Criterion Release: Watership Down
By John Corrado
Director Martin Rosen’s 1978 animated classic Watership Down is being released on Blu-ray today, through the Criterion Collection. Adapted from the classic novel by Richard Adams, the story follows a community of rabbits, who are under threat from modern development.
Although Watership Down takes its time in telling the story, this is a mature and beautifully animated film that keeps intact the spiritual and environmental overtones of the original book. With lush images and beautiful music, including the Art Garfunkel song “Bright Eyes” over one of the most haunting sequences, this is a thoughtful and darkly realized film, rich with deeper meaning and subtext.
The Blu-ray includes a new interview with Martin Rosen, a talk with Guillermo Del Toro about the film’s place in animation history, picture-in-picture storyboards for the entire film, and the 2005 featurette Defining a Style. There’s also an essay by comic book writer Gerard Jones.
Watership Down is 92 minutes and rated PG.