Martin Rosen’s adaptation of Richard Adams’ seminal fable is ‘the one everybody talks about.’ And, for good reason. While the animation itself isn’t as up-to-par or clean as it would be with “The Plague Dogs,” the rest of the film does its’ best to make up for it – and, it does, for the most part. If there is any real flaw to be found, its’ in the compression of the middle-section of the novel, which reduces the impact of the scenes set in Cowslip’s warren.
What makes the film, for me, are those quieter, tense moments that Rosen handles deftly – Hazel, caught under the paw of the farm cat (“Can you run? I think not.”), the entirety of the “Bright Eyes” sequence, the Owsla rabbit’s escape from the warren. These are some of the best scenes in the film, and its’ worth seeing entirely just for these and the others like them – and, there are many.
While it isn’t the balls-out masterpiece that “The Plague Dogs” is, this is certainly a more than worthy companion piece, and well-deserving of its’ reputation.