Watership Down

Data
Title: Watership Down
Year: 1978
Length: 101 minutes
Director: Martin Rosen
Writer: Martin Rosen, based on the novel by Richard Adams
Starring: John Hurt
With: Richard Briers, Michael Graham Cox, Denholm Elliott, Zero Mostel, Harry Andrews, Hannah Gordon
Music: Angela Morley (“original music”), Malcolm Williamson (“incidental music”), Mike Batt (song)
I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), a few days ago
Synopsis: a group of rabbits find a new home

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great)
Story:3/4 (Good) Hard call. The story in the book is great, and this is the exact same story. It just doesn’t work as well in the movie.
Characters:2/4 (Indifferent) This is where they really botched the adaptation. There are enough characters to have a few new ones in every single scene. So naturally there’s no time to get any of their depth or development across; they’re just there because they were there in the book.
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:1/4 (Bad) Everything about the style and content of this movie says they weren’t even pretending to make a children’s movie. So why is it so short? There’s enough story here for four hours of movie, and they squeeze all of it into about an hour and a half. Also, there’s the Art Garfunkel sequence.
Cinematography:3/4 (Good)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good) A lot of the animation is crazy great. Some of it is kind of bad.
Acting:3/4 (Good)
Music:2/4 (Indifferent)
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4 (Good)). The book seemed unfilmable, but somehow they managed to make a good movie out of it. It’s not anywhere near as good as the book, but it’s still quite good.
Objective Rating (Average):2.7/4 (Good)

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