If you think of it as a comment on human life and government, it's actually pretty interesting. Imagine if the rabbits were human, and their societies were human societies. It brings a whole different level of understanding to the book.
While the natural history is reasonably close to real life, the book really isn't about rabbits. The author put a lot of effort into character development, maybe even more than he did in telling a story. I was an adult when I read Watership Down for the first time, and rented the video. I remember thinking that the movie was a bit too intense for small kids, it's nice to see that other people have the same sensibilities!
Watership Down is rather of a one-off for Richard Adams, in that it is peopled with rabbits. He has written a number of books, the couple that I have read are equally intense and disturbing. Some have even been banned because of their "adult" content.
On a much lighter note, did anyone else catch the gag in the Wallace and Gromit film Curse of the Were Rabbit, where the tune "Bright Eyes" (from the Watership Down movie) is playing on the radio?
I love Watership DOwn. Just picked up another copy of it at an auction. My original got ruined in a basement flood. Was digging through a box of useless romance books that I won (part of a lot) and there it was!
I haven't read it for years but even when I read it in my tween years it got me thinking about humanity.
Definately not a book you want to read if you are in a down mood already...
I think I will read it again after I finish the couple of mystery books I picked up from the library.