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Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down

 
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Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 12:34:39 AM   
tdfproductions

 

Posts: 25
Joined: 8/11/2005
Heya folks,

Ok, this is a pretty specific forum topic, I know, but I just re-watched that old childhood classic of animation, 'Watership Down' tonight, straight after finishing reading the book for the first time. The thing that struck me most after seeing the film post-book was just how truncated it had to be. Ok, it brought back a lot of fond childhood memories, and it's very nicely done for its time, but the sheer cost/time of animation at the time (particularly for a British production) meant that a pretty epic book had to be squeezed into 1hr 20. As such, the pacing just feels totally off, (and I'm going to go into a little bit of detail here, so I apologise if you haven't read the book... but you should!!) The rabbit vocublary just comes and goes with no explanation, the merging of Holly's escape from the original warren and his encounter with Efrara isn't really explained properly, and so on. Also, because of the constraints of the adaptation, the character developments and relationships suffer, especially Hazel - slowly developing into a resourceful leader in the book, in the short space of the film they just don't quite know what to do with him and he swings from being the main character to being sidelined and overrulled by the more immediate and agressive Bigwig (in fact, the film could almost be 'The Bigwig Story', although this might have caused audience confusion with the Bob Monkhouse biopic of the same name.) The thing that struck me most about the book was that this really was an epic story, with far more depth to it than you could ever feel from the slight, existing version. In fact, it put me most in mind of of a buck-toothed Lord of the Rings. You can see where I'm going with this...

A remake could benefit so much not just from the leaps and bounds that animation has made (not only in quality but cost), but also the recent trend of cinema audience to be able to accept more epic canvases and running-times in cinema blockbusters. It's not uncommon at all for a film to break the 3 hour mark, which is what I think would really be needed for a faithful adaptation that would keep the depth and pace of the source material, and I'd love to see someone like Peter Jackson take a shot at it. The parellels between something like this and Lord of the Rings are just there enough to show that he'd be a perfect choice (realistic immersion in a fantasy world, an epic, 'road trip' structure that expands to a war film), whilst still being different enough to his previous work to be something wholly original, especially if done through animation. As for the animation style, fans of the classic 70s version would probably turn in their graves if I were to mention (whisper it) CGI, and with the fact that every other movie at the moment seems to be following the summer-movie cartoon CG talking animals route, I'm not a bit suprised. But that is by no means the limit of CG animation. I could personally see a more photo-realistic approach working quite nicely, or failing that, a mixture of CG and hand-drawn animation of the sort recently seen in Miyazaki's work (for example, Howl's Moving Castle), would work beautifully.

Wow, that's a pretty huge post, so sorry for rambling, but I had to get my thought across somewhere! This will probably dissapear into the dark depths of the Empire board now, to join the Black Rabbit of Inle....
Post #: 1
RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 12:37:38 AM   
Kazuya


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From: The Eighth Dimension c/o Buckaroo Banzai
That's funny, I just mentioned Watership Down in the stoner films thread a while ago
Anyway, I'd love to see Peter Jackson do it. Or Gilliam for that matter.

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 12:52:40 AM   
Rgirvan44


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I think George Miller would be a pretty great choice for a director. He's done dark kids films (Babe: Pig in the City) and would not be afriad to show the more brutal aspects of the story.

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 12:53:59 AM   
Kazuya


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From: The Eighth Dimension c/o Buckaroo Banzai

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rgirvan44

I think George Miller would be a pretty great choice for a director. He's done dark kids films (Babe: Pig in the City) and would not be afriad to show the more brutal aspects of the story.



That wouldn't be a bad choice either, although I didn't like Happy Feet that much.

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 7:10:03 AM   
Gothzilla


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Takishi Mike.

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 8:44:40 AM   
tdfproductions

 

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ROFL @ Gothzilla :D

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 12:36:42 PM   
Kingseany


Posts: 132
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Why remake it. It is fine as it is.

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 12:45:49 PM   
Marvel_79


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Joined: 15/12/2005
What another dull adaptation of the original/source material, which will completely outstay it's welcome at 3.5 hours in length and with Andy Serkis playing every rabbit!

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Post #: 8
RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 1:14:19 PM   
dori


Posts: 502
Joined: 3/2/2006
As much as I love the original which I remember seeing in the cinema as a child (the field of blood made me cry!) I do think that it could do with a remake. I've read the book a couple of times and it as always srtuck me as an epic which wasn't very well served with the original film. It would be interesting to see a longer version although I don't know if I'd like to see Peter Jackson do it as it would be too similar to LOTR. Maybe it is time to start petitioning for this film....just think, we could have flashbacks to the time of El-Arairah and the Black Rabbit!

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 3:21:29 PM   
tdfproductions

 

Posts: 25
Joined: 8/11/2005
dori - Yeah, my post title was a bit misleading, I kinda meant that a director should tackle the book in the same way that Peter Jackson did to LOTR, as much as that he himself could do it. Anyone fancy setting up a petition? I know I'd sign it! :)

Kingseany - er, I thought I made my arguments for the case pretty clear! Nice to know I spent all that time writing that ridiculously long paragraph for a counter-argument like that... ;)

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Post #: 10
RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 15/3/2007 4:43:54 PM   
Rhubarb


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From: No Direction Home
quote:

ORIGINAL: Marvel_79

What another dull adaptation of the original/source material, which will completely outstay it's welcome at 3.5 hours in length and with Andy Serkis playing every rabbit!





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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 19/4/2013 2:14:48 AM   
Scrumptiousolivia

 

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Joined: 19/4/2013
I was thinking of Zack Snyder's Legend of the guardians. I don't want him to direct it, the movie will need someone who truly loves the book, but I liked the animation, it was more realistic and less cartoony. The last thing I want is for Watership Down to be turned into an Over the Hedge.. Dear Lord..

I would also love if they integrated the old story's and folk lore.
Maybe Peter Jackson would be a good choice? Maybe it could be split into two films so nothing is missed.

Watership Down is literally my favourite book, the film needs to be revisited! Although the original will always be a classic, I felt it captured the mood of the story I just regret how much was left out.

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Post #: 12
RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 19/4/2013 10:04:20 AM   
Nifty_Films

 

Posts: 13
Joined: 18/4/2013
Watership Down traumatized me as a child and I haven't seen it close to 30 years. Never again!

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Post #: 13
RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 23/4/2013 1:46:05 PM   
jackflaps

 

Posts: 13
Joined: 18/2/2008
I think Peter Jackson should stay the heck away from Watership Down.

Sorry, I realise that I'm asking for a flaming, but as time goes on, I like his LOTR films less and less. Excellent art direction, but his 'additions' to the script were terrible, the actual direction a case of style over substance, and the pacing was terrible. He doesn't know how to make long films, he knows how to make very long boring films with occasional spikes of excitement.

If he made a Watership Down film, he'd turn Bigwig into a Churchill expy with a lousy idea of battle tactics ("The battle for Efrafra is over! The battle for Watership Down is about to begin!"), Hazel would be transformed from a decisive young leader into a reluctant oh-so-emotionally-pained young buck who really doesn't want to lead the warren, Fiver and Pipkin would have a gay romance so tangible you'd hear Barry White playing over the soundtrack, and the siege of Watership Down would be won by having El-ahrairah turn up with an army of dead rabbits to kick the shit out of Woundwort.

On the plus side, Andy Serkis would probably make a decent Woundwort.

Seriously though, screw that.

Personally, I don't think a multi-act brutal epic focused on the adventures, psychology and myths of rabbits is ever going to be prime Hollywood material. The animated film did a damn good effort at getting the nightmare fuel and mindscrew onto the screen, and if it lost some of the 'epic' nature of the story, well, I still think they did a damn good job. No modern studio is going to finance a 3 hour long animated adaption of Watership Down (probably CGI) and allow the film-makers to keep all the horror and brutality and violence and adult material of the book. Can you imagine a modern animated film where the entire final act is motivated by nothing more than the hero's desire to grab some females to mate with? No altruism, no claiming of higher morality, just the pragmatic need to grab some females to screw and create kits with.

It's best just to leave it be. In a perfect world I think a studio like Ghibli or a director like Del Toro could do something interesting with it, but the story just isn't Hollywood material. There's too much violence, too much horror and too much grey-and-grey morality. It's a miracle we got one good film out of it, I wouldn't want to chance it again.

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Post #: 14
RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 24/4/2013 9:27:11 AM   
NCC1701A


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It's fine as it is. It does not need remaking.

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RE: Peter Jackson should remake Watership Down - 25/4/2013 2:05:20 PM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 793
Joined: 2/9/2010

quote:

ORIGINAL: Marvel_79

What another dull adaptation of the original/source material, which will completely outstay it's welcome at 3.5 hours in length and with Andy Serkis playing every rabbit!


Testify!!

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Post #: 16
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