Watership Down (1978 Animated Feature/Umbrella Entertainment DVD/Region Zero/0/PAL
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Film: B-
PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on
machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/PAL format
software, and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the
website address provided at the end of the review.
after the 1954 version of Animal Farm,
British Cinema produced another dark animated feature film in Watership Down, the 1978 adaptation by
Writer/Director Martin Rosen from Richard Adams’ best-selling novel about the
mortal civilization of rabbits hidden from the rest of the world. Not for children, it features the voices of
John Hurt, Zero Mostel, Sir Ralph Richardson, Denholm Elliott, Nigel Hawthorne,
Roy Kinnear, Hannah Gordon, Clifton Jones, Joss Ackland and many others.
with the rabbit’s eye(s), the film is boldly dark, could be considered as much
an animated fantasy film as The Lord Of
The Rings, Wizards and other
Ralph Bakshi (and Bakshi-like) features of the time and never shies away from
the original material source. If this
was made today, the makers might have had more money and newer technology, but
it would not have been as good and they would have found a way to infantilize
it. Instead, it is about a dark word of
danger and exploitation in an ugly otherworld that too uncomfortably mirrors
ours, but is thought-provoking and an achievement in the art of animation.
seen many poor versions of this film, which got in the way of me appreciating
it, but this was nearly a revelation if not a perfect disc. The film deserves some kind rediscovery and
the fact this did not happen after three Rings films is suspicious in the
least. Now, in this competent DVD
edition, fans (especially of the book and animation) can enjoy the film in a
enhanced 1.85 X 1 color image is not bad, developed by Technicolor, we wondered
if they made three-strip dye-transfer prints in the U.K., but this is certainly
not that kind of print. Detail is an
issue, but this PAL DVD is consistent.
Terry Rawlings’ editing is a plus.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad, but has no surrounds despite
being a Dolby A-type theatrical release.
Art Garfunkel sings “Bright Eyes”
and Angela Morley’s score furthers the narrative’s somber mood. Extras are more than expected and include the
trailer, quotes from the book on history & rabbit religion, several stills
sections that include art, glossary and the original theatrical trailer.
above, you can order this import exclusively from Umbrella at:
- Nicholas Sheffo