'Bambi II' (Two-Disc Special Edition Combo)
(Animation / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD / PG / 2011 / Disney)
Overview: A sequel to the 1942 Disney classic, Bambi, is laden with expectations since audiences are justifiably protective of this beloved tale abounding with enchantment and nostalgia. Rest assured: Bambi II rises to the occasion, succeeding at every turn. Brian Pimental directs the 70-minute direct-to-video release, which seamlessly integrates the beauty, subtlety, and essence of the original film. The new tale is actually a "midquel" as it takes place in the middle of the original film's story line, exploring Bambi's coming-of-age challenges.
Blu ray+DVD Verdict: I must commend disney for 'Bambi II's good points, such as it's stunning artwork and visuals, and it's timeworn characters, but there we are: the characters are timeworn. 'Bambi' is a 65 year old cartoon, and to make a followup to such an old movie was a big risk on disney's part, but twisting the original story around for Bambi II was an even bigger one.
'Bambi II' takes place between the time when Bambi's mother died and the time when Bambi grew into a buck. One similarity that 'Bambi II' shares with it's predecessor is that it has no real plot to it; it simply "moves along" from winter to early spring where Bambi begins to grow budding antlers.
The voice acting was not that bad, especially young Ronno's, which sounded fairly authentic to a 1942 film. However, though the target younger audience may not notice this, the rest of the characters sounded noticably different. Alexander Gould does a good job on Bambi's voice, but at times Bambi sounded very modern. I know that a lot of time has passed since 1942, but that is, no matter what the circumstances, no excuse for disney to stray away from the old style treatment that 'Bambi II's diologue should have recieved.
The songs were mainly sung by Alissen Crauss, thus none of the characters do any singing, thank goodness. Unfortunately, that kind of music just does not fit with Bambi. A nice chorus would have fit in much more nicely. All in all, the songs were a bit country oriented.
Now to 'Bambi II's strongest point: the animation. The forest visuals were stunning, and the animals were very smooth and polished, unlike many of disney's sequels. I was very pleased with this.
There are also three new characters in 'Bambi II: Mena,' the porcupine, and a worrying groundhog. They added some nice charm to the story... but do deer really celebrate Groundhog Day? At least this gives us disney's perspective as to the time of year that Bambi's mother was killed. Mena makes a brief appearance as a doe willing to take care of Bambi, though I wont reveal the details as that would spoil the plot.
Ronno is actually not a new character; he is the deer that fought Bambi for Faline in the original. He is portrayed as being slightly older than Bambi with a spottless coat and two baby horns, which was very cute. He is obviously plays the part of the "bully", never missing a chance to pick on Bambi's spots to impress Faline.
To sum up 'Bambi II': The animation was beautiful, some of the best among disney animation, but the plot, though it had it's charming moments, was lackluster and too easily accessible. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Friend Owl's Forest Fun Games - Three interactive learning games
• Deleted song - "Sing the Day"
• Thumper's Hurry Scurry interactive game
• Disney Sketch Pad: Learn to draw Thumper
• Bambi II - The Legacy Continues
• Bambi's Trivia Tracks - Pop-up text reveals fun facts about the movie