Watership Down - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Watership Down Reviews

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½ February 15, 2016
A bit dated, but still a well done movie that is more for adults than children. Watership Down follows the story of a rabbit named Fiver (Richard Briers) who has a vision of his home being destroyed. His brother Hazel (John Hurt) believes him and brings him to their leader. Their leader dismisses Fiver's vision as nonsense and doesn't act on it. That night Fiver and Hazel leave their home along with a few other rabbits including tough guy Bigwig (Michael Graham Cox). The rabbits soon realize the world is a vast place that is dangerous at every step. They face death everywhere and have to band together in order to get the freedom they deserve. The animation is really special in this one. It uses a lot of watercolor like backgrounds with detail for the animals being a lot greater. The animation is a bit dated compared to todays standards, but for the time it was well done. The story has a lot of meaning behind just the story it presents. It brings up the meaning of helping others, fighting tyranny, discovering religion, etc. It's very grownup and I find it hard to imagine a kid would see all the meanings here. Overall, not a bad watch and I recommend checking it out for adults that are a fan of animation.
January 16, 2016
Memorable, bloody, heartstopping & brilliant visuals.
January 15, 2016
Brilliant! Here again children is what animated movies used to be. Only wish I could have seen this when I was younger. Anthropomorphism....defined and perfected.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2016
It's as good as an adaptation of Adams' novel as we are likely to get, blending the hopeful fable elements with the moments of bleak violence pretty well. Bound to continue to traumatize generations of children for years to come.
November 17, 2015
In my life I have watched hundreds of animated features and it is very clear that Watership Down may be the most visually appealing on an artistic level. The background art is some of the most beautiful throwaway art I have seen in a long time. Using watercolors for bright scenes and charcoal or paint on Bristol board for the dark scenes help to lend an alternate feeling and texture to the viewing experience. That said Watership Down is much darker than I remember, and it manages to do in 101 minutes what it look Peter Jackson 558 in the Lord of the Rings. Sure, the story is much different, that's fine, but the overarching allegory is the same. From the opening scene through to the end my mind was linking the two together, which is where the similarity end. This film has my highest recommendation.
½ November 11, 2015
A very mature animated tale, "Watership Down" pulls no punches in it's telling of Richard Adam's novel. A magical, innovative prologue gives way to conventional watercolor tones, most likely due to the prolific John Hubley's removal from the project. The plot is darker than your average animated tale, but hard to follow at points, though several key scenes are breathtaking in their tenacity. Vocal work by John Hurt, Richard Briers, and others is commendable, if a bit muffled behind the music even in the newly restored version I was watching. Overall, an incredibly difficult film to watch at points due to its direct approach, but it's definitely worth a viewing.
November 6, 2015
Watership Down tells a very deep and hauntingly beautiful story, but it does go a bit too far with its violence considering it was marketed for a children.
September 26, 2015
Yeah, this wasn't really a children's animated movie. It feels like one at times, but then something dark and disturbing happens, and then all of a sudden, you feel like you're watching an adult animated movie. I quite liked how that was done. The story is about Fiver, a rabbit, who starts getting visions of how he and his herd are in grave danger. Upon telling everyone about his visions, most of the rabbits decide to follow him and his brother, Hazel, to safety. But, those who haven't followed him, indeed, get into some quite dangerous situations. From that point on, the rabbits are split up into two groups. The good group who wants to live a life of freedom and safety, and the bad group, Efrafa, who wants to have control over everything, and keep their rabbits as slaves. It's not really unpredictable what's going to happen next. The good group decides to save all the rabbits being kept in slavery over at Efrafa. I will not spoil the ending, but that ending was seriously brutal and quite depressing. The characters are all rabbits, with an exception of a cat, a dog and a bird. All of the rabbits are very well developed as chracters and once you switch positions of the rabbits with humans, it almost starts to feel like a war movie. There's infiltrating in the enemy's base, there's acts of heroism, sacrifices etc. etc. The animation style is really beautiful and reminds me a lot of Ralph Bakshi's cartoons. The voice-acting is very good, though the sound quality was a bit off, but I can't blame them for that, it was made in 1978 after all. The music is great and quite Disneyesque. All in all, an amazing animated cartoon with a moving and brutal story, filled with well developed characters and a deep meaning to it. I would recommend checking this movie out, and don't think of it as a children's cartoon.
August 20, 2015
a fantastic journey of a movie.
August 3, 2015
A film of terror, horror, and the unending torture of life. I can't stress enough: THIS IS NOT A KIDS MOVIE.
½ June 25, 2015
Many times I felt like the movie was supposed to make me feel tense or afraid for the safety and well being of certain rabbits, but I never was because the movie didn't make me emotionally invested in them, save for bigwig during the climax of the film.
June 22, 2015
This is a classic young adult film. It is not a film for young metropolitan Western children, who think that chicken nuggets grow on trees, by any means. The story is powerful and haunting, the animation appalling in sections, which prevents it from being perfect.
June 13, 2015
Saw this as a kid and loved it, motivated me to read the book which was even better. To this day I am still naming pets after characters in this story.
½ June 4, 2015
When it comes to animated films that many feel are unsuitable for children, several come to mind, but when you want to talk about something that's disturbing, scarring, or even soul-stirring, you can't get much closer than the 1978 animated version of Watership Down. Based upon the bestselling novel of the same name by Richard Adams, it's a film that, while successful in its native land of the U.K., left a generation of kids with some very vivid memories that informed their outlooks on life as adults. The lasting impact of Watership Down doesn't simply lie within its visuals or its characters, but also within the many themes and ideals that it brings to the surface. Among them are takes on religion, political subversion, dictatorship, and the human condition. All of these points of interest are woven into a simple storyline about a brace of rabbits who must leave their home in fear of a looming threat, brought on by feelings of dread and intuition. They travel far from their home, seeking out a new place to settle into, but along the way face many of life's cruel challenges. There's nothing that approaches fluffy or cuddly about this film other than the presence of anthropomorphic rabbits. The theatrical poster alone, which is an image of one of the rabbits caught in a snare trap, gives you information about the film's content, and to let you know that you're not going to be in for some wholesome family fun. It was a box office success in the U.K., but mostly came and went in the U.S. without much of an impact at the time. The story was later turned into a much softer and more audience-friendly TV series in the U.K., but other than the original novel, the truest version of the story is in its cinematic form. It's that rare kind of animated film that doesn't come along too often, affecting all ages of people who see it in an almost primordial way. As such, it's considered by many to be one of the finest pieces of animated storytelling ever committed to film.
½ May 31, 2015
HOW IS THIS A FRIGGEN KIDS MOVIE?! I mean why?! Why would people like to see cute bunnies fight to the death. And get ripped open by dogs. This slaughters children's minds.
May 29, 2015
Bunny politics. Gritty, violent and depressing film about animated rabbits. The world and tone has been crafted to perfection.
½ May 12, 2015
Facing a grim portent of human intervention, a clan of rabbits abandon their home and venture out upon a grueling search for a new land. Slavishly adapted from Richard Williams' beloved novel, Watership Down was a beloved passion project for director Martin Rosen. It's well-known for its surprisingly explicit depictions of violence, but the film can be equally gentle and profound in its other moments. Coupled with its lovely animation, I found the storytelling in this movie to be unique, mature, and highly emotive..
April 27, 2015
Superbly animated for its time this film based on Richard Adams' book has many unforgettable moments. The song 'Bright Eyes' is very nice and the ending will leave a lump in your throat. My equal favourite film of 1978.
April 22, 2015
"Watership Down" is an inventive and creative way of portraying the lives of a Rabbit colony as they face threat, crisis & vulnerability!
½ April 16, 2015
Interesting adaptation of the novel. The animation isn't great, but functional.
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