'Bambi - 75th Anniversary Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Hardy Albright, Peter Behn, Tim Davis, Donnie Dugan, Ann Gillis / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital HD / G / (1942) 2017 / Disney)
Overview: A timeless classic that has been loved for generations, 'BAMBI' now joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. In this life-changing adventure, Bambi sets off with his best friends Thumper and Flower to explore the wonders and challenges of the woods -- and fulfill his destiny as prince of the forest.
Blu ray Verdict: Disney's 'Bambi', which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. The Collection release includes a variety of new bonus material, including recordings of Walt Disney discussing the challenges and triumphs during the production of “Bambi;” deleted scenes and characters; stories and effects that “Bambi” had on the Studio, other films and artists; and much, much more.
Additionally, the Digital HD release includes an exclusive, heartfelt feature on the incredible artist, Tyrus Wong, who inspired the film’s soft watercolor backgrounds and beautiful palette.
As for the movie itself, well, having just re-watched it in all its glorious Blu-ray crystal clear quality, impeccable soundscape attached, the inner kid still wants to tell it like it is; so here goes. Simply put, 'Bambi' is both heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal cinematic measures.
'Bambi' starts off with a sleepy feel, but gets going once all the forest animals spread word of the birth of the newborn Prince. Indeed, we see Bambi grow up with his childhood friends Thumper and Flower. One day Bambi's mother takes him into the thicket to meet more deer and she warns him not to jump right out because there might be danger; or in other words hunters. So, Bambi goes into the thicket and meets more deer friends along the way.
At one point in the movie Bambi and his mother are starting to enjoy the first signs of spring, but (as we should all know by now) unfortunately a hunter shows up and we see perhaps one of the most traumatic scenes in thematic history. Bambi's mother leads him to safety only to be shot. While we don't see it we know what happened and Bambi's father tells him that he can't be with his mother anymore.
The scene after this is more jubilant and seems to quickly breeze over the sadness of the last part. Here we see animals start to fall in love during the spring season. Bambi has now become an adolescent deer and he meets up with his childhood companions. The Owl that lives with them in the forest warns them about spring infatuation. Flower, Thumper and Bambi all agree that it will never happen to them; or so they say.
Not to give too much away in this latter third of the movie, the last few moments showcases a fire that breaks out after some hunters carelessly leave it. Bambi has to leave and he barely escapes in time along with his father. At the end of the film Bambi has fathered two fawns with Faline and he sits proudly watching on the hill along with his father.
Aside from the movie itself, 'Bambi' also has a fantastic music score along with sounds of crashing cymbals and slow violin music that build up during the climatic scenes when danger is near. All the songs are decent and don't border on anything that might make your head pound.
So, yeah, for my money 'Bambi' is a great film, but playing Devil's Advocate there are some things that I don't like. The background animation was not the best and that may be in part due to the fact that World War II was still going on and the studio may have suffered some financial problems. Also I think that the hunting scenes get a little out of control and can be hard to watch for younger viewers. Aside from that, 'Bambi' is beautiful, wonderful and well worth your money spent on this delightful '75th Anniversary Edition' Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD.
As for those aforementioned Disney Special Features included, they are all -- for Disney fans and admirers of old school art -- very interesting. Showing us exactly how certain scenes were made, and watching as they did just that with the age old (although most likely new to them at the time) equipment, it's amazing that anything ever got created like this, in all honesty.
Reviewing a couple of the stand out's, 'THE BAMBI EFFECT' is a delight unto itself. I didn't know that so many (oh so many) of today's Disney films have "borrowed" from the artistry of the talented 'Bambi' illustrators. But that aside, something bigger to come out of what the animators created for our enjoyment was that there is now, here today, something actually called "The Bambi Effect"! It is a term used anecdotally or in editorial media that refers to objections against the killing of charismatic megafauna (animals that are perceived as "cute" or "adorable", such as deer or dolphins).
DELETED SCENE: BAMBI’S ICE AND SNOW is as cute as it gets and still today I have no idea why the team at Disney had it removed. It begins with Bambi gently testing the depth of the snow, in awe of her own hoof prints, before Thumper comes-a-calling with a "Hi ya Bambi. Watch what I can do". With that he flies across the iced up lake, enticing Bambi to do the same. Splat! So Thumper helps her, one end at a time, but that goes nowhere fast. It is a very, VERY cute scene. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
BONUS MATERIAL (BLU-RAY & DIGITAL* HD) INCLUDES: THE BAMBI EFFECT – “Bambi” was full of innovations for its time. Let’s take a look at how those past innovations affected future Disney animated titles all the way up to today. STUDIO STORIES: “BAMBI” – Recordings of Walt Disney. Listen in on intimate moments where he discusses the challenges, pitfalls and triumphs during the production of “Bambi.” DELETED SCENE: BAMBI’S ICE AND SNOW – Bambi coaxes Thumper and his brothers and sisters to come play on the ice during the first snow. DELETED SCENE: THE GRASSHOPPER – A grasshopper confronts Bambi and Thumper and finds himself in quite a predicament. BAMBI FAWN FACTS – Think you know everything there is to know about Bambi and his forest companions? Well, it’s time to discover some fun real-life facts about the creatures that live in the forest he calls home. OSWALD THE LUCKY RABBIT: “AFRICA BEFORE DARK” – Oswald Short CELEBRATING TYRUS WONG (DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE) – A heartfelt look at the man who played a key role in the success of “Bambi.” Much like Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle, Tyrus Wong had a unique signature style all to his own. The soft water-colored backgrounds and beautiful palettes in “Bambi” were inspired by Tyrus’ concept art paintings. CLASSIC: DELETED SCENES – Two Leaves, Bambi Stuck on a Reed, Winter Grass, Twitterpated THE MAKING OF BAMBI: A PRINCE IS BORN
o STORY: TELLING THE TALE
o CHARACTERS: DRAWN TO NATURE
o ACTORS: GIVING VOICE TO ANIMALS
o ART DESIGN: IMPRESSIONS OF THE FOREST
o MUSIC: NATURE’S SYMPHONY
o HISTORY: BACK TO THE BEGINNING
TRICK OF THE TRADE (Excerpt)
INSIDE THE DISNEY ARCHIVES
THE OLD MILL: ANIMATED SHORT
ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER
THE GOLDEN AGE
'Bambi: 75th Anniversary Edition' arrives home on Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, May 23rd and on Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand on June 6th.