The other night, I saw Watership Down with friends who rented the movie.
I never yet had the impulse to write about a movie, but this is a very special one. The drawings are fantastic. It is truly artistic, without being a movie for artists: it’s a picture for everyone and every child. It is courageous in visualizing what goes on in the rabbits’ imaginations, without drifting too far into 1970ies psychedelic stereotypes. It references Homer and Genesis, without coming across as blasphemous, pompous, or conceited. It’s a film about rabbits.
And then, the moral of the story. The movie takes the perspective of those who are born without natural weapons – that is, rabbits – and all they can do to defend themselves is run fast and think fast. That is, it is a perfect allegory on human life. Aren’t we the animals without horns, sharp teeth, and claws? The story is about courage, friendship, and all the other big things in life. In short, it is heartbreaking. So much so that I wonder whether it might need more of a parental warning than more superficially violent movies…
Anyway, I took this as an occasion to dig out a rabbit that looks like the rabbits in the movie and photograph it on Jens’ chaise, with his camera. He promised to do the processing. In the end he re-took the entire image for me and I think this one captures the special rabbit personality… I’m taking it as an occasion to give my highest ranking, for a change, to a movie: five stars for Watership Down *****.