Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Watership Down (1978)

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed." - Narrator

"I'm in a mist! Everything's bad! Oh, I've got a funny feeling in my toe! *Hraka*!" - Bigwig mocking Fiver

"Look. Look. That's the place for us. High, lonely hills, where the wind and the sound carry, and the ground's as dry as straw in a barn. That's where we ought to be. That's where we have to get to." - Fiver

Wow.  I started this review a good long while ago.  Then I got super busy.  Its been a long time, but I've watched a shitload of flicks and kept notes, so prepare yourself to be immersed.  It is the holiday season though and maybe we'll all have time to catch up on some old favorites.  This film is based on a book written by Richard Adams, the same man who brought us PLAGUE DOGS.  Although this story deals with displaced rabbits instead of dis(mis?)placed doggies.  Anyway, its not nearly as heavy as PLAGUE DOGS, but in the vein of animated apocalyptic animal movies such as SECRET OF NIMH, or ANIMAL FARM, this pill should be easily swallowed.  I give you WATERSHIP DOWN!!!

So there's a quick prologue telling us that the animal god Frith made all the animals and ended up getting pissed at the prince of rabbits because he wouldn't control his rabbit constituency.  So Frith made rabbits taste good to a great many other animals.  But then just to give them the upper hand and be kind of wishy washy and fucked up the ways some gods can be, he made them swift and cunning and said, "yeah they'll be alright."  Fast forward, and we have this psychic weakling rabbit named "Fiver" who starts running around telling everyone they have to get the hell out of there because something bad is going to happen.  The only one who vaguely believes him is his brother Hazel.  They decide to go tell the rabbit mafia "the Owlsy", but they tell them to bugger off.  Hazel gives in to his brother and decides to help save as many as he can and they convince about 8 to come with them but end up having to fight the rabbit cops to get away.  Worse than that?  The only chick with them gets eaten by a hawk on day two.  BUMMER.
One of the Owlsy rabbits Bigwig comes with them.  Then they end up meeting this other rabbit named Cowslip who invites them to come hang in his "warren" with all his boys.  But Fiver thinks this is a bad plan and him and Hazel split.  The rest of the group kind of wants to stay and just as Bigwig is giving them the business for "making waves", he gets trapped in a snare and almost dies.  They get him out and realize that those other rabbits trick outsiders into coming to their spot and a farmer feeds them and protects them if they give him sacrifices.  Which doesn't make any fucking sense to me.  How did they strike this deal with the farmer?  Sounds suspect.

So they find a bunch of chicks at this one farm but they can't rescue them b/c the animals are too tough.  Then they actually find the "watership down" warren that Fiver has been seeing in his visions.  Hazel becomes the chief and they start hanging out with this pelican.  The pelican tells them they need chicks and he'll go scout out the farm for them.  Hazel gets shot, but the pelican helps him and tells them he found another dangerous warren full of chicks for all of them. They find a wounded rabbit cop named Holly from their old warren who tells them they shouldn't go to this Efrafan warren because its a totalitarian state and ran by a bunch of pricks.  So here's where the facade falls away and we realize its definitely about politics.  No SMURF analogies here, its right in your face.  So Bigwig infiltrates the Efrafan warren and becomes a rabbit cop again and starts spreading the word that he's their to rescue the chicks.  There's this HUGE rabbit boss named General Woundswort and he's tough.  Bigwig gets the chicks to split with him and with help of the bird they escape down river and back home.
So the Efrafan rabbits track them back to the watership down warren.  They tell them to surrender the escapees and Bigwig.  Hazel tells them Hell no, but then the Efrafan rabbits take siege on the warren.  Fiver passes out and has a vision about a dog.  Hazel gets the idea to let loose a dog to kill all the Efrafan rabbits, but he's worried that it'll kill his warren too.  So he prays to Frith to take his life for his warren.  Frith hears him but leaves it up to him.  So Hazel looses the dog and it comes and breaks up a heinous fight between the General and Bigwig.  The General tries to take on the dog and we'll leave it there.  Check it out for yourself and see what becomes of the watership down warren.  Should you?  Yeah if you can score a copy.  It should be easier to find than PLAGUE DOGS, and you'll cry less as well.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gerald Abernethy