Sometimes a film comes along that immediately holds an impression on a young one’s life. Not many of those films can claim to be the reason children learn about death but BAMBI is almost a pioneer for that very topic. There is not a person who doesn’t know what happens to Bambi’s mom and that simple reference is still consistently used, sometimes as a cruel comment when a carcass is lying by the side of the road but usually as a teaching tool for children about life and death. Regardless how the term is used BAMBI is remembered.
The story takes place in a colorful forest full of lively woodland creatures that gather for the birth of a fawn named Prince Bambi. As the years go by and the seasons change, Bambi too begins to change, growing older and learning about life’s pleasures and dangers. Along the way he meets a couple of adorable friends, a talkative rabbit named Thumper and a bashful little skunk named Flower. They eventually each find love and create families of their own allowing life to come full circle.
More about the circle of life and the beautiful changes of nature, BAMBI is light on overcoming conflict. However, conflict does exist briefly raising its head momentarily throughout. Bambi deals with the famine during winter, the loss of his mother and forest fires brought on by the ever-dangerous man. Taught at a young age all the forest animals know to always be cautious of hunters. Man never makes an appearance but their threat is always looming. This fifth Disney film was made in 1942 and it’s love for animals and distaste for hunting is very apparent if not slightly misguided. But from a deer’s standpoint, the feelings are probably understandably founded.
Using impressionistic backgrounds, the artistry is elegant and masterful. The colors and movement are very beautifully captured. Obviously dated severely, it still manages to deliver in a vintage style throw back that gives a familiar smile to the heart. Granted, the film moves fairly slowly in comparison with today’s standards but don’t worry with a running time of 70 minutes it will be over shortly. And the sleepiness it may induce is likened more to a roaring fire providing warmth and comfort.
Nominated for three Academy Awards including Song, Score and Sound, BAMBI is deserving of its accolades from such a long time ago. As one of Disney’s shortest films it is also one of the most memorable for a very impactful tool to teach children about death and even hormones. Although definitely less captivating compared to today’s films, I believe BAMBI still holds up for children as a story about love, loss and life.
Video: (16×9 Full Frame 1080p High Definition 1.33:1) The restored Blu-ray picture looks exquisite for the classic animation
Audio: (7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio) Nothing much here with minimal dialogue and background music.
Bambi: Inside Walt’s Story Meetings: Another impressively detailed and extensive feature from the Vault of Disney. While the film plays a sort of commentary from the past using voices from Walt and other various production people discuss their notes and ideas of creating Bambi. Using picture and picture of stills, music notes and storyboard, sometimes an option is given to stop the film and hear an even more detailed analysis or scrapped idea during a given scene.
Disney Second Screen: You can download an app that will following along with the film while you are on your computer syncing up precisely providing details about the movie.
Deleted Scenes (5:03): Two deleted scenes with an introduction. The scenes are Two Leaves (this one is very odd) and Bambi Stuck On A Reed.
Deleted Song (1:53): When the owl sings a song called, “Twitterpated.”
Bambi Interactive Galleries: Here you can choose to look at the Character Design, Backgrounds, Production Pictures, Storyboards and Visual Developments.
Disney’s Big Book of Knowledge: Another impressive interactive play from Disney. Each season can be chosen and tells a little story educating young ones about the forest. Then provides games where kids can win stickers that they can place within their sticker book…electronically of course.
Classic Deleted Scenes (3:07): Storyboards for two more deleted scenes from the DVD release, Winter’s Grass and Bambi’s First Snow.
The Making of Bambi (53:07): This feature is broken up into six parts covering Story, Characters, Actors, Art Design, Music and History that includes interviews with several people within Disney productions and film historians. You can either watch them individually or play all. Highly recommended, this is very fascinating and easy to watch.
Tricks of the Trade (7:18): Walt gives a hands-on explanation using visual aids on plans for a new camera and animation works before and after. It’s very educational.
Inside the Disney Archives (8:39): This is a tour of Disney’s massive library that they have meticulously preserved and organized.
The Old Mill (8:58): An Academy Award winning Animated Short from 1937
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:12)