This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
Bambi (Special Platinum Edition)
Written by Mel Odom
Tuesday, 01 March 2005
|Bambi (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
|Buena Vista Home Entertainment
||Peter C. Behn, Donald R. Dunagan, Cammie King Conlon
|DVD release year:
"Bambi" is one of the most beloved and well-known of Walt Disney's
works. Even young viewers who have not seen the film, because the VHS
version has been locked in the Disney vaults for so long, seem to be
familiar with the story and all the characters, especially Bambi,
Thumper, and Flower. The tale has become ageless, able to stand the
test of time and to always touch the hearts of children and those who
are children at heart everywhere.
Walt Disney was a genius in his chosen field. Though he made occasional
stumbles along the way and sometimes ended up shooting for a finished
product that was beyond what he was financially able to accomplish at a
given time, he nevertheless pulled together everything he wanted to do
and got it done. The research that he and his development team did and
the lengths to which they went to establish a firm and certain hand in
their presentations, is – even in this day and age – remarkable.
"Bambi" was Disney’s crowning achievement, his gift to the world. It
took six long years to bring the film to theaters.
The story starts out in Chapter 2, pulling us deep into the dark
forest. Music issues softly and subtly from the surround sound system.
The digital processing for the artwork leaves a marvelous blend of real
life and fantasy, just the kind of environment needed to tell the tale.
The owl draws our eyes and settles in to become the central figure for
a moment, showing the last moments of the night as the camera lifts to
the squirrel and the chipmunk to illustrate the dawning of a new day.
As always, the music in the early Disney films truly underscores the
action shown on the screen, so not much is needed in the way of sound
effects that mark so many of today's movies. News quickly passes and
Thumper the rabbit starts waking the forest, saying that the new prince
has been born.
Chapter 3 shows us the first glimpse of Bambi as a fawn, sleeping at
his mother's side. Bambi wakes and is embarrassed at all the attention
he's getting from the other forest creatures. The childlike eyes and
laughter are great touches, as are the overly dramatic efforts required
for Bambi to get to his feet. Bambi's mother names him and Thumper
gives his blessing. We see a shot of Bambi's father standing proudly
high on a far-off hilltop.
In Chapter 4, Bambi begins exploring his world. Bambi's reactions to
all the creatures he meets are shown through his exaggerated body
language. Thumper's honest observations in Chapter 5 are touching and
endearing. The rabbit’s play with Bambi is honest and truly amusing,
dealing with very simple things. Thumper begins teaching Bambi words.
Bambi picks up the words, as well as the nose and ear wiggles. The
childlike innocence is elegant and deep, especially coupled with the
constant surprises for Bambi.
Nose to nose with a skunk in Chapter 6, Bambi names him Flower. The
storm rattles through the surround sound system later and Bambi
retreats to his mother's side. Only moments later, in Chapter 7, the
falling raindrops create a symphony, another staple of early Disney,
pealing delicately through the enhanced sound system. Then the storm
rages and the music becomes more severe.
In Chapter 8, Bambi's mother takes him to the meadow. Like a child,
he's filled with questions and stories that others have told him.
Bambi's mother warns him that he's unprotected in the meadow, that no
hiding places exist. Birds fly by suddenly, and the sound of their
wings echoes delicately from right front speaker to left front speaker.
Bambi gets his first view of another deer in Chapter 9. Faline is a
cute little female who is more confident and aggressive than he is.
Again, the very real childlike responses in Bambi regarding talking to
girls endear him to the audience.
Young bucks take center stage in Chapter 10, and the music crescendos again as they go proudly charging across the meadow.
The youngsters confront the Great Prince of the Forest in Chapter 11
and they all pause in reverence. Bambi seems almost heartbroken when
the Great Prince doesn't recognize him.
The Great Prince warns of hunters coming into the meadow in Chapter 12.
All of the forest creatures flee for their lives. The music is fierce,
mixed in with Bambi's cries for his mother and hers for him. The Great
Prince comes to rescue them. The sound of a rifle shot thunders through
the surround sound system. Bambi asks why they all ran and Bambi's
mother tells him that Man was in the forest. Fall arrives at the end of
Bambi sees his first winter in Chapter 13, accompanied by appropriate
music. Thumper puts on an ice skating show. In Chapter 14, they find
Flower hibernating for winter. The hardships faced by the deer are seen
through Bambi's eyes as they go through winter eating the bark off
Danger arrives in Chapter 15 while Bambi's mother takes him to new
spring grass. Gunshots ring out and Bambi is suddenly alone in the
world. Bambi's heartbreaking search for his mother in Chapter 16 is
horrible. The Great Prince of the Forest comes to claim Bambi and care
Full spring arrives in Chapter 17. Bluebirds, another Disney staple,
fly through the sky. Everyone is paired up. The owl mopes around and
doesn't appear to care for spring, especially when Bambi shows up with
his brand-new horns in Chapter 18. Thumper and Flower have grown
considerably as well. The owl has to explain about being twitterpated.
The three friends swear that it won't happen to them, but it quickly
happens to Flower in Chapter 19. Little artistic touches like the tails
of the two skunks being different really add to the enjoyment of the
film. Thumper ends up going down in flames next.
In Chapter 20, Bambi meets Faline again and gets twitterpated. He's
rudely brought back to the real world in Chapter 21 when another buck
challenges him for Faline's attentions.
When Bambi meets up with his father in Chapter 23, he sees that there
are many more men in the forest. He knows he has to go back for Faline.
Gunshots ring out all around as the hunters shoot at the fleeing
animals. Feline gets pursued by hounds in a tense scene scored by
The special features included on the two-disc set offers a mix of adult
and children's fare. Adult viewers will really enjoy "Bambi: Inside
Walt's Story Meetings" hosted by Patrick Stewart, who stars as the
Great Prince of the Forest in the “Bambi” sequel, scheduled for release
in 2006. It's amazing to see that Disney's vision of how the movie
should take shape remained constant for the six years it took to bring
the film through production and release. "The Making of Bambi: A Prince
Is Born" will interest adult viewers as well. It offers a series of
pieces on voice actors, storytelling and the choices that were made to
flesh out the movie. The other pieces geared for the kids offer a lot
in the way of distraction, including personality indexes and games that
can be played.
"Bambi: Platinum Edition" is a no-brainer purchase for avid Disney
collectors. The two-disc set is the first-ever DVD presentation of the
movie. This is a family film that can guarantee a night's entertainment
from the very young to the adult viewer and it will leave fans curious
about the Bambi sequel.
5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix; Restored Original Mono
Soundtrack; French 5.1 Surround Sound; Spanish 5.1 Surround Sound
|Original Aspect Ratio Full-Screen 1.33:1
Restoration With State-Of-The-Art Technology; First-Ever Digital
Presentation; Forest Adventure Game – Eight All-New Games Geared For
All Ages Including Trivia, A Musical Memory Challenge, An Acorn Catch
And More; DisneyPedia: Bambi's Forest Friends; Disney Storytime:
"Thumper Goes Exploring"; "Bambi": Inside Walt's Story Meetings; Disney
Time Capsule: 1942 The Year of "Bambi"; The Making Of "Bambi": A Prince
Is Born; The Legacy Continues: Sneak Peek Of The All-New Movie "Bambi
And The Great Prince Of The Forest"; "Tricks of the Trade (excerpt);
Inside the Disney Archives; "The Old Mill" Animated Short; Original
Theatrical Trailer (1942); The Art Of Bambi; Restoring Bambi; English
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