Watership Down

Watership Down

John Hurt
Director: Martin Rosen Cast: John Hurt
John Hurt
, Richard Briers
Richard Briers
, Michael Graham Cox
Michael Graham Cox
Martin Rosen

Blu-ray (Color / Wide Screen)

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Unique in the annals of animated films, Watership Down is a serious, even grim tale that many will find relentless and depressing and others will find poetic and moving. It doesn't pull any punches. Death -- violent, disturbing death -- is ever present, portrayed in a manner that is astonishingly honest for a cartoon. As a result, it is that rare animated film that really aims for a mature audience, despite its superficial funny animal trappings. It has a brilliant opening, most likely created by UPA veteran John Hubley, which in a primitive and simplistic style relates a creation myth as told by rabbits. The style changes thereafter, with beautiful watercolor backgrounds and a more natural approach to character animation. Unfortunately, the animation suffers somewhat from this point, becoming a bit sloppy, although it continues to portray the characters' movements as realistically as possible. The character designs themselves are rather too similar, with the result that it is sometimes difficult to tell the various rabbits apart. The story is also sometimes told in too-broad strokes, leaving those unfamiliar with the novel confused as to exactly what has happened and, more importantly, why. However, these flaws are redeemed by some unforgettable sequences, including a chilling segment detailing the destruction of the rabbits' warren and a devastatingly sad end sequence in which the Black Rabbit of Death gently takes one of the heroes away with it. Voiced by a fine cast, with stellar work from John Hurt and Richard Briers, Watership Down is an imperfect film with some of the most powerful moments ever created for the genre.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/24/2015
UPC: 0715515137119
Original Release: 1978
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: A
Presentation: [Wide Screen, Color]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time: 1:32:00
Sales rank: 6,512

Special Features

New interview with director Martin Rosen New interview with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro about the film's importance in animation history Picture-in-picture storyboards for the entire film Defining a Style, a 2005 featurette about the film's aesthetic Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Hurt Hazel
Richard Briers Fiver
Michael Graham Cox Bigwig
John Bennett Capt. Holly
Simon Cadell Blackberry
Roy Kinnear Pipkin
Richard O'Callaghan Dandelion
Terence Rigby Silver
Ralph Richardson Chief Rabbit
Denholm Elliott Cowslip
Zero Mostel Kehaar
Mary Maddox Clover
Hannah Gordon Hyzenthlay
Lyn Farleigh Cat
Harry Andrews Gen. Woundwort
Nigel Hawthorne Campion
Joss Ackland Black Rabbit
Clifton James Blackavar
Michael Hordern Frith
Derek Griffiths Vervain

Technical Credits
Martin Rosen Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Mike Batt Songwriter
Marcus Dods Musical Direction/Supervision
Angela Morley Score Composer
Terry Rawlings Editor

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