Based on the hit novel by British author Richard Adams, Watership Down gas been adapted as a 2018 four-part miniseries from BBC and released in the United States thanks to the streaming service Netflix.
At the rabbit warren of Sandleford, young hare Fiver (James McAvoy) has an apocalyptic vision where he sees humans destroying the holes. With his brother Hazel (James McAvoy) and Bigwig (John Boyega), a rabbit soldier called an Owsla, they set out with a few hares to start a new warren. Along the way, they meet the rabbit doe Strawberry (Olivia Colman) as they search for a place called Watership Down.
Along the way, they encounter hungry foxes, territorial birds, a trigger-happy farmer, an evil cat, a hungry dog, but even worse, a warren of rabbits led by the sadistic General Woundwort (Ben Kingsley) who wishes to conquer other rabbit warrens.
The movie uses CGI animation to bring the story to life and while it did seem rudimentary, they do a good job of showing the emotion of the animals. I also want to praise the voice cast. Each of the actors and actresses were clearly chosen with care. They all brought a uniqueness to the rabbits they were voicing and gave each one an added flare of personality.
Of course, being a British production, they had to take a jab at gun culture. Minor spoilers in this paragraph: the poor, innocent rabbits were chased by a cruel shotgun blasting farmer. After the ordeal, the rabbits make comments about the evil of humanity and how human think “destruction takes skill.” These sentiments are not in the original novel (which I have read). While respect for nature is central to the book, there is not an anti-gun message shoved down the throat of the reader like it briefly does in the miniseries.
Aside from that, the story is very grim and is more in-line with the darker animated films prior to the 2010s. This was refreshing change of pace from the poorly developed cartoon movies produced by the major studios.
An interesting fact about the original novel (published in 1972), it was criticized by feminists in the 1990s for its display of “gender roles” in the rabbit colonies. The author would eventually write a sequel with more prominent female characters. While we ponder the rise of special snowflakes, it seems that they were starting to ramp up over twenty years ago. Why do we take these critics (who clearly need a real job) seriously?
Fortunately, while the female characters do have larger roles in the new miniseries, it is not to the point of third wave feminism. It is an excellent adaption of the novel and can be enjoyed by the family, but parents should be wary of the dark tones of each episode.
FAVORITE QUOTE: I think you’ve given us a… a home.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Mild language, Violence, Disturbing Scenes
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my review of Battlecats Volume 1: The Hunt For The Dire Beast and the DC Comics movie Aquaman. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
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