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Thread: New Watership Down miniseries!

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    Super Moderator Azerane's Avatar
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    New Watership Down miniseries!

    So I'm very excited and skeptical about this right now. But the BBC and Netflix have announced that they'll be making a four part miniseries based on the novel that will be about four hours long. The cast list includes some pretty big name British actors which is promising, and hopefully four hours allows for plenty of story content. It's being made by an independent company which to me is also quite promising and has a budget of $20 million. I am so excited right now. No sleep for me tonight

    Here's a couple of articles: http://www.theguardian.com/media/201...own-production
    http://www.avclub.com/article/netfli...ership--235948
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    Never let your fear decide your fate. KanuTGL's Avatar
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    This is actually exciting I seem to remember hearing something about BBC making this a few years ago, but then the reporting was mainly about "OoOOoh pretty CG bunnies~" if I recall correctly. But I look forward to seeing it now, from the articles it sure sounds promising

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    Senior Member Leorgathar's Avatar
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    Hmm I should really get around to watch the original one of these days. Then I'll get on board the hype train

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    Super Moderator Azerane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leorgathar View Post
    Hmm I should really get around to watch the original one of these days. Then I'll get on board the hype train
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    Your Ghost Host HasiraKali's Avatar
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    I saw that earlier this week and immediately thought of you, Azzy. I don't know why I didn't tag you in it to be honest.

    We are so much more complicated than our names.
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    Super Moderator Azerane's Avatar
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    How dare you!

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    Senior Member Kossu's Avatar
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    Bumping this, because there's finally some new pictures and full cast list!

    http://www.animationmagazine.net/tv/...down-revealed/

    I have somewhat mixed feelings about this...
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    Never let your fear decide your fate. KanuTGL's Avatar
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    I have such low tolerance of cheap 3D animation nowadays that I’m just gonna say outright that it looks dumb Shame, I had expected a better look. I like how they’ve emulated the original film designs, but the anatomies look really wonky xP Still watching it though, regardless.

    Peter Capaldi as Kehaar as well!

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    Senior Member Kossu's Avatar
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    I'll leave this here.

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    Senior Member nathalie's Avatar
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    I really should see the original (I know right? *gasp*) It looks interesting, but it never looked like something I would watch.

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    Never let your fear decide your fate. KanuTGL's Avatar
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    Standing by my previous statement... Still will watch, despite animation cringe xP

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    Senior Member Kossu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathalie View Post
    I really should see the original (I know right? *gasp*) It looks interesting, but it never looked like something I would watch.
    I felt the same for years. I only watched it 4 or 5 years ago for the first time and I really enjoyed it. I've rewatched it a few times, as the story and lore is just so enchanting. The book is really good too!

    Now as for this new series...The voice cast seems amazing. It's such a shame the animation looks so bad in contrast. It looks like an old video game...

    Will watch it too, or maybe mostly listen.
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    Super Moderator Azerane's Avatar
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    The animation and rabbit anatomy just makes me want to cry. I'll admit I'm really disappointed in the look, but overall if the stories stays true and the voice acting it good I may still really enjoy it. I'm certainly not writing it off and I'll probably binge watch the whole thing the day it's released because it's Watership Down and it's my all time favourite novel, but the animation really does look so poor. I just don't understand how Netflix and BBC combined with all the amazing things they make, how they could end up with something that looks like this. Still, final judgments are reserved for a few days time.
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    Super Moderator Azerane's Avatar
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    This post contains spoilers, the first paragraph below is merely a commentary on the design and style so feel free to read that without worrying about spoilers. I'll write in when the spoilers start.

    As a person who's favourite book is Watership Down I had certain concerns for the series, especially after seeing the trailer. My first major gripe is the animation and styling of the rabbits. The rabbits barely look like rabbits in that they stand up on their legs more like a dog or cat. However this is of course a style choice and is something you can just get used to (however they did give them paw pads). The animation was a huge issue for me. They've gone for the style of hyper-real rabbits (and fallen short) and on top of that the animation is extremely stiff. The rabbits are somewhat lifeless and lack any sort of fluidity. Some of the character designs I like, Bigwig for example, but looking past the animation was quite difficult. The landscapes and settings were quite decent, and I loved the styling of the opening sequence, even if I didn't agree with some of the narration choices :P

    SPOLIERS BELOW!!!

    A quick note on the violence and scary scenes. I know this is an issue for a lot of people in the original movie. I don't know how they thought scenes with realistic rabbits would be less brutal, they are not, perhaps less bloody, but not less brutal. Some of Fiver's visions could be a little creepy for some, the first one especially, the others aren't as bad. But there is still violence and a little bit of blood, and the scene with Bigwig in the snare could be difficult for some to watch. It's not as direct as the cartoon, but with the realistic style it's confronting in other ways.

    Onto the story. For the most part there were small story changes that were quite acceptable, some of those choices were in the original movie and made to just speed things along, but other choices seemed to be made with complete disregard to characters' personalities or their development. For seemingly no reason they removed the escape via boat down the river from the Efrafans. There was no reason not to have this and to me it made no sense how they didn't get caught heading home. Removing this trick also removes some of Woundwort's motive for going after them. He hated being made to look a complete fool so was determined to get the better of them.

    A smaller gripe was the writers giving lines to different characters than what they were written for. Some of these really didn't matter, but other lines intended for Bigwig or Fiver were given to Clover so that her character had a larger role to play, I don't mind her having a larger role but not at the expense of two main characters. The worst of which was the fact that when Hazel was shot, it was Clover who went to find him, not Fiver. I understand they were trying to develop that relationship but it was at the expense of Hazel and Fiver's which is one of the most important ones in the whole story.

    One last major rant, lol. When the rabbits leave Sandleford and Hazel leads them to safety, the other rabbits take to calling him Hazel-rah as their chief. Bigwig scoffs at this and says that the day he calls Hazel chief will be the day he stops fighting. In the book this is a big deal, it takes all of their adventures together for Bigwig to learn to respect Hazel and look up to him and when he finally calls him chief you know he is loyal to the end. In this mini series, Bigwig goes on to call Hazel chief almost immediately (even if sarcastically) and multiple times throughout the series (some sarcastic, some not), which makes the moment at the end of the movie less special because that is the day he stops fighting.

    So after all that negativity did I actually enjoy it? Yes I did. A good story is still a good story despite flaws and enjoying that story makes it easier to overlook the sad animation and design. Did I cry at the end when you know who dies? Of course I did, I bawled my eyes out, I still connected with his character through the story. It was nice to see a re-imagining of the story, but I'll admit it wasn't quite what I expected and fell short in many areas for me. Still, I'm one to always enjoy a re-telling of my favourites, to see the characters in different ways through other people's eyes sometimes gives a greater perspective on that character. Watching it took some getting used to, but I did enjoy it even if I had many complaints at the end of it.

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    Senior Member Kossu's Avatar
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    I binge-watched it with my boyfriend on the 25th of December. At first, it was a bit hard to convince him, since the original movie had traumatized him as a kid.

    Surprisingly I didn't mind the animation as much as I expected. As for the designs...They looked more like hares than rabbits. And in the first episode, except for Bigwig, it was a bit confusing to tell the rest of the characters apart. It got easier later on. Also, animation wise, I thought some of the action scenes were poorly animated and...the cat and the dog...Those last two were a bit painful to watch. But other than that, I thought that overall it looked good enough. At parts, even beautiful. Could it have been better? Certainly. I still didn't dislike it as much as I feared I would.

    There were changes to the story of course. But hey, it's an adaptation, so that wasn't surprising. I was confused at a couple of parts and part of me whined inside that this wasn't like the book, this didn't happen that way, etc. I tried to keep reminding to myself that it's an adaptation. (Personally, I had hoped that there would be more illustrated rabbit-lore stories, there were so many in the book...I was a bit disappointed by that. )


    And the voice acting. It was good. I felt like that helped a lot.


    In the end I thought that this adaptation was true to the original story. Despite its faults, it felt like the soul of "Watership Down" was there. And I enjoyed it. I really did. (And my friend did too, he claims that Watership Down isn't as terrible as he remembered. :P)
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    Senior Member Leorgathar's Avatar
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    I met one of the character designers. I could have asked him right there and then what the hell were they thinking, but instead I just took a selfie



    I haven't seen the series yet, and I don't think I will until I have read the book first. That'll be my next one, yeah.

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    Senior Member Kossu's Avatar
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    That's so cool Leor! Where did you meet him?

    And yep, book first is in my opinion the best place to start. You won't be disappointed!
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    Senior Member Leorgathar's Avatar
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    That was at CTN Expo in Los Angeles back in November. It was a short exchange, I just told him I was looking forward to check out his work in the series, and had a good look at the models at his booth

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    Never let your fear decide your fate. KanuTGL's Avatar
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    I just finished watching it! I agree the animation is pretty ”eh” for the most part (the cat, the dog and the fox are by far the worst) and at the end of four episodes the only characters I could instantly recognise were Bigwig and Kehaar xP I still have to squint to recognise the rest and there was more than one time I was confused which group of running rabbits was from Efrafa and which one was not So I think my biggest gripe about the series is the character design and how difficult it is to tell most of them apart..! I can see who for example Hazel and Fiver are in closeups or if there are other characters to compare them to, but some like Blackberry and Dandelion I could never figure out

    The voice cast is amazing though. Really impressive <3 And I enjoyed the series overall, once I looked past most of the animation, haha. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t compare, but the last bit of Watership Down-themed animation I saw was the previous TV series, and Netflix’s one is miles above that! Very inspired to draw bunnies everywhere now

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