Thoughts on the Watership Down series on Netflix

I was writing about Watership Down in the books I’ve listened to in 2018 post, and while doing so I found out that there’s a new Netflix 4-part series available!

The series is split up into 4 parts of Hazel’s journey to find and secure a safe home for himself and his friends.

After reading about how Richard Adams felt about Martin Rosen’s 1978 version of Watership Down on reddit: link, I decided to not watch the movie. I did this because I am very happy with how I felt about Watership Down as a book and the audiobook version is an amazing piece of work to listen to if you want to try something else.

So, when I saw the preview of the Netflix series, I really got excited because it did not look as misinterpreted as the 1978 movie. And I think that was how it turned out as well.

The series does a good job of telling the full story, there are of course some hard to convey emotions and stories but overall, it did a pretty good job of capturing and showing the emotions and stories that the rabbits were going through.

On the differences part, I only noticed a couple which I didn’t mind as much and if you’re someone who likes the series and it’s your first foray into Watership Down, I recommend reading the book or listening to the audiobook afterwards. Three differences that stuck out to me:

  • Strawberry’s character is a female in the series while the book has a male character. As a female, the series adds on a love triangle sub-story which adds a bit of comic relief at times.
  • Both Pipkin and Silver are omitted altogether in the series which did not subtract from the overall story but it did create some scenarios where another member of Hazel’s group took that line of dialogue or part in a fight. I just really like the name Pipkin 😊.
  • The third one is in my opinion a difference because of how a book can be written versus how most visual things are made, there was hardly any real story telling from Dandelion or Bluebell. And when a story was started, the camera panned out and faded out which means you’ll only know stories about the Black Rabbit of Inlé and El-Ahrariah if you go through the book is not bad in my opinion.

Rosamund Pike as the Black Rabbit of Inlé is probably the best voice casting choice and Peter Capadli as Kehaar is so entertaining! I would recommend watching the series as it’s a great winter season watch, a group of rabbits running around finding a new home and fighting strange Elil on their way!

Netflix – Watership Down

Ready Player One, book vs movie

Ready Player one movie poster (left) and book cover (left)

Last week, right before the movie came out, I finished listening to the audiobook version of Ready Player One, narrated by Wil Wheaton. The narration is great, fun, and I felt like Wil Wheaton is Wade Watts! I would highly recommend listening to it if you're up for a sci-fi book, especially if you're a pop culture junkie. So many references, I couldn't keep track!

The movie is a good effort towards taking Ernest Cline's vision from the book and turning it into a movie. I was wondering how the movie was going to be made because of all the licensing and copyright issues with every single thing mentioned in the book. I'm sure it must've taken a lot of back and forth between many many different people but in the end, there was a good deal of pop culture references that it didn't feel like the movie missed out on much.

What the movie did miss, the plot, it was so different that it felt like the book was used as a environmental setting, introduction of characters, but…it completely missed some of the important pieces. Tye Sheridan plays Wade Watts in the movie and I have nothing against him but I think the casting should've gone with a more appropriate actor to play Wade. A husky, nerdy, and maybe awkward kid would've done a better representation of Wade from the book.

What follows might be spoilers if you haven't read the book or seen the movie but I feel like they're important to compare. The movie completely ignored the clues from the book and I think that's a great approach, I felt like it was new clues to solve. I did like the reinterpretation of the Grail diary from the book in which it was just some sort of a written database into an actual building the characters walk into and on top of that, it was also very well digitized and a couple of scenes that were shot in it were truly futuristic. 

Some of the scenes were very well shot and produced, action scenes were new and exciting as the production team had a lot of freedom to work with since the OASIS is a digital world in which they can do whatever seems appropriate. 

Overall, I think it's a fun movie to watch and the book is different enough that they should both be given attention. The movie's interpretation is different enough that I believe it's almost a separate enough endeavor to just share names but not much else. Go read (or listen to) the book and then watch the movie!