There are few films that hold as much relevance to the history and legacy of Disney than Bambi does, and that’s because the film truly revolutionized cinema and animation, even more so than how Walt Disney revolutionized the mediums years earlier with Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. Everything about Bambi remains beautiful, heartbreaking, and impressive, from both a storytelling perspective and as a breakthrough in visual storytelling. In order to bring Bambi to life, Walt’s team used their groundbreaking new piece of technology, famously known as the Multiplane Camera, which was instrumental in making Bambi as rich, deep, and visually rewarding as it is.
The legacy of great storytelling that was left by Bambi is something that will forever define the studio and will hopefully remain a cherished classic for generations to come. Now, Disney’s hoping to bring that magic back to the small-screen once again as Disney re-releases the film on a stunning crystal-clear Blu-Ray package, under the new Walt Disney Signature Collection banner. I could never complain about another Bambi re-release, and the opportunity to re-watch the film on a stunning picture-perfect release is a gem worth cherishing. However, Bambi’s latest release misses the mark in a few places, while it soars in others.
Picture Quality, Audio and Film Restoration:
The greatest thing about owning Bambi on Blu-Ray, it how absolutely beautiful it looks. The film was always a stunning one, but this latest restoration brings rich detail to every pencil stroke, making it look more stunning than ever before. Vibrant colors come to life in ways never experienced in previous issues and releases, and it creates this immersive experience that makes it seem as groundbreaking as it was when it revolutionized cinema upon its arrival in 1945. As far as Blu-Ray transfers go, this release is a perfect one, bringing new life into a cherished classic in ways unimaginable. The picture quality and audio is at its finest, and thankfully it does justice while offering beautiful visual eye-candy to one of Walt Disney’s crowning achievements.
Bonus Features, Menu and Set-Up:
This is where Bambi begins to stumble, because some of the bonus features found on this release are absolutely fantastic, while others fail to add up. Here, we’ll be taking a look at each feature and why they either succeed or fail at adding to the Blu-Ray.
- Studio Stories: Bambi:
This is a really neat feature that features archival audio of Walt Disney himself discussing the behind-the-scenes process of creating Bambi, from the technology used, inspiration, and other fun information straight from the legend himself. It’s only four-minutes in length, but it’s an indication of the type of quality bonus features that would work perfectly throughout the remainder of the Walt Disney Signature Collection.
- Oswald The Lucky Rabbit: Africa Before Dark
Another recently recovered item on this list is the new short starring Walt’s original mascot, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who only rejoined the Disney company in 2006. For Disney fans who clamor at the idea of viewing old archival items from the early days of Walt, this is a goldmine, and it’s amazing to see this restored and re-released in public format. There’s not much else to it though. It would have been nice to get a short featurette about the short, where it was found and the process of restoring it, but the addition of it is something special on its own.
- Deleted Scenes:
My favorite part about this release is that it includes Deleted Scenes not included on previous releases of the film. Not all of them are so groundbreaking, but seeing these make their way out of the archives and discovering these long-lost pieces of Disney history is something mesmerizing on its own, and I can’t be thrilled enough that Disney went the extra length to share these with the public.
- The Bambi Effect:
This feature is both a hit and miss, only because its concept is great, but there’s so much potential to expand upon. This short looks at the influence that Bambi has had on other Disney films through the decades, whether it be storytelling or visual artistry. It’s neat to see how the influence of one of Walt’s most amazing films is still felt today but it would be nice to further expand, rather than quickly jotting off facts like the short does. Either way, this feature deserves attention for bringing some great insight into the legacy of the film.
Inside Walt’s Story Meetings: Extended Edition:
Perhaps the greatest thing about Bambi being re-released is this feature alone, which gives viewers the option to watch the film with audio commentary from the meetings that Walt conducted for the production of the film. Sharing archival audio, footage and concept art, this feature is an absolutely brilliant one. This was included on the previous Diamond Edition release, but this version is extended from its previous version on the last release.
Bambi Fawn Facts:
This bonus is realtively kid-based, taking a look at facts about the animals, locations, and other tidbits of info throughout the film. It’s nothing special,
Classic Bonus Features:
The classic bonus features are wonderful and unique, but all of them have been included on previous releases, so if you bought the Diamond Edition years ago, you won’t find anything new in this category. The features included in this section are:
- Classic Deleted Scenes:
Previously released deleted scenes in storyboard form, these are three deleted scenes that were cut from the film rather early in the process, including an entire deleted song from the film.
- The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born:
This fifty-six minute documentary is both informative and wonderfully interesting, and it adds a great layer of insight into the creation of the film and the process of working at the Walt Disney Studios during the studio’s golden era.
- Tricks of Our Trade:
An excerpt from an episode of Walt Disney’s legendary television show, Disneyland, (later known as Disney’s Wonderful World of Color or The Wonderful World of Disney) this short features Walt discussing the visual techniques used to bring Bambi to life, mainly through the now legendary Multiplane Camera.
- The Old Mill: Animated Short:
Walt Disney’s 1937 Academy Award-winning short, The Old Mill is fully restored for this release, which is famous for the first use of the Multiplane Camera, which would play a big role in the visuals of Bambi.
Overall, this release of Bambi adds up to an absolutely marvelous one, except the only issue with it is, that more than half of its quality is content that was re-released in previous iterations, so this would truly only be rewarding to those who didn’t rush out to buy the Diamond Edition several years ago. Regardless, this truly marks a triumphant return for the film, packed with fantastic extras that add up to the definitive version of the film to add to your collection. Despite a few hiccups, Bambi on Blu-Ray proves that Disney’s cherished classic can still find new ways to entertain, and its new release is something worth celebrating.
Bambi is now available to purchase on Blu-Ray on Amazon.com