Netflix's Watership Down: You'll never be more invested in bunnies

Sad and beautiful, Watership Down remains loyal to its source material.
Sad and beautiful, Watership Down remains loyal to its source material.

Watership Down
Available on Netflix SA
5 stars out of 5

Those of you who read Richard Adams’ 1972 book or watched the 1978 animated film as a kid might remember the rabbit tale Watership Down. You might also remember crying and crying, more traumatised than when that hunter shot Bambi’s mother.

The thing is, watching Watership Down is one of those startling events when, as a child, you realise that the world is cruel and humans destroy everything.

You’ll come to that realisation over and over again as you grow older, but your first time will most certainly be the hardest. Which is not to say that the world isn’t achingly beautiful too – and it is the portrayal of those juxtapositions that has ensured that Watership Down remains a classic.

Netflix has revived the tale with a four-part limited series and, what can I say, it’s by all measure a perfect creation. Faithful to the lush, dark, painful, epic tale it came from, it uses lovingly crafted computer-generated imagery to tell the story of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and a group of hares struggling for survival after their warren is destroyed by human development.

The voice artists feature such big names as James McAvoy and Olivia Colman, who recently won a Golden Globe for her role in The Favourite, and the theme song by Sam Smith was a sublime pick.

Steel yourself and journey into Watership Down again, the ecological message resonates louder than ever. 

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