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Bambi (Special Platinum Edition) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 March 2005

Bambi (Disney Special Platinum Edition)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MPAA rating: G
starring (voices): Peter C. Behn, Donald R. Dunagan, Cammie King Conlon
theatrical release year: 1942
DVD release year: 2005
film rating: Five Stars
sound/picture rating: Five Stars
reviewed by: Mel Odom

"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 Chapter 12.

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 trees.

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 for him.

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 frantic music.

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.

more details
sound format:
English 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix; Restored Original Mono Soundtrack; French 5.1 Surround Sound; Spanish 5.1 Surround Sound
aspect ratio(s):
Original Aspect Ratio Full-Screen 1.33:1
special features: All-New 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 Closed-Captioning
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Pioneer DV-C302D
receiver: RCA RT2280
main speakers: RCA RT2280
center speaker: RCA RT2280
rear speakers: RCA RT2280
subwoofer: RCA RT2280
monitor: 42-inch Toshiba

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