Movie Review: Watership Down

Adorable, innocent bunny rabbit
Warner Bros.

It's Saturday night and you want to watch a cheerful film teeming with relatable, happy-go-lucky characters that is suitable for children? Like, totally for reals this time? PMI will do you one even better.

How about a review of what, frankly, is the definitive kid's movie of all time? Watership Down tells the heartwarming tale of adorably fluffy rabbits Hazel, Fiver, and Big Wig. After men encroach on their burrow, our rabbit friends courageously trek across rolling hills of the English county of Hampshire in search of a new home, discovering the true meaning of love and friendship along the way. No doubt.

Contrary to my usual style, that this review may contain spoilers. Don't worry, major plot points will not be revealed. 

Lord Frith
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D'aw, They Think They're People 
As mentioned, Watership Down follows the epic journey of a group of rabbits as they face challenges in a harsh world, uncaring and cold towards their rabbit lives. The movie's opening sequence is a narration of the origin of life as known by our anthropomorphic rabbit friends, and it stands out in that it's pleasantly artsy, complete with the warm English accents. The mythos is genuinely entertaining, surrounding how the rabbits' sun God, Lord Frith, hates rabbits.

Also in the beginning, we learn rabbit live in burrow communities called warrens. Each warren, by the way, has their own hierarchy of power beginning from a sole chief at the top, a police force known as the Owsla in the middle, and then to, of course, the common rabbits on the bottom rung.

This nicely styled opening sequence does a good job of lending Watership Down life even before the main narrative begins, and I think that deserves some proper recognition. It's detailed enough about rabbit life to easily capture your attention, but not enough to turn off potential viewers from the idea of watching a movie about bunny drama.

It's algae, seriously
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The End is Nigh
And oh boy, is there plenty of bunny drama. When prophet bunny, Fiver, has a vision that their current warren will be covered in dangerous, red I'm-going-to-guess-algae, he rallies his friends to abandon ship. Despite resistance from the Owsla, our friends escape the warren along with ex-Owlsa member Big Wig, embarking on a journey to a safe land that Fiver promises to exist. What could possibly go wrong?

Big Wig caught in a snare trap
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Teamwork, Guys
Well in one particular scene where the strongest bunny of the traveling group, Big Wig, found himself caught an snare trap (Oops!), Hazel rallied their friends and used some good old fashioned teamwork to set him free. This lesson, I think, is perfect for children. Not only did Hazel, the gray rabbit pictured to the right, not hesitate to lend a paw to his friend in dire need, he realized that he must immediately seek help in other to save his friend's life.

D'hrrrrrr I'm a rabbit
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And so Big Wig was released from the trap in tip top shape, ready to happily hop away with his friends with not a care in the...

Oh dear.

So he has a little red on his lips and much of his mandible, I'm sure he will be fine. It's probably candy anyway, after all this is kid's movie.

WTF rabbit
Click Image to LOSE YOUR SOUL
Never Look Back
After that close encounter, our bunnies have made it ever so closer to their final destination, so to speak.
A few days have passed when a familiar bunny named Holly catches up with our friends, breathless and beat up, to report the fate of the abandoned warren. At this point in the movie, you, the viewer, will unforgettably realize that Watership Down just made a sprint for that wholesome childhood memory finish line. Yes, much like the opening sequence, we are treated to yet another warm and visually pleasing sequence.

I won't go into the specific details of the scene, but as you can see, the rabbit pictured above clearly has seen something nothing short of amazing. What could men in big, yellow machines and hats want to give to bunnies, you wonder? Candy, maybe. Consumption of large quantities of candy may lead to a loss of color and ghastly, 1000 yard stares through bloodshot eyes, I'm not sure. It's anyone's guess, really.

In the end, this scene is yet another testament of how great of a kids' movie Watership Down can be. The lesson to learn here, is clear: Believe exactly what prophets tell you to believe without questioning, or else succumb to a comatose state from all of the candy that you will be eating.

We All Can Use a Hug
As a last testament of how perfect for all ages Watership Down is, look no further than the movie's climatic scene. In this instance, our brave heroes bunnies are savagely attacked by the wicked General Woundwort, who is the Hitler of bunnies, essentially. The guy's the chief of a warren where brutal punishment is the sole means of ensuring safety, and he doesn't like that our heroes have taken does, she-bunnies, from his warren.

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Using his powerful paws, Big Wig swiftly overtakes the barreling Woundwart, thrawting his attack with an all-encompassing, warming hug. That's right, he cuddles his hatred away, subduing Woundwart with a mountain of true love and friendship so great that sweet strawberry candy, symbolizing mutual respect, seeps from their skin and stains their fur as they continue to playfully wrestle on the in the dirt. In fact, General Woundwart is so astonished with the love, that he vows to leave Big Wig and the other bunnies alone forever and ever. It's quite easy to see the decent message here: Instead of fighting others, kids, try furiously rubbing candy on the each other's body. Just look at how happy Woundwart looks after their cordial settlement.

Woundwart, erm, wounded
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He is so happy that he's literally drooling with satisfaction. Oh, I almost forgot that Woundwort brought his Owsla friends along with him for the encounter. I wonder what happened to them.

Hell yeah I'm a dog
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Ah, yes, a friendly neighborhood dog came along to give them all teeth-hugs! Right, yeah.

A kid's movie.

Worth Watching? Yes, 
You Can Bet Your Kids' Night Terrors On It 
To sum up, if what you've read so far about Watership Down wasn't enough to convince you that this film is great for you and your kids to watch on a stormy night with all of the lights off, perhaps Watership Down's 1978 theatrical trailer will do so.

What say you, dear reader, about Watership Down? Would you want to watch this movie with your children?

Want more blood and gore in your cartoons? Read Plus Minus Infinity's Akira movie review to find out how Akira will deliver. You can follow Plus Minus Infinity on twitter @PlusMinusINF or you can like the Facebook page for PMI updates and other silliness. If you enjoyed this review, please share the love with your friends with sharing buttons situated all over the place. Thanks for reading C:


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