The New WATERSHIP DOWN Gets An Underwhelming First Trailer

On the upside, the cast is pretty amazing.

Look, maybe I'm the wrong person to write this post.

The original Watership Down holds a very special place in my heart: it's the first movie that truly terrified me, the first movie that inspired me to read the novel on which it was based (at that age, I didn't even know you could turn books into movies!), the movie that inspired my wife and I to name our dog Fiver. To say that I am a Watership Down fan would be a massive understatement, and perhaps it's that fanaticism that has me so disappointed with this trailer for BBC One's new adaptation of the property.

I mean, look at this.

Of course any new version of Watership Down was bound to be rendered via CGI, but did it need to look this...rough? Unfinished textures and janky animations abound. There are shots in this trailer that legit look like cut-scenes from a PS2-era game based on Richard Adams' novel. 

Furthermore, word on the street suggests that this Watership Down will strip out a good deal of the violence and scary material that made the original such an iconic piece of work (casual reminder: the 1978 original is in the goddamn Criterion Collection). This remains to be seen, of course, but it seems obvious that the violence and terror of Watership Down were foundational elements; one wonders why you'd even bother making a version that dials that stuff down. 

Oh, well. If nothing else, this Watership Down has a stellar vocal cast, including James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, John Boyega, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Daniel Kaluuya, Olivia Colman, Peter Capaldi, Taron Egerton, Gemma Chan, Tom Wilkinson, and Rosamund Pike. Can't be mad about that.

Watership Down his BBC One on December 22nd, and will arrive on Netflix shortly thereafter. We'll have a review for you when the time comes. In the meantime, we'll be crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.