Top positive review
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The greatest book and film ever written.
on 11 May 2004
"The primroses were over. Towards the edge of the wood, where the ground became open..." - Richard Adams, Watership Down.
The title about says it all. I have cried at this book more often than I can remember; I get a shiver up my spine just hearing those opening words. I currently have four copies of the book, in varying states of disrepair, and on VHS video and DVD. There is just no other book like it. I apologise for the bad writing of this review, but it is impossible to be even slightly objective about something which has affected you so much growing up. By the age of 12 or 13, I had already read it numerous times.
Adams' simply gorgeous description of the countryside and the true beauty of the world is fantastically balanced with the grim and evil reality the humans bring to the world of the rabbits. I cannot quite place why I love this book, it is just something which exists so perfectly in your soul. If you are sitting on a crowded commuter train, or you are on the eve of a fated deadline, or more down in the dumps than you have ever been, you can pick up Watership Down and immediately escape into a world where the only things that matter are survival and the bonds you make with close friends going through traumatic and dangerous experiences. These rabbits do not know of human "troubles", and this is what makes this story so appealing: the INNOCENCE of it all. The pure pleasure of not caring.
The film has much the same effect, however I do feel it focuses on a different part of the story. The portrayal of Fiver's troubled mind is often chilling, and I would not recommend the film for very young children (as I know it scared me when I was younger!). However, the beautiful animation by Martin Rosen and his team fits the magnificence of Adams' writing perfectly, and the voices of such legends as John Hurt, Richard Briers and Roy Kinnear really bring these noble characters to life.
To all of those who knock this book for being "too simple" and the level of reading "too easy", it is because when you read a book it is more than just your eyes moving over the text. You take from a book only what you think yourself. What is wrong with simple? This book has a deep meaning which is very, very simple: the world is beautiful, if you look long enough. There is nothing better than that.