I've read several news stories that Richard Adams's Watership Down will be adapted for film once again. This time for Netflix audiences. This news takes me back to my 80's childhood. My family didn't have cable, but we had three channels, one in French, including the CBC.
Every year Watership Down appeared on our TV as part of the CBC schedule. It's been years since I've seen the movie. What I remember was a brutal realism mixed with rabbits trippin' out while in the throes of death as the Black Rabbit took them off to rabbit heaven.
Has there ever been anything like Watership Down since it was released in 1978? I can't think of anything quite as disturbing marketed to children (I think The Secret of NIMH comes close). If you know of something, go ahead and voice your opinion in the comments.
As a kid, I didn't understand half of what was happening. The rabbits died horrible deaths and that was frightening, but whatever else was going on went over my head. I know that it still affected me. The rabbits were heroic and not all of them made it to the end and the safe haven they were searching for. This was a revelation to young me that even happy endings can have sadness mixed in. Maybe it's the reason why I like an ambiguous ending now.
I finally read the book in 2009. It was such a moving story. Just rereading my review makes me feel a bit emotional. Maybe a reread is in order.
The new film's producers say that this version won't be as violent as the 1978 version. I'm a mom myself now, and I have been known to skim over the gore in fairy tales when reading to my daughter when she was little. I'm not sure how I feel about this kinder-gentler version of Watership Down right now. It could be a good thing, if it allows squeamish parents to share this beautiful adventure story with their kids. I don't think it could be remade today if it kept all the gore of the first film. Even though nature is brutal, as watchers of an Eagle Cam found out this week, we don't always want it in our faces.
What do you think of this news? Have you read Watership Down? Seen the movie? Will you watch the remake?