Disney's classic animated feature Bambi is now available on Blu-ray, and like the other Disney Blu-ray releases, I was sent a review copy. Yah me! Of course, I still don't have a Blu-ray player, so I can't do much more than list the Blu-ray extra features that are printed on the back of the box. I can, however, tell you about the DVD since this is a Blu-Ray/DVD combo, which is nice. Now who here knows the story of Bambi? Anyone? I sure don't, other than something about a deer.
The movie starts out with an optional introduction by Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney's daughter. It's little over a minute long, but is a nice little introduction to a film I knew pretty much nothing about. The movie starts out, as most movies of that time period do, with the credits. Hello fast forward button! The opening scene is a panning shot of a very dark and bleak forest, which gradually gets brighter and more serene, and we're introduced to several sleeping forest critters. Before long, birds start chirping and all the creatures of the forest start excitedly rushing off to see the newly born prince, a deer named Bambi.
The biggest shock to me (and to my wife) was that Bambi was male. So how exactly did this name become synonymous with female strippers? Anyway, the film follows Bambi as he meets friends, learns to talk, and explores his environment. Despite not having an actual plot, this is all very adorable, thanks in large part to both the artwork and voice talent. The first musical sequence comes in as Bambi sees rain for the first time and all the various forest creatures run to find cover. Unlike other Disney features, this sequence doesn't consist of the characters singing, and is more like an instrumental sequence with just a few vocals, synchronizing nice with the start of the rain though the big thunderstorm and onto the last drop of rain when clear skies show again.
This movie is really more about style and character than plot, since there really is no plot to speak of. The whole film is simply peeking in on the life of Bambi, how he acts and what he learns. He is not given goals or obstacles to overcome or tough decisions. It's really kind of refreshing. My favorite character is Thumper the rabbit. He's definitely the comic relief of the film, and I love strange way he talks.
The main extra feature on the DVD is called Inside Walt's Story Meetings - Enhanced Edition, and it's where excerpts of transcripts of story meetings during the making the film are read to us, giving us an inside look at the creative process used to put this movie together. It's quite interesting, and is done for the entire film, so it's over an hour and a half long. Sometimes you see the movie, and sometimes they overlay concept art, and then sometimes they'll intercut interviews with people and old black and white photos of the Disney team. It's definitely worth checking out.
DVD Bonus Features:
- Introduction by Diane Disney Miller
- Inside Walt's Story Meetings - Enhanced Edition
- DisneyPedia: Bambi's Forest Friends
The Blu-ray has all those features, and more:
- Two Deleted Scenes
- Deleted Song
- Disney's Gib Book Of Knowledge Game