Blu-ray Review: Bambi (Diamond Edition)

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Bambi

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Disney’s latest Diamond Edition Blu-ray release of Bambi looks and sounds stellar as well as continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with the new and still-evolving multimedia format.

Disney’s high definition catalog releases of their classic animated features have always been must buy releases. They seem to have never released one of their timeless features on DVD, and now Blu-ray, without ensuring the consumer is getting the best possible version of each film. With Bambi the story is no different, even though I must admit this is not a personal favorite of mine. Yet, I consider it a title that simply must be included in my collection.

Early reviews on the Internet regarding the image quality of this Blu-ray release have been spot on, some have even said it looks as if it has been freshly painted. This is an immaculate upgrade from the previously spectacular Platinum DVD Edition that was released back in 2005, which also boasted a restored picture and a digitally remastered soundtrack. Here you have two options for the audio including a DTS-HD track and a 2.0 stereo track for the nostalgic viewer. Also, like previous Disney HD releases, you can watch the film with the accompaniment of the “Disney View” feature, which fills the black pillars on each side of the 1.33 frame with artwork by Lisa Keene matching the mood of each scene. I’ve always been a fan of this feature on Disney’s animated Blu-rays and continue to be.

Just like Disney’s latest Alice in Wonderland Blu-ray release, they once again provide an impressive feature length suppement. This time it’s a feature called “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings” which takes original transcripts from story meetings between Walt and his team of filmmakers, which are then re-enacted in time with the film. Along with the dramatic recreation of the transcripts, the film plays in the background along with variety of storyboards, sketches, concept art and archival footage.

The other major feature is the debut of the “Disney Second Screen” allowing you to sync your laptop, desktop or iPad with the film and as the movie plays a variety of interactive features will become available on your portable device, all of which can be navigated. This is the debut of this feature, of which I have been told will be expanded upon further with Disney’s release of TRON: Legacy on April 5. For more information and a preview of how it works click here

Additional Blu-ray extras include two new deleted scenes, a deleted song and some additional children’s learning games. Features from the previous DVD edition are also included.

As I’ve said, Bambi is far from my favorite Disney feature. It’s a fine film, the artwork is amazing and the use of the multi-plane camera is just another example of how films don’t need to be in 3D to give you an impressive amount of depth. However, it wouldn’t be the first film I would grab if I was venturing into the Disney archives.

That said, I would buy this release in a heartbeat and add it to my collection. To me the classic Disney animated films are just as worthy of being collected as the films released each month by Criterion. They are some of the best films the history of cinema has had to offer and this edition of Bambi is the very best edition of the film to be released. For these reasons I feel confident in recommending it, and just imagine if you like this film more than I do how much more you’ll appreciate owning it.