Journey to Watership Down

The other day I took a trip to a local used record store with the intentions of spending money I can’t afford to not spend on Rush records. While there, I decided to browse the cheap DVD section. In between TV’s Greatest Sports Bloopers and 15 and Pregnant, I found something actually worth viewing.

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Please note the case of the DVD I bought was significantly less blurry.

“Wowza a DVD of the hit Canadian show based off of the hit English book about rabbits!” I loudly explained, which caused several people to look at me warily, and one man to immediately leave with his child. I may not be allowed to go back to that store, but I thought it would be worth it because how many cartoons are about rabbits? Only like a dozen and I was sure that this one was top tier. However, after watching it I was sorely disappointed. I was so disappointed that the only way to alleviate the deep depression that I had succumb to was to get the word out and state my various grievances, so that others would not fall into the Watership Down trap.

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Hanna saying something completely unintelligible.

I Can’t Understand Anything the Mouse Says

Because the cartoon takes place in England all the characters talk in English accents, except the seagull, whose accent is a combination of Portuguese and insanity. The trouble with Hanna the mouse is that she is so damn English that I can’t understand anything she says. To demonstrate just how much how impossible it is to understand Hanna, here is a handy (although poorly made) reference chart of how a normal person would talk and what it sounds like when she tries to speak:

 

Normal Person Hanna
Hello, how are you? E’llo haw er yu der
After this, no more, you silly bird. Atter dis no mores yu doity boid
That was scary Woo dat wus scawy

As you can see it is absolutely impossible to understand what she is saying. I believe her accent is from Manchester. I base this off the fact that she sounds like an extreme version of Daphne from Frasier, and Daphne is from Manchester. The rabbits all have a far more subtle accent, so I suspect that she moved from Manchester to whatever part of England that Watership Down takes place. I can’t really say that I blame her, if I lived someplace where everybody sounds like an 18th century scullery maid, I would get the hell out of there to, or go on some sort of killing spree, but that would never work out for a mouse. They are far too small to kill people, unless there is a bunch of them, and anybody who has tried to organize mice knows how hard that is.

The Previews

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Somebody is going to burn in hell for this one.

There is only one preview. It is for some sports themed show starring Kurt Warner, and unlike the awesome sports themed show Prostars, this one does not look promising. First of all it uses computer graphics, which means it looks like shit. Secondly I’m pretty sure we are supposed to learn a lesson of some sort. I don’t know about anybody else, but I have never learned anything from a cartoon. Well I guess there was that one episode of Garfieldwhere I learned how to make love, but that was the Halloween special, and I doubt that this show will be anywhere near that quality. The only thing anybody will learn from this cartoon is that it is entirely possible for a successful athlete to thoroughly and completely embarrass themselves in cartoon form.

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Two golf balls? That is completely unnecessary. I don’t know how they could justify having one golf ball much less two.

Pipkin is too Damn Cute

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Pipkin is the stereotypical cute innocent character, and while I am not anti-innocence or cuteness, stereotypes do bug me. I can see the appeal to having stereotypes, especially the cute innocent sterotype. Stereotypes make it easier to create a character. Instead of coming up with interesting and/or unique characteristics they just go with characters that were already invented by somebody else. The cute innocent character is especially useful because then the writer doesn’t need to come up with complicated plots. Want to add a new character to the show? Just have the cute innocent character encounter him, and who instantly trusts him while everybody thinks he is up to no good. If you want this new guy to be a villain, then he double crosses the cute innocent character and we learn a lesson about not trusting strangers. Want the new guy to be friendly? Just have it turn out that he is a good guy and we all learn a valuable lesson about not mistrusting strangers. You can’t lose. Can’t think of a compelling plot? Cute innocent character does something dumb because he doesn’t know better and needs to be saved. The writer can just have him wander into a lion den, get saved and go home early.

While it may be easier on the writers I cannot support stereotypes like this. Haven’t we evolved in the art of carton making where clichés can be done away with? Sure there are still many lousy cartoons, but on a whole improvements are being made. Nowadays very few cartoons rip off Scooby Doo, where in the 70s you would be hard-pressed to find one that wasn’t about mystery solving teens. And unlike the 80s, most cartoons these days aren’t just a shameless commercial for action figures and toys. Only a third of today’s cartoons are made exclusively to make kids buy shit. Plus Squiggle-Vision is dead. Oh thank God Squiggle-Vision is dead.

There Were Only Two Episodes

When I saw this DVD I assumed that it would have the entire series on it. Of course at this time I was also working under the assumption that there were at most seven episodes. Well according to this website (which is run by a man who loves Watership Down far more then what can be considered healthy) there are three seasons of Watership Down. This DVD doesn’t come anywhere near covering that amount; it doesn’t even contain the third episode. Yup that’s right, this thing has only two episodes of the show, and at 5 dollars that is not a very good deal. If I am going to get the entire series, and each installment costs me 5 dollars, that means I would have to spend at least 5,000 dollars…I think. I can’t find a calculator right now so I’m doing these calculations in my head.

Whoever designed this DVD needs to learn an important lesson about value. For 5 dollars I could have bought a copy of Mr. Accident, or a DVD of with three Three Stooges shorts on it. Instead I bought Journey to Watership Down, and I expected a little more value for my money. In fact this complaint leads directly to my next one…

It Ends in a Cliff Hanger

The second episode ends with a mysterious new rabbit making an appearance. Who is this guy? They reveal that in the third episode, which is on the next DVD. So unless I shell out another 5 bucks I am left in the dark with a mystery so mysterious that the only way to find the answer is to watch the next episode, or read the book, or watch the movie. I suppose if you bought this DVD it means you have done one of those things in the past. But on the off chance that you bought this DVD without any past knowledge of Watership Down then you are just fucked.

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Who is this mysterious rabbit? To find out buy Escape from Watership Down available at all finer DVD retailers.

Blackberry is Blue

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RABBITS ARE NOT BLUE QUIT FUCKING WITH MY MIND.

Besides if she is blue shouldn’t they have named her Blueberry?

They Play a Really Boring Game

During the course of the episodes the rabbits decide to solve a disagreement by playing a hearty round of bobstones. Bobstones, if you are not familiar with the game, is basically a simplified version of rock-paper-scissors. One rabbit hides either one pebble or two under his paws, and another guesses how many pebbles the rabbit is hiding. While this is pretty impressive in the sense that I never expected rabbits to come up with games of any sort, it doesn’t make for exciting television.

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Bigwig has his back turned while Fiver prepares his stones.
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Bigwig guesses that Fiver has one stone.
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TWO STONES CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!
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Alright now its Fivers turn, he has his back turned.
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Fiver guesses two; if he gets this one right then he will be taking home the gold.
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Do you believe in miracles? We have a new champion. It’s the classic Cinderella story here folks.
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Keehaa then laughs at Bigwig and questions his manhood.

The Cave is Big Enough

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One of the major plot points has to do with the size of the rabbit’s burrow not being large enough, but they all can comfortably fit inside of it with plenty of room to spare. Either the animators were unable to draw enclosed areas or these rabbits are all claustrophobic.

There is Way too Much Sex

I knew rabbits have a lot of sex but I never expected the cartoon to feature as much sex as it does. Although once I learned that the production company is called Good Times Entertainment, and the animation company is called Funbags Animations,  it started to make sense, because only pornography companies would have suggestive names like Good Times Entertainment and Funbags anything.

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As you can see that is some list of grievances that I have listed. I don’t want to sell this thing short though, so I am going to now go over some of the positive points.

They Are All British

You would be surprised at how a subtle English accent really makes a simply cartoon seem classy. I expected the rabbits at any moment to put monocles over their eyes, and possibly begin wearing top hats. That’s how sophisticated they sounded. There was also a weasel who sounded like a Sean Connery doing an impression of Snidely Whiplash. Of course there is Hannah who blows the entire thing by sounding like a London prostitute, and there’s Keehaa, who as I said before speaks mostly in screams and swear words. The rest of the characters, though, are class acts all the way.

Dandelion Sounds like Jimmy Stewart

While were on the subject of how they sound, there’s one rabbit who I think sounds like Jimmy Stewert if Jimmy Stewert was English. I would bet that if we knocked Jimmy Stewart into a coma, and brought him to England when he woke up,  he would sound like Dandelion. Is Jimmy Stewert even alive anymore? I’m not entirely sure, but if he is then I am going to find him, comatose him, bring him to England and see if this works out. And if he is dead, well I guess I won’t do anything different with my life.

They Kill a Cat

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Damn they just crushed that cat. There ain’t no way he gonna survive.

Bigwig is Violent and Angry

Watership DownThroughout the entire feature Bigwig is yelling at people, and if he isn’t yelling at people he’s kicking their ass. He’s big too, so when he decides to kick your ass there’s not much you can do about it except close your eyes and hope he doesn’t take his sweet time doing it. Look at his name, half of it is dedicated to how large he is, the other half is dedicated to that weird clump of fur hanging around his head. If you had some goofy hair hanging around your head you would probably be angry too, and if you are large enough you would probably relieve that anger by kicking some punk’s ass. Bigwig is large enough to kick ass, and he takes advantage of his size as often as he can.

Conclusion

So as you can see, this DVD has both good and bad points. If you are going to buy it then make sure you get a good price. I would say 5 dollars is a bit much, but I was in Pamida today and they have a three dollar movie section. So if you are looking through that bin and beneath that copy of Ninja is Watership Down, then go ahead and buy it, unless of course you don’t like cartoons or rabbits or something. I really don’t care what you do, it’s your money.