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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack Review: Bambi

February 28th, 2011

Bambi - Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon

The fifth film in the Disney Animated Classics series, Bambi is arguably best know for one traumatic scene, which can overwhelm one's memory of the entire movie. I saw the movie in theaters during its 1982 release and again a couple of times on the home market, but for the life of me, I can't remember if that scene happens early in the movie or closer to the end. In fact, I remember far more vividly the scene where Bambi encounters snow and ice for the first time. Maybe it's because I'm Canadian and I like the snow.

The Movie

Bambi tells the coming of age story of a number of woodland creatures, most notably the titular Bambi, a young deer whose birth kicks off the movie. There's also Thumper, a young rabbit whose one of the first at the birth of Bambi, and Flower, a skunk the pair later meet. Bambi is the young prince of the forest, because he dad is the most majestic stag in the forest. There's not a plot in the usual sence, but instead the film is more of a series of vignettes of Bambi growing for a fawn to an adult. Learning to walk, exploring the forest, learning about the dangers of man, his first winter, falling in love, etc. Because of this, it's really hard to discuss the movie in detail without entering unacceptable spoiler territory.

It is a rather simple story; it's just a couple years in the life of a young deer from birth to adulthood with a lot of firsts along the way. However, it is exceptionally well done. On a technical side, the film's use of the multi-plane camera was groundbreaking, as was going with watercolor painted backgrounds. Perhaps you lose a bit in details, but you gain so much more in depth. And colors. The colors in this film are incredible to look at.

The characters are less anthropomorphised than in many similar films, which adds to the sense of nature, while the main villain, Man, is an off screen threat. The movie really is more about the characters than the plot, and the characters are some of the most memorable in movie history.

The Extras

Firstly, there are two versions of this movie coming out this week, but the only difference is the case. The Blu-ray packaging has a higher discount on, so clearly its the better deal; however, depending on where you buy it, that might not always be the case, so double check.

Extras start with Bambi: Inside Walt's Story Meetings, a Picture-in-Picture track featuring clips from the story meetings that would take place during a film's production. There are also countless storyboards, designs artwork, pencil tests, etc., shown during the movie. Additionally, every once and a while you are given the chance to jump to a more in-depth featurette. For instance, storyboards for a deleted scene can be viewed where the scenes was to take place. Or a short film, On Ice, can be watched during the scene it helped inspire. An excellent special feature.

There's also an interactive feature called Disney Second Screen, in which you can sync up the movie with your iPad and watch the film with behind-the-scenes info and such. It looks cool, but I don't an iPad to give it a test run.

There are also a couple deleted scenes plus a deleted song. The scenes are in storyboard / concept art form, while the song is audio only, as they never even got to the storyboard form. There is also a massive interactive gallery that includes even more images than were shown during the Picture-in-Picture track. Under Games and Activities you will find Disney's Big Book of Knowledge, which should entertain the younger set while teaching them about the woodland creatures found in the movie.

The Classic DVD Bonus Features include several making of featurettes, a couple more deleted scenes, etc. In total, there are an amazing amount of extras here.

Moving onto the technical side of things, the video here is incredible and the studio has done wonders to get the most out of the source material. I can't imagine it looking better if you were able to see it during its original run. That said, it is soft with some film grain, but like I said, that's part of the source material and the way it's meant to look. The audio is less impressive. The dialogue is clear, but it is mostly an uncomplicated mix with the surround sound speakers not getting much of a workout. Granted, the movie is nearly 70 years old, so you can't expect it to compete with a film released today, so it's still good in that regard.

The Verdict

Bambi is considered one of the best animated movies ever made, and for good reason. The Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack is loaded with extras and it is easily worth picking up, perhaps even worthy of Pick of the Week honors.

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Filed under: Video Review, Bambi