Or as some people know it, “The Movie with the Really Mean Bunnies.”
Despite the reputation given to it, this is a more realistic animated nature movie. It has a decent story and, what it’s mainly known for, the mature themes of death and survival.
The movie starts off with a beautiful animation of a legend about the lifestyle of the rabbits and what had happened to them in the beginning. The sequence is still amazing today with the energy and vibrance that is missing in today’s animation. I would link it if I could find it.
Now, the animation isn’t your usual Disney stuff because, well, it’s not Disney to begin with. Made under Nepenthe Productions, this is a nice change of pace from watching animated films or shorts that were created by Disney or other studios like Warner Brothers; not to say that those are negatively different, it’s just that Watership Down is a film that isn’t easily called to mind when you hear the words “animated movies”. Any casual moviegoer who finds this and think it’s a kid’s film because it’s animated is sorely mistaken.
The movie as a whole is decent but it could have been shorter (not that I’m complaining about the current running time) if it were not for some planning before the group of rabbits left their warren the first time. Upon reaching the namesake location (a giant hill) they realize that they forgot to bring does for mating and survival of the group. Why this wasn’t included in the original vision Fiver had I don’t know.
If you do plan to see this and have kids, maybe wait until they’re eight or nine or whenever they’re able to handle mature themes. Just because there are talking animals in a movie doesn’t always mean that they are well-behaved animals. This is nature we’re talking about. When was the last time you’ve seen two predatory animals in real life work things out by realizing their differences and sing a less-than-memorable song about it? There is fighting and sometimes it can lead to death for survival of the fittest.
While this isn’t one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,” this is a movie worth checking out for realism of the environment and the realism of how nature can be ugly at times.