Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Bambi - Special Editon

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: G

Starring:
Hardy Albright as Bambi (Adolescent)
Peter Behn as Thumper (Baby)
Tim Davis as Thumper (Boy)
Donnie Dugan as Bambi (Boy)
Ann Gillis as Faline (Grown)
Sterling Holloway as Flower
Cammie King as Faline (Young)
Marjorie Lee as Mrs. Hare
Bobby Stewart as Bambi (Baby)
John Sutherland as Bambi (Adult)
Paula Winslowe as Bambi's Mother
Will Wright as Friend Owl
Fred Shields as Great Prince Of The Forest
Mary Lansing as Aunt Ena

Special Features:
All-New Restoration With State-Of-The-Art Technology

First-Ever Digital Presentation

Forest Adventure Game: 8 All-New Games Geared For All Ages Including Trivia, A Musical Memory Challenge, An Acorn Catch, And More.

DisneyPedia: Bambi's Forest Friends

Disney's Storytime: "Thumper Goes Exploring"

Bambi: Inside Walt's Story Meetings

Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes

Disney Time Capsule: 1942 The Year Of Bambi

The Making Of Bambi: A Prince Is Born

Sneak Peek Of The All-New Movie Bambi and the Great Prince

And Much, Much More!

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Dolby Digital 2.0 Original Theatrical Mix
5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix
THX-Certified
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: 70 Minutes

Synopsis:
This film was originally released in 1942 and is based on the book by Felix Salten. The following is from the DVD cover:

"The forest comes alive with Bambi, the critically acclaimed coming-of-age story that has thrilled and entertained generations of fans. Now digitally restored with state-of-the-art technology, Bambi sparkles in this new Special Edition. This grand adventure is full of humor, heart, and the most beloved characters of all time -- Bambi, the wide-eyed fawn, his playful pal Thumper, the lovable skunk Flower, and wise Friend Owl. Featuring breathtakingly beautiful artwork and Academy Awardฎ- nominated music (1942, Best Scoring Of A Dramatic Or Comedy Picture and Best Song, "Love Is A Song") Bambi's story unfolds from season to season as the young prince of the forest learns valuable lessons about friendship, love, and the miracle of life. Everyone will be "twitterpated" by this endearing classic tale of Bambi, one of Walt Disney's greatest triumphs and a film experience you'll never forget."

Bambi is rated G.

The Movie:
I've never really been a big fan of Bambi. Both as a kid and as an adult, I found it a bit boring and depressing. I fully recognize that it is an amazing artistic accomplishment and a deep story about life, but I've never really been able to get into it. Despite this, I was very interested in seeing how my kids would react to it. I sat my 6 year old daughter and my 3 year old son in front of it to see what they thought of it. As you might expect, they were totally entranced by it. I don't know why they liked it so much more than I did, but they did. I asked my daughter after the mother's death scene, "Did Bambi's mom die?" She said, "Yes." I asked, "Did you think it was sad?" She replied, "Nope." I guess TV violence has desensitized her. In any case, she has continued to watch it repeatedly since the DVD arrived. That alone makes it worth picking up for parents of young kids.

As already mentioned, the animation is superb. The backgrounds are beautiful landscapes and the whole film has an amazing color palette. The characters are also an interesting blend of anatomically faithful animals and cartoon critters. The story was also a dramatic storytelling step for animation. As for the music, the "April Showers" song is still stuck in my head. It all comes together to make the film an animation landmark. And with the restoration done by Disney, the picture looks better than ever.

I think Bambi is a worthwhile addition to your DVD collection if you have children or if you are an animation buff. This DVD represents a great restoration effort by Disney, but it's also a lot of fun for children to discover for the first time.

The Extras:
There are a ton of bonus features included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

Forest Adventure Game – There are eight games included in this one section. As you travel through the forest with Thumper and the owl, you encounter a number of games along the way including trivia, math games, catching games, and memory games. I played this with my kids and they enjoyed all of the games except for the catching games. The controls were way too hard for them to operate. In fact, I had trouble, too. In any case, they still liked everything else and this was the highlight of the bonus features for them.

DisneyPedia: Bambi's Forest Friends – This is a brief video showing footage of live animals that the film characters were based on. Deer, rabbits, skunks, and owls are shown. They offer some trivia about them along the way.

Disney's Storytime: "Thumper Goes Exploring" – This is a brief storybook adventure featuring thumper. Kids will certainly love seeing young Thumper in solo action.

Bambi: Inside Walt's Story Meetings – In this feature, transcripts of Walt Disney's original Bambi story meetings are read as the movie plays. Occasionally vintage footage and photos pop on the screen to supplement the material. It's kind of like a radio play, but it ends up being like a commentary for Bambi done by Disney and the creators. This transcription reading covers the entire film.

Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes – There are two deleted scenes shown only in storyboard format. One shows Bambi learning about snow for the first time with the rabbits. The second scene features a little interaction between Bambi and Faline about eating winter grass. The deleted scenes are brief and have an introduction by one of the animators. There are actually more deleted scenes in some of the other features.

Disney Time Capsule: 1942 The Year Of Bambi – In this feature they go over a number of the historical events that happened in 1942, the year Bambi was released. They cover sports, politics, and entertainment.

The Making Of Bambi: A Prince Is Born – This 53 minute video is the centerpiece of the bonus features. They cover the story, art, music, characters, voices, and more. They discuss how it was adapted from the book, how they developed the look of the film, and other details. Numerous comparisons with The Lion King are made. There are also interviews with the surviving voice cast members. You learn that the kid who played Bambi's voice went on to be a Marine (who kept his acting job a secret). This is a very thorough "making of" documentary and I found it more interesting than the film itself.

Sneak Peek Of The All-New Movie Bambi and the Great Prince– This is a brief "making of" video for Bambi 2 which arrives in Spring 2006. It stars Patrick Stewart and takes place within the context of the first film after Bambi is reunited with his father. Obviously it's a tribute to single dads. The animation looks nice and the story seems like a logical place for a sequel. It looks like fun.

Restoring Bambi – This video details how they digitally restored Bambi from the original negative from the Library of Congress. It's quite interesting from the technical side of things.

The Old Mill: Animated Short – This vintage animated short was the first to utilize the multi-plane camera that gives the illusion of depth in cartoons. It paved the way for the use of the technique in Bambi. That's why it is included here.

Inside the Disney Archives – One of the Disney animators gives a tour of the Disney archives and shows artwork from Bambi. It's another interesting feature for adults.

Tricks of the Trade (excerpt) – This is an often used clip from the old Disney TV show which explains how the multi-plane camera works.

The Art of Bambi – This is an art gallery of backgrounds, character design sheets, and much more. It can be viewed with audio explaining the artwork.

The Bottom Line:
Kids and animation fans will be quite pleased to add Bambi to their DVD collections.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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