WATERSHIP DOWN (2018) is an animated BBC adaptation of the 1972 novel of the same name by Richard Adams (available on Netflix). I missed out on reading it when I was younger and was too young to watch the bloody 1978 cartoon adaptation, so this was my first introduction to the classic story. What a powerful story about leadership, friendship, loss, and home.
The story begins with Hazel and his brother Fiver, rabbits living in a thriving warren. Fiver is struck by an apocalyptic vision and warns the warren is about to be destroyed. When his prophecy is ignored by the warren’s leadership, they lead a group of rabbits in search of a new home, a harrowing journey to Watership Down, which they’ll have to fight to defend.
It’s a loving adaptation with a lot of heart that had me very quickly emotionally invested in the rabbits and sweating over their many challenges. The climax is amazing. Actors such as Ben Kingsley and James McAvoy deliver excellent performances that make the animated characters come alive.
If you’re already familiar with WATERSHIP DOWN and have seen one of its earlier adaptations, I’m not sure how well this one competes (I’ve heard some criticisms, and it’s certainly not as bloody), but for my part, I absolutely loved my first experience with the story in this adaptation.