Eye For Film >> Movies >> Bambi (1942) DVD Review
Reviewed by: Max BlinkhornRead Max Blinkhorn's film review of Bambi
Bambi on DVD could be a modern heresy. After all, a whole chunk of its charm is our awareness that each frame has been hand drawn. Also, it has a soft impressionistic feel that is unique among Disney films.
As soon as the Main Menu appears, I can tell that the essence of the original is intact. And that's the story throughout - it's still the film we know and love.
Good job, Disney - leave well alone. DVD is an opportunity to provide a more comprehensive product than you find on videotape and, in this new presentation, Disney has made the most of the medium. It really is a comprehensive package that shows the creative process in a much more mature way than the usual "ain't Walt wonderful".
As the film starts, I am immediately impressed with the quality of the animated images - it is amazing! Is this the quality cinema audiences originally saw? We discover that the negatives have been preserved in the US National Archive and these were transferred to digital with incredible care. Someone deserves a big pat on the back for this kind of effort.
As you would expect, the DVD is primarily for kids. Disc One has the main feature and Inside Walt's Story Meetings. The film has the usual chapter format and is easy to navigate. The Story Meetings section is very interesting - a huge amount of creative talk about the film's content, read using scripts developed from the records of the various sessions. This is detailed and intense and needs listening to, yet it's fascinating and informs us about the creative process.
Disc Two contains the majority of the DVD features. We are offered three choices on loading - Deleted Scenes, Games And Activities and Backstage Disney. There are two deleted and incomplete scenes, Winter Grass and Bambi's First Snow. They are unanimated, basic drawings sequenced to give the appearance of a story. There's a set top screensaver, where you are in the forest, which changes randomly and seasonally. Nice.
Games And Activities is ideal for laptop and DVD playing in the car. The two games are simple, requiring players to pattern match. There's a choice of three levels and it's all very much in the Bambi style. At first, I found the matching game hard to play, but quickly picked it up. A character list - a Disneypedia - has been included, which consists of footage of the real animals cut in with cartoon sequences - very Disney.
What's Your Season is odd - a personality test, using Bambiesque questions? Hmmmmm!
Thumper Goes Exploring is a read-it-yourself, or have-it-read-for-you, story section. The sequences are still frames, showing the viewer a couple of lines of script type text underneath. Ideal for the inexperienced, or improving reader, I'd say. The final option on this page is the Virtual Forest, a screensaver option, where lots of small things happen, as if you were in the forest yourself.
Backstage Disney is a huge collection of comment and detail from the animators on the film and there is so much content, you'll need to sit in for a couple of nights to view it all, let alone absorb it. The Making Of Bambi - A Prince Is Born is interesting, while Restoring Bambi, introduced by Patrick Stewart, is full of interesting snippets, intended to open up the scoring for Bambi II.
Stewart continues the plugging of Bambi II in The Legacy Continues. I can't help baulking at the title there, but let's not quibble, rather concentrate on the content. Bambi II is not a sequel, rather an exploration of Bambi's relationship with his father. Despite the honest attempts at justification, it seems like shameless cashing in to me.
Disney Time Capsule puts Bambi into its U.S. context - it's a snapshot of the time of Bambi's making and again provides interesting detail.
The Art Of Bambi is a set of slide shows displaying the background and illustrative style of the film. After looking at it, I am amazed that Disney did not follow up this style - it really is of amazing quality and artistic merit, especially when you think about the time and effort required to draw all the material they must have needed.
Overall, the DVD package is so very comprehensive and impossible to fault in any fair way. Every home should have one.Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2005