Starring the voices of Donnie Dunagan, Hardy Albright, John Sutherland, Tim Davis, Sam Edwards, Paula Winslowe, Sterling Holloway, Will Wright, Ann Gillis. Numerous Directors (supervised by David Hand). (1942, 70 min).
What more can you say about Bambi?
If not the best animated film released during Walt's watch, it's arguably the most ambitious, artistic and influential. And along with Pinocchio, Bambi has aged remarkably well, both narratively and aesthetically. 75 years (!) later, it's lost none of its power to enthrall, amuse, charm and horrify.
Speaking of horrifying, it goes without saying that Bambi's legacy extends beyond the silver screen. This is, of course, the movie that ruined a million childhoods by introducing the concept of death to them for the first time. Not the demise of a villain or any of that "circle of life" nonsense...real death, which doesn't always play fair, often comes without warning, takes loved ones away and doesn't give them back.
In the interest of journalistic integrity, I'll save the spoilers for the few who might be clueless to what scene I'm referring to. But I will argue that the main reason it remains so emotionally shredding - more-so than a similar segment in Disney's The Lion King - is its unsentimental, sugar-free cruelty. Death swiftly strikes and moves on. So does the film, without giving its audience a chance to process and fully accept what's happened. In a way, the fact we're forced to move forward with no reassurance is ultimately what makes the event so devastating (especially for the wee ones).
|"Mama said I'm not s'pposed to talk about Fight Club."|
That aside, Bambi remains a triumph of minimalist storytelling. Seeing it for the first time in at least 30 years, I noticed how little dialogue there actually is, using imagery, action and music to manipulate the audience more effectively than verbal exposition. From a visual and technical standpoint, Bambi not only changed how animated films are made, it's loaded with striking imagery, beautiful backgrounds and painstaking attention to the tiniest details.
This "Anniversary Edition" isn't Bambi's first Blu-Ray rodeo, though. It sports the same gorgeous picture & sound as 2011's Diamond Edition. It also duplicates most of that version's supplemental features, along with a handful of new ones (listed below). And like the previous disc, there are three ways to watch the film: the straight theatrical version, "Inside Walt's Story Meetings" (a picture-in-picture feature where we see and hear transcripts of the original production meetings as the film is playing) and "Disney View," where the sidebars are filled with paintings by artist Lisa Keene (includes a brief Keene bio).
For Disney fans - not-to-mention serious cinephiles - Bambi is a must-own on Blu-Ray. If it's not yet in your collection, this one is worth picking up over the older disc, mainly because it also includes a digital copy. However, with the exception of a digital-only tribute to the film's late lead artist and an early black & white cartoon made by Walt Disney before he was Walt Disney, the remaining new features are of the fluffy variety. Those who own the Diamond Edition may want to consider that before double-dipping.
EXTRA KIBBLES - NEW
"Bambi Fawn Facts"
"The Bambi Effect"
"Studio Stories: Bambi"
"Celebrating Tyrus Wong" (Available on digital copy only) - The late Tyrus Wong was the film's lead artist
ANIMATED SHORT: "Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit: Africa Before Dark"
2 DELETED SCENES
TYRUS WONG LITHOGRAPH
DVD & DIGITAL COPIES
EXTRA KIBBLES - "CLASSIC BONUS FEATURES" (from previous home video releases)
FEATURETTES: "Tricks of Our Trade"; "Inside the Disney Archives"; "The Making of Bambi"; "The Golden Age"
ANIMATED SHORT: "The Old Mill"
3 DELETED SCENES
DELETED SONG: "Twitterpated"
MEE-OW! IF YOU DON'T ALREADY OWN IT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?