In Review: Watership Down Part 1

The story kicks off when Fiver has a nightmare vision about their warren being destroyed by human industry.

Synopsis: The journey and the Raid: Animated adaptation of the novel by Richard Adams telling the story of a gang of rabbits who embark on an epic adventure in search of a new home.

Review: A collaboration between the BBC and Netflix. This fresh animated take on ‘Watership Down’ proves to be just as thrilling and traumatizing as I remember the 1978 movie being.

The Story

This first part of the two-night event, which concludes tomorrow consist of the first two parts of the series, which are appropriately titled ‘The Journey’ and ‘The Raid’.

The story kicks off when Fiver has a nightmare vision about their warren being destroyed by human industry. When fiver tells his older brother Hazel about the dream. All effort is made to spread the news to all in the Warren, but the leaders and authorities of the warren dismiss fivers dream as nonsense. So Fiver and Hazel gather as many of their friends as possible to begin a treacherous journey to find a new home.

The Voice Acting

There are some wonderful vocal performances throughout this first couple of hours of the series.

John Boyega of ‘Star Wars’ fame is particularly good as the authoritative former law Rabbit Bigwig who puts his faith in Fiver and Hazen and tries his best to keep the small group of rabbits together while protecting them from threatening cats and birds.

James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult are wonderful cats as Hazel and Fiver and their relationship is a strong one, which in part proves integral to the story. Especially in the earlier part of it.

And we also get a wonderful performance from former Doctor Who Peter Capaldi as the greedy and sly seagull Kehaar. Capaldi uses his native accent for the role, which is a little of a departure given that in the book Kehaar is Eastern European. This does not take any of the fun away from the greedy gull who the gang offers worms and grubs in exchange for information.

The Animation

The animation throughout is wonderful to watch and feels a lot more grounded and real than the somewhat stylised approach used on the 1978 movie adaptation. I particularly liked the lighting effects used on the shorts involving water and the chase as Fiver and the others get away from the authorities from their own Warren is pulse pounding.


I really enjoyed this opening couple of hours of Watership Down and think that I am most likely going to have to repeat view the whole thing after Christmas given that there are so many little subplots as the group gets split up in the later part of the story.

All the characters are really relatable and fun to hang out with and you will find yourself totally sucked into their adventures.  And fearing for them when they run into trouble.

Watership Down Part 1
  • Story
  • Voice Acting
  • Animation
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
No Comment