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Watership Down Blu-ray
on 29 October 2013
After so many false alarms thank Frith we finally have Watership Down in high-definition and with the original silhouette cover. The standard-definition DVD version has a lot of dirt and grime popping up almost every frame, but this Blu-ray has been cleaned up to an extent. They have somehow erased the majority of those horrible ugly black spots, specks and other bits of debris, but there are still white specks fizzing in a lot of scenes, which I suspect maybe could not be removed because it would take a lifetime to touch them all up. There is also a bit of screen flicker passed over too. Also on the DVD version I noticed there are lines running vertically down the screen, but on this Blu-ray they are gone. The image transfer to high-definition has certainly made the picture look much brighter, cleaner, sharper and has much better definition. But the white specks that are present sometimes in abundance, won't exactly make El-Ahrairah proud of this Blu-ray presentation.
I remember watching this film when I was seven years old. As soon as the film started I remember it gripped me from start to finish and by the end I wasn't traumatized or disturbed by it at all. As a seven year old it opened my mind to what possible dangers there are in the world and that there are tyrants out there who are bent on destroying it when the rest of us want to live in peace and harmony. I remember it completely opened my mind to mortality and to how precious friendship is. Watership Down is an enchanting very emotive animated film with endearing characters and a beautiful score, it has humour too, but it doesn't hold back on the harshness of reality and often shows that we truly are just made of flesh and blood, but with an unbreakable everlasting spirit. It is at times graphic, especially the ending, so it's not recommended for very young children who won't understand it, but older kids will get it, some perhaps with a little parental guidance. For me when I was seven years old it certainly enlightened and touched my heart in a way that hasn't left me since.
Watership Down was made over thirty years ago, but I expected this new presentation to be in much better condition because Disney's early classics start from over seventy years old and all of them are impeccable? I believe more restoration work could have been done on this and is unfortunately a half-hearted release. If you already have the standard-definition version then it is worth upgrading to this Blu-ray, you will notice a difference when you see this edition. The only downsides are those scruffy white specks still present in a lot of scenes and that the extras are just the same as on the DVD version.