Several months ago, BBC One announced plans to adapt Richard Adams’ classic 1972 novel, Watership Down, for the small screen, perhaps to launch a new generation of nightmares. The tale of a courageous band of rabbits fighting to survive the infiltration of mankind while also dodging predators still feels very relevant in 2018, and the 4-part series seemed ideal for a Christmas-y binge as adapted by writer Tom Bidwell and director Noam Murro. With a voice cast led by James McAvoy and including John Boyega, Petr Capaldi, Nicholas Hoult, Olivia Colman, Gemma Arterton, Taron Egerton, and more, the project seemed like a slam dunk, but in this new trailer, it appears that something is very, well, off. Namely, the CGI, which is clunky and off-putting at best.
Yet in an era where audiences are willingly suspending belief and buying advance tickets to watch Aquaman‘s also not-realistic visuals, will sub-par animation even matter on a streaming level? Netflix doesn’t reveal viewing numbers, so we may never know how the series fares stateside. Here’s the official synopsis:
BBC One’s star-studded new adaptation of Watership Down uses Richard Adams’ bestselling novel as its source to bring an innovative interpretation to the much loved classic.
Adapted for the screen by Tom Bidwell and directed by Noam Murro, this tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits as they flee the certain destruction of their home.
The project must have been an unwieldy one to tackle. Adams’ novel spanned 450+ pages, and producers were tasked with putting a fresher spin on the bloody, doom-filled 1978 adaptation. Yet with a reported budget of £20 million, one wonders how much of that budget went to an A-list voice cast and how much was left for CGI. One thing that the trailer clearly has on its side, despite the wonky visual effects, is a Game of Thrones feel.
Watership Down lands on Netflix this Dec. 23. In the UK, BBC One will air the series from Dec. 22-23.