|Walt Disney Home Entertainment
||Patrick Stewart, Alexander Gould
|DVD release year:
is quite possibly the greatest and most fondly remembered movie to ever
spring from the fertile mind of Walt Disney. Based on the novel by
Felix Salten, the original film told the story of Bambi, a young deer
who was the son of the Prince of the Forest, who would one day take his
place as the natural leader and protector of the forest creatures.
In the original movie, Bambi’s greatest tragedy was when he lost his
mother to hunters. After her death, he was raised by his father, a
point that was primarily glossed over quickly in the first movie to
move Bambi into the spring when he grew his horns and met Faline, the
young deer whom he fell in love with and fought for.
“Bambi II” deals with the aftermath of Bambi’s loss of his mother and
his father’s decision to raise him. The story shoehorns nicely into the
Bambi mythos, and spins a tale that captures the hearts of younger and
older viewers as Bambi learns to stand on his own and teaches his
father to laugh and play. Both father and son deal with their loss in
their own ways, but it’s when they come together that the story
ultimately fulfills expectations and rewards the viewer with simple but
Singing opens Chapter 1, mixed with the voice of Bambi (Alexander
Gould) calling plaintively for his mother, who has just been shot by
hunters, placing the timeframe of the movie for viewers in seconds and
reminding them all of Bambi’s loss. The music streams through the
surround sound system in true Disney fashion, powerful and moving as it
fills the room. When Owl zips by, the sound of his great wings moves
across the screen and is split off between the speakers, moving from
left to right. Owl and the Great Prince (voiced by Patrick Stewart)
discuss the need to find a new mother for Bambi, but for the moment the
Prince agrees to raise the young Prince. Noises of the forest, like the
wind blowing and the beaver swimming, surround us and make us feel as
though we are in the middle of everything, surrounded by nature.
Chapter 2 opens with a drip that rings through the surround sound
system, making the most of the sound, then moves into the young Prince
awakening in the forest. At this point, there’s no happiness in Bambi.
His father’s distant manner doesn’t help ease the young stag’s anxiety.
When Bambi does get up the courage to enjoy the winter wonderland
spread around them, the Great Prince sternly admonishes his son that
princes don’t “woo-hoo.” As the Prince plows through the snow, he never
looks back and never sees the struggles Bambi makes merely to keep up
Thumper appears in Chapter 3 and brings familiar laughter and a lighter
touch to the story as he renews his friendship with Bambi. Not wanting
to play the responsible brother, Thumper is dodging his sisters and his
mother. As always, Thumper’s character is that of a lovable rogue who’s
not quite strong enough to escape his mother’s reach.
In Chapter 4, irritated at Bambi’s inability to keep up with him, the
Great Prince sends Bambi off with his friends. They go watch the
groundhog emerge from his den, and the music and sounds pour from the
surround sound system again in a great audible display. Flower the
skunk and Faline also rejoin the group here.
Ronno, another young buck, puts in an appearance in Chapter 5, fast
becoming Bambi’s archenemy. Since Ronno has already started growing his
antlers, he comes across as a teenager to Bambi’s pre-teen mindset, and
is at once threatening and a bully. Of course, this sets the stage for
one of the best fights in the original movie. Ronno terrorizes the rest
of the forest creatures with his story of being chased by Man and the
In Chapter 6, Bambi dreams of his mother. The music is melancholy and
carries the mood and dream sequence perfectly. This is another instance
of pure Disney magic, those moments where everything comes together and
the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts: the storytelling,
characters, animation, and music. Later in the chapter, when Bambi sees
the dogs and has to run, the thunder and rain lash through surround
sound system, incredibly threatening.
Bambi grows aware of his father’s disappointment in Chapter 7 when the
Great Prince tells him to stay behind and guard the den. Bambi becomes
more determined to earn his father’s love and respect, and feels that
the only way to do that is to show the Great Prince how brave he is.
Thumper tells Bambi that he has to learn to make a “brave” noise.
Unfortunately, Bambi can only bleat like a goat, which the smaller
viewers will love. One of the best parts of the movie, which is used
over and over again, is when one of the tadpoles learns to growl and
scares the other tadpole.
The extra features included on the DVD are a nice addition to the disc,
but not outstanding. Older viewers will enjoy the “Making Of” segment
and the Trivia Tracks, while younger viewers will have fun playing the
game and possibly learning to draw Thumper.
A couple very attractive bonuses on this DVD are that Stewart (of “Star
Trek Next Generation” and “X-Men” fame) stars as the voice of the Great
Prince, and that the DVD comes equipped with Disney’s relatively new
FastPlay programming, which allows viewers to skip right to the movie.
When watching the DVD over and over again, which will happen with
younger viewers, the trailers for other movies can be skipped with the
press of a single button.
At 73 minutes, less than that if the credits aren’t watched through
till the end, “Bambi II” is an immensely easy DVD for a family to watch
over and over. Collectors will want to add this one to their Disney DVD
sets before it goes into the vault for 10 years, and parents with small
children will definitely want to pick this one up because it is so
||Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound; DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound; French Language Track
||1.78:1 Widescreen, Enhanced for 16x9 televisions
Disney: The Legacy Continues – A “Making-Of” Featurette; Bambi’s Trivia
Tracks – Fun Facts About “Bambi II”; Games & Activities: Thumper’s
Hurry and Scurry Game; Disney Sketch Pad – Disney Animator Andreas Deja
Teaches You How To Draw Thumper; English Closed-Captioning
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