With its naturalistic hand-drawn animation, dreamily expressionistic touches, gorgeously bucolic background design, and elegant voice work from numerous superb English actors, Watership Down is an emotionally arresting, dark-toned allegory about freedom amid political turmoil.
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Surprisingly dark and violent animated fable affectionately produced with an inspired vocal cast. The strengths of Richard Adams' story intelligently adapted for the screen make for many moments of genuine intensity and heartfelt emotion. A special kind of family film commendable for its craftsmanship and honesty.
One of the film 'treats' of my childhood along with The Childcatcher, inside the Temple of Doom, the Chocolate Factory boat trip... and other minor horrors. Such is life (sort of). Useful experiences. Revisiting the film now I'm still struck by the brutal order of things. The novel's for-all-mankind anthropomorphic device translates with general fidelity and it's epic human themes are simply distilled.
It's very true to the book and there's a roughness to the animation that adds to the charm. It's something akin to Miyazaki films in that it fills you with the sort of difficult emotions the likes of which Disney just doesn't touch.
This is essential for children. In all its cruelty and ecstatic happiness, "Watership Down" is a piece of animated film you won't see on any TV channel in our day and age. Not because of some amazingly disturbing scenes, but because of the subtle political implications this film has to offer. It's closer to an allegorical study of society than to a fairy tale for the toddlers. Watch it, regardless of your age.
A magnificent, primal adventure confronting us with the most basic natural phenomena in life: freedom, love and friendship, death. Accessible to children as well - partly because of the obvious distinction between good and bad - though a bit cruel, but that's also honest and educational, since life is like that. Furthermore there's the beautiful style in both drawing and music, making this film an all-round success.
This film, I believe, portrays the remarkable aesthetics of suffering by fears, regarded by omens, legends or visions. The rabbits in the mist is just the perfect reference of exiles produced by war and misunderstandings between families. The darking violence is simply majestic and traumatizing! So many things that makes it a cousin of an invisible saga which could include LORD OF THE FLIES and THE LAND BEFORE TIME!!