Monday, 28 March 2016

Watership Down

There's a few strange decisions that the BBFC have made. The End of the Affair being rated 18, for example. Or Gremlins as a 15. But none are quite so weird as Watership Down being rated U.

I remember pestering my mother to see it at the age of 9. I mean, this is the trailer:

It's bunnies, on an adventure. Something a bit like The Rescuers, right? Wrong. Watership Down is high octane nightmare fuel for kids. It's not just that it has bloody violence with rabbits tearing lumps off each other, there's a rabbit caught in barbed wire and even a suggestion of rape in there. Oh, and the visions that suggest rabbit Auschwitz on the horizon.

Now, I'm dead against censorship in cinema. But age ratings are a pretty good idea, especially with the younger ones. You want some drama. You need some villainy. You don't want Leporidae Goodfellas, though. And seriously, had no-one at Channel 5 seen this movie before deciding to put it on? I'd rather show Akira to little kids, which is rated 15 (no, don't show Akira to your 5 year old, although at 9, I'd have probably loved it). Akira is at least fantastic and cool, where Watership Down is just grim and depressing.

The BBFC are on record as saying that it wouldn't be a U today, but even when it was originally shown, it wasn't suitable for that rating. It should have been the old A rating (now PG).


Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed. Watership Down is Animal Farm with added graphic unpleasantness.

The Stigler said...

I've seen a trailer for Animal Farm that markets it as cute but even then, the film isn't graphic violence.

Fierce Rabbit said...

Presumably the 'U' was because it doesn't include smoking.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I've never actually seen the film Watership Down, just read the book as a kid. But I have seen the film The Secret of Nimh and read the book, they are just as grim.

Bayard said...

"But I have seen the film The Secret of Nimh and read the book, they are just as grim."

I've not read any of the Nimh books, but aren't they Watership Down with rats? Mind you these days, one would be forgiven for thinking "The Secret of Nimh" was a scholarly treatise on batteries.

A couple of boys I was at school with used to go and poach rabbits on Watership Down (yes, it's a real place). They claimed they were once nearly attacked by some tourists when they returning with their catch.