“Bambi” is less a narrative with a lot of characters and morals and more about the hazards of life and the loss of innocence. “Bambi” somewhat celebrates the tradition of “Dumbo” to where we watch the beginning of a young life and his journey to grow up in a very dangerous and unforgiving world. Despite the time it was made, “Bambi” is still a technically impressive drama that paints the wildlife landscape so vividly with a dream like aura that can be inviting and harrowing. The film itself is based on highs and lows centered on the music and turn of events that unfold for young Bambi.
In “Bambi” we meet a young fawn who is learning the pitfalls and intricacies of the world around him. Along the way he meets a couple of kindred spirits, a rabbit named Thumper and a skunk named Flower. Bambi seeks exploration and coming of age, but his mother warns him to avoid “the meadow.” Garnering glimpses of the majestic deer “The Prince,” Bambi learns about growing up and avoiding the off screen villain of “Man” who is always lurking in the meadows prepared to undo his world. “Man” not only proves to be a hazard for Bambi, but also provides the cause for one of the more breathtaking finales involving a forest fire.
“Bambi” is still a quite suspenseful Disney production that garners some rather incredible animation that I love to watch to this day. The narrative is very slim, and there’s not much conflict, but I dare you not to be enchanted by most of the establishing shots of opens woods, and dripping water on leaves. To boot, the voice work is still quite good with the voices of Bambi and his friends proving to be absolutely adorable. Flower and Thumper are some of the best comedic sidekicks of any animated Disney film, with their personalities steeped in charm who open Bambi’s world not only to friendship, but to eventual romance. “Bambi” is the essence of Disney simplicity and still works as a model of ace animation and fluid storytelling.
The Signature Collection Edition comes with a DVD Edition, an Ultraviolet Digital Copy and a very nice collectible lithography dedicated to Tyrus Wong. There’s “DisneyView” which plays the film with side matting packed with excellent art work, along with “Studio Stories: Bambi” a five minute series of archival interviews with Walt Disney circa 1956 who discusses Bambi, which is overlayed with scenes from the movie, early conceptual sketches, stock shots and photos of the studio during the era. There’s Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Animator Floyd Norman, who was an animator on the original “Jungle Book” and still works with Disney.
Norman introduces scenes with storyboards and voice narration based off of Walt Disney’s notes and pitches. There’s the cartoon short “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit: “Africa Before Dark” which was released around the time the movie was, and the three minute “The Bambi Effect,” which is a quick run through of the influence and the innovative decision to draw realistic animals with dream-like landscapes and backgrounds. It mentions Retta Scott, the first credited female animator for Walt Disney. “Bambi Fawn Facts” is a three minute promo for the release of “Bambi” and the Disney Channel featuring stars of the channel discussing facts about various animals featured in the film.
There are a slew of classic bonus features including the ninety minute “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings: Extended Edition,” five minutes of classic deleted scenes, the two minute deleted scene “Twitterpated,” the fifty three minute “The Making Of Bambi: A Prince Is Born,” the seven minute “Tricks Of Our Trade-Excerpt,” an eight minute visit to the Disney Archives, the animated short “The Old Mill,” the six minute “The Golden Age,” and finally, there’s the original two minute theatrical trailer for “Bambi.”