Sunday, 14 August 2011

Watership Down

The basics  
Watership Down is a British film which was made in 1978. It was first a novel by Richard Adams and was published in 1972. It was directed by Martin Rosen and it is about tyranny, freedom, bravery, death and violence.
What is this film about?
At the beginning we get to meet two rabbits, Hazel and Fiver. Fiver starts to have visions of a soon coming doom to their warren and they go to tell their chief. The chief barely pays attention to what they have to say and dismisses their advice to move all the rabbits to somewhere else. Because of this Hazel and Fiver and a few more rabbits run away together to find a new home.      
My views on it
Do you remember when you were about seven and you sat down to watch a cartoon film about rabbits (rated U), then after the film you cried and then you had nightmares for about two weeks? If you do it was this film, Watership Down.
Coming across this film again (now in my twenties) I was interested to see my adult view on one of the most horrifying films in any kids childhood. In three simple words ……….. I loved it. Now I am able to appreciate this film on so many levels but I can still see why this film would be terrifying to a young audience.  In most cartoons there is this feeling of hyperreality, for example in Roadrunner you can watch Wile E. Coyote blow himself up or fall of a cliff numerous amounts of times and still laugh because it funny and you know he will be fine in the next clip. Watership Down does not really have this feeling of hyperreality, it all feels very realistic and when two of its main themes are death and violence it’s not hard to see why this film could be scary for a child. As an adult the sense of reality in this film is great, knowing that the consequences for the characters are real it makes you care for them more and it makes it more dramatic when it happens. Also because the theme of death is about as subtle as a brick to the face, it gives most of the film a wonderfully haunting feel as you watch.
Also there is underlying meanings that you can pick up.  One that most people seem to talk about is its view on totalitarian regime, mainly looking at Nazism (looking at the Efrafa warren and General Woundwort). This meaning wasn’t put in by the writer ‘Well, I don't think there's any pro or anti-society in Watership Down, it's simply a tale. […] It's only a made-up story, it's in no sense an allegory or parable or any kind of political myth.’ (Adams. R, 2008). He just wanted to write a story about bunnies, with knowing that it just makes me like it more.  But art is up for interpretation and if you wish to read into the political themes then go for it.
The animation in this film itself is another thing I really enjoyed about it. It is a bit too old to have had CGI and it didn’t have the budget of Disney but what they have done I think is great. The artwork in this film seems hand draw and painted and you can tell a lot of effort went into it. It is almost like watching a painting and there is something charming about that.
I would really recommend this film, especially to the people who seen it when they were young so they can watch it again and this time enjoy it. Just don’t show it to your kids.  
Favourite Quote 
Narrator: All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you... but first they must catch you.
Rating 4/5