Make no mistake: Watership Down is not a completely happy story. It is a moral fable, and as such, it has enormous mishaps in the trajectory of the main characters, almost insurmountable things. Although originally being a childlike story, its previous adaptations were considered so strong that they fit in the horror genre (watch here).
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In this new version, which now comes to Netflix, we have the opportunity to watch a production more faithful to the original story, but that at no time stops being shocking to the viewer. However, there are serious flaws that greatly disrupt the experience of watching this miniseries to the end, and that has nothing to do with its acclaimed history.
Based on Richard Adams’s novel, Watership Down talks about a rabbit community that is threatened in its territory. There are several predators that surround the place. One day, one of the rabbits has a premonition about the future of his companions, which leads his brother to lead the search for a new place for them to live in. The community departs in search of this new oasis, in a journey that will not be easy for anyone, and that can culminate in a great disaster.
The themes of which the script speaks are of simple understanding: courage, altruism, solidarity, friendship. However, the way they are treated in this miniseries is very interesting, since at no time it infantilizes these concerns. Again: the story itself is a children’s fable, but it can not be said that any child can watch. There are very heavy scenes, including the ones involving loss and mourning, which may be too strong for very young children. The messages that this production delivers are excellent – although there is darkness in the world, there is still hope and a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to believe.
The dub team is simply fantastic. James McAvoy, Olivia Colman, Nicholas Hoult, among many other great movie stars lend their voices to the main characters in Watership Down. The production so far had everything to be perfect: great cast, a strong story and an universal message … so, what went wrong?
Watership Down has a serious flaw in its design and development. The animation seems to have come straight out of some video game in 2005. In fact, it is a suffering. At certain times, it even gets poorly done, as if they had released the unrendered version to the public. There is the strong impression that it was made in a hurry, without due care in its details – and we know that what determines the success of an animation are precisely the details.
This greatly compromises the end result. Mistakes come to bother you, because you remember a lot of cheap productions from the middle of the past decade. We are used to the animations from Disney / Pixar, Dreamworks, Illumination, among so many other companies delivering visually stunning content. Watership Down has an epic, fantastic story, of great proportions, but that has an amateur look. It is a pity.
Still, for the message that it delivers and for being a good adaptation of an already known story (even if you do not remember the name, you must have seen it somewhere in the last few decades), Watership Down can be a good option. But it is necessary to abstract much of its failures to be able to take advantage of it in its fullness.
Trailer and additional information about Watership Down Netflix
Synopsis: A warren of rabbits battles many threats on their daring journey to find a new home in this adaptation of the classic novel by Richard Adams.
Age rating: 14;