Watership Down BBC One/Netflix Adaptation

HareBrain

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Was the 1978 one really that "traumatising"? I watched it several times at the cinema, at the age of 11 -- and this was a couple of years before I dared watch Doctor Who!
 

Vince W

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No it wasn't and I was nine. I had assumed they were going to ramp things up not water it down.
 

SilentRoamer

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As I suspected the BBC can't help themselves and had to water it down and sanitize it which will probably remove a lot of the impetus and drama prevalent in the film.

I can imagine some BBC executive - "Won't somebody think of the children!"

As we should all know children cannot handle any controlled exposure to violence or conflict resolution and should be raised in a happy bubble until they become adults when they should then be thrust into the world and its horrors.....

Sorry, minor rant over.
 

Vince W

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Right. These are the same kids playing Mortal Kombat, aren't they?
 

Stephen Palmer

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The Independent 2/5.
"The biggest issue with the four-part BBC-Netflix collaboration, which begins on 22 December, is that nobody involved seems to have paused to consider if, commercial imperative aside, there was a good reason for remaking Watership Down – already more than adequately served by Martin Rosen’s haunting 1978 movie."
 

Stephen Palmer

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I despair that a bit of gore and the realities of animal life in the original film are so controversial.
How many kids cartoons on early morning tv have far worse violence? "Superheroes" smashing each other up etc etc. The "complaints" about the original are ridiculous.
 

Brian G Turner

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It wasn't the violence in the original that I remember as disturbing - as much as the quiet character death at the end.
 

Dave

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But far more importantly, the 1978 version was produced in 1978.
You and I and all of the other people who have made that argument here are old enough to have seen it in 1978 or reasonably soon afterwards.

A new version is aimed at newer people.
There is a new version of Jeff Wayne's musical The War of the Worlds, for the same reason, aimed at "newer people." It has Liam Neeson et al. instead of Richard Burton. I have both versions. I have nothing against Liam (I will find you and I will kill you) Neeson but nothing will ever be better than Richard Burton.
 

HareBrain

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I was actually thinking it wasn't bad, enjoying it even, until the fight with the crows twenty-five minutes in. What the blinking flip was that? Utterly, utterly ridiculous, and betraying the kind of ignorance of the natural world that must have had Adams turning in the proverbial. (It wasn't in the book, needless to say.) If they're going to spend £20M on a TV programme, can they not spend five minutes researching whether a carrion crow could grab and fly off with a full-grown rabbit? (Here's a clue: NO IT FREAKING COULDN'T.)
 

Scookey

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Don't you find it amazing how Watership Down was yet another of those successful, highly acclaimed stories that got turned down by some big publishers? Yet here we are, some 40 years later, debating not its merits but those of the latest outing of it. Even megastar J.K. Rowling could still be unknown today were it not for the chance reading by a publisher's granddaughter, having been turned down by, from memory, 27 publishers before that.
Has to beg the question: "Do publishers actually have any idea what the public will enjoy reading?"
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
Was the 1978 one really that "traumatising"? I watched it several times at the cinema, at the age of 11 -- and this was a couple of years before I dared watch Doctor Who!
I don’t know. I went to see it, my mum got lost, we didn’t get in and I had to go with my brothers to watch Battlestar Gallitica instead. It still rankles :D
 

Stephen Palmer

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I'm taking the highly unusual step of breaking my traditional Winter Writing Break From The Internet to say -
Jeez, that was even worse than I was expecting! :(
The animation looked like a throwback to the '90s.
The production looked clunky, even ugly in places.
The voices didn't match the characters or the settings they were in.
The action scenes were terrible, especially the crows.
The whole thing lacked charm, beauty, vision, joy.
The music was poor, and was perfunctory at best.
I lasted about half the way through before turning the lights down and resorting to a scented candle and my Seals & Crofts greatest hits CD.

PS - the new novel is going great btw. :)
 

thaddeus6th

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I forgot this was on and didn't plan to watch anyway. However, I do have a slightly more sensible contribution to make :p

Anyone else remember the Animals of Farthing Wood? For those unaware, imagine a cartoon about cuddly animals. Their forest is being destroyed by bulldozers and they have to flee. Quite a lot of them die. In fact, I think pretty much the entire original cast and lots of newcomers end up dead. It was on the BBC in the 1990s. Rather good, from memory.

Hope they don't remake it.
 

Mouse

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Ok, so I actually enjoyed it. The animation looked bloody awful - I mean, the scenery was good but the bunnies looked like they didn't belong, like they hadn't finished rendering or something. No idea how or why that animation got signed off. But the rest of it was pretty good - I thought the story followed pretty closely to the book (crow lifting bunny aside) and the voice actors were good too. Mostly happy that Bluebell was included as he was my favourite in the book and I have a vague recollection of him not being in the film.

Anyone else remember the Animals of Farthing Wood? For those unaware, imagine a cartoon about cuddly animals. Their forest is being destroyed by bulldozers and they have to flee. Quite a lot of them die. In fact, I think pretty much the entire original cast and lots of newcomers end up dead. It was on the BBC in the 1990s. Rather good, from memory.
Yes, loved it. Had the sticker book and everything (and completed it) and also read the novels (by Colin Dann). The vast majority of the main cast actually survive - Fox, Vixen, Mole, Badger, Weasel, Owl, Kestrel, Adder etc. etc. But the pheasants, hedgehogs, mice are killed off quite regularly, and several of Fox's cubs cark it.
 

thaddeus6th

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I could've sworn Fox (and Vixen) ended up snuffing it. I can't remember many of the others specifically (it was some time ago and I haven't seen it since). I remember the fox cubs having short life expectancies, as you say.
 

Vince W

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Ugh. The animation is shocking. I knew it would be poor, but I never expected that level of awful. I was so looking forward to this when I heard about it, but the fact that Netflix was going to have a hand it placed an itch in the back of my brain I couldn't scratch. Now I know why.

As others have said, it starts out fairly well, but then they start dropping bits (where's Pipkin!) I think could have made a more interesting story, adding bits that weren't there, and altering things that shouldn't have been. All this contributes to a rather disappointing experience.

Netflix should stick to streaming other people's good work and stop producing or helping to produce sub-par time wasting drek. I think I'll just cancel my subscription now before I'm party to any more of these travesties.

If you want to watch an adaptation, stick to the film.
 
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