiths, Joss Ackland, Terence Rigby
Genre: Animated, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: The rabbits have a legend of how they came to be which tells of a time when all animals ate plants until the rabbits became too prosperous and the god Frith was forced to introduce predators into their world - yet Frith also gave them the power to outrun danger. When rabbit Fiver (Richard Briers) has a vision of the warren he lives in being destroyed, he persuades his brother Hazel (John Hurt) to round up some friends and escape to set up a new warren elsewhere, because rabbits have the ability to flee given to them by Frith. But there are many dangers ahead...

Remember when The Goodies spoofed this? With the TV presenters in bunny costumes? No? Anyway, Martin Rosen adapted Richard Adams' classic nature novel for the screen in cartoon form. As with the book, this story is not necessarily a children's story, the animation is far from cuddly for the most part, shaded in browns, greens and greys rather than the bright primary colours you might have expected from an animation aimed at family audiences. The creatures are recognisable from real life, yet it's clear that this is a project Disney would never have taken on.

This is a dark film: the rabbits are said, in their own folklore, to have a thousand enemies and watching this you can believe it. They are threatened at every turn by men, dogs, cats, hawks, busy roads and even other rabbits - the shadow of death hangs over them. They have such a bad time of it that you can't help but warm to their determination and endurance; it's oddly moving at times. It's a film about survivors and that is never clearer when Hazel leads his small band out into the wider world and encounter a warren that exists to feed the men who may provide food, but also set snares for them to be caught for the pot.

While you may have a problem in telling the rabbits apart (even their voices sound unexpectedly similar), the important characters are strong enough not to make things too confusing. Kehaar the seagull (Zero Mostel) provides some welcome light relief, and General Woundwort (Harry Andrews) is suitably menacing. Angela Morley's music plays an vital part in creating the atmosphere of the film, and, of course, there's Art Garfunkel singing Mike Batt's song "Bright Eyes", which was number one for the whole of 1979 (or it seemed like it).

And that song is a case in point as to how unsentimental this is, especially considering Rosen and his team could have gone for easy tears throughout. When "Bright Eyes" plays it is at the sequence where Hazel has been left for dead from a shotgun wound, and Fiver goes back to save him, unwilling to accept his brother is lost to them; like the rest, it comes across as far from corny but touches the heart all the same. In its latter stages, Watership Down turns into a war movie with rabbits, from a P.O.W. escape story to one of actual combat as Hazel attempts to set up his own society apart from the fascistic General Woundwort. By the finale, we have met some brave animals from the rabbits to their seagull friend (and yes, he does yell "Piss off!" when introduced), and have felt a newfound admiration for the furry crusaders. No, I'm alright... just something in my eye, that's all...
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 12716 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: