Finished the “Watership Down” Movie

I’ll bullet point:

  • It was very good. The watercolor background made it look as if the rabbits were running across a painting, and that’s a compliment. Excellent animation.
  • I did not think it had to be as graphic as it was. Killing Darkavar was totally unnecessary, as was killing Violet at the beginning, and the portrayal of the destruction of the warren and Fiver’s “fields of blood” vision was terrifying, and I don’t think they had to be as graphic as they were.
  • The movie didn’t show how Hazel escaped at the end! All you hear is a little girl saying “Tab!”, but no more than that. If I hadn’t read the book I’d have had no clue what happened.
  • They took out the scene where Fiver freaked out the Efrafans with his prophecy! Too bad. I would have loved to see that.
  • Zero Mostel as Kehaar was a definite highlight.
  • They kind of redid their portrayal of the Black Rabbit of Inle from the book. Instead of being evil he was more of a neutral force, so I didn’t mind so much when he took away Hazel at the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. The short running time meant that we didn’t have a lot of time to really differentiate the rabbits, but you got to know Hazel, Bigwig, and Fiver well enough. The book was better (of course it was), but the movie is a very accurate adaptation and I recommend it to all fans.

You know, it’s interesting that the movie touched on an explanation for Hazel’s miraculous rescue that would have worked brilliantly in the book but was missed in both versions. In the movie, Hazel offers a deal with the Black Rabbit of Inle – his life for the life of his warren, and the Black Rabbit rejects it.

The book tells us the story of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit – the summary is that El-ahrairah offered his life for the warren’s, but the Black Rabbit rejects the deal. However, El-ahrairah was so persistent he helps his warren anyway and releases El-ahrairah alive.

If we had a line from Hazel making this bargain and the Black Rabbit rejecting it but saving the warren anyway…Well, that would have made Hazel’s miraculous rescue just about perfect. It’s a little disappointing Adams missed it, actually. Ah well.