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Blu-ray Review: Bambi Diamond Edition
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Disney's Bambi Blu-ray

Bambi
2-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
DVD Packaging | Blu-ray Packaging
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release date: March 1, 2011
End date: April 30, 2012

This Bambi: Diamond Edition is going back into the Disney Vault on April 30, 2012, so if you’re a fan of the film, it’s definitely worth grabbing before it’s put out of circulation. Once it goes into the Vault, the price on existing stock will shoot up (possibly as high as $70) and no new copies will be made and sold. The Diamond Edition includes both DVD and Blu-ray edition of the film (with a choice of two different packagings) and is packed with bonus features, which I detail here below. If you’re a fan of Disney animation, the extras included here will be a real treat.

If your children have already learned about the Circle of Life from The Lion King, there’s more harsh life lessons to be learned from Bambi. While the 70-minute Disney animated feature is high quality and beautiful, it’s certainly managed to traumatized plenty of youngsters since its release in 1942. The film follows a young deer named Bambi from his birth through his adulthood, and while it’s a touching story of life’s adversities being overcome by love and the power of friendship, watching Bambi’s struggles will make you cry. If you don’t cry, well, then you don’t have a heart.

I’ve always loved the Bambi character, but since the movie traumatized me at a young age, I could never understand why it’s been marketed to children. There’s so many harsh realities in this movie, too harsh I’d think for a small child.

As an adult, though I still tear up during Bambi, I really love what you can learn from the movie. Disney has always excelled at showing the evil that men do and in Bambi this is especially true, since “man” is the villain of this picture. There’s no evil witch or powerful sea creature – just man and his quest to dominate other species. In this film especially a light is shone on how man’s behavior can adverse affect other living creatures. Another aspect Disney had always succeeded in doing is anthropomorphizing its characters, whether they’re animals, toys, or cars — you feel for them in a humane way.

I don’t really want to get into details about what happens in the movie, but if you’ve an adult who’s never seen Bambi, it should be easy to figure out what adversity Bambi faces knowing that he’s a deer growing up in the forest where man is the enemy. In my opinion, it’s a much harsher situation than Simba faced in The Lion King, which is a 90s film where you always feel like things will work out; Bambi does not prompt that kind of feeling when you watch it.

Bonus Features

Watch bonus clips from the Bambi Diamond Edition.

BACKSTAGE DISNEY: Diamond Edition

— Inside Walt’s Story Meetings-Enhanced Edition
Here, the film plays in a box on the side with narration taken from the original transcripts of the story meetings Walt Disney and his team had while making Bambi. At times, the film takes up the major part of the screen and in smaller boxes there’s concept sketches and photos of the creative team. Periodically, a bar will pop up on the bottom of the screen and if you click on it, it opens up an extra feature where Disney historians and animators give further details about Walt Disney’s process. Other pop-up extras are deleted scenes, other Disney cartoons, visual styles, the music for the film, and even personal stories from Walt Disney. This is just as great as any director commentary you can get.

— Play Movie with Disney Second Screen
If you have an iPad, this is an option to play the film with Disney’s Second Screen. You download a special app on you iPad and then watch the film on your TV while viewing special, interactive features on your iPad.

— Deleted Scenes
These are two never before seen deleted scenes. Both are introduced by a Disney historian, explaining the scenes and why they were inevitably cut from the film. The first scene is more fleshed out, while the second is just storyboards with dialogue.

Two Leaves: One was of two last leaves on the tree. In the film, we just see the two leaves, but in this deleted scene, the leaves — a male and a female — talk about being the last two leaves and how hard it is to hold onto the branch.

Bambi Stuck On A Reed: Bambi gets stuck on a reed and meets up with a mouse, who’s house Bambi is disrupting.

— Deleted Song
“Twitterpated”

— Blu-ray Interactive Galleries
Several galleries with character designs, backgrounds, production pictures, storyboards, and visual development. There’s several ways to search through the images, by type or by name; there’s two different ways to view them (flow view or thumb view), and you can view them all with or without music. You can save images as “favorites” and even rate them. A menu guide at the beginning of this feature explains how to navigate and interactive in these galleries.

FAMILY PLAY: GAMES & ACTIVITIES

— Disney’s Big Book of Knowledge: Bambi Edition
An interactive education gaming feature where characters and locations are the premise of teaching children about life in the forest, the animals, the seasons, and more. As you play, you are rewarded with virtual stickers for each task completed.

CLASSIC DVD BONUS FEATURES

The features here were on the previously released DVD and do not have the interactivity of the new bonus features created for this Blu-ray Diamond Edition.

— Deleted Scenes
Both deleted scenes are storyboard sketches combined with dialogue.

– Winter Grass
– Bambi’s First Snow

— The Making Of Bambi: A Prince Is Born
A making-of feature divided up into six featurettes, each around 7-10 minutes long, that gives a look at the story, the characters, the actors, the art design, the music, and the history of the film. There are interviews with film historians and some of the people involved in making Bambi, as well as current Disney production members. There’s also behind-the-scenes footage, production images, animation, and more.

— Tricks of the Trade
This is a 7-minute excerpt for the 1957 Disneyland TV show which has Walt Disney talks about the multiplane camera, which would be used to make cartoons look more realistic, and demonstrates its use. This camera was used for Bambi, and we get to see how the opening scene was created using this multiplane camera.

— Inside the Disney Archives
Nearly 9-minutes long, this is a tour of the Disney Archives given by Andreas Deja, a Disney Supervising Animator. Here, they pull out unused sketches for Bambi, as well as artwork used to inspire the background artists.

— The Old Mill
The Old Mill is an animated 9-minute short from 1937, which actually won the Academy Award that year for Best Short Subject/Cartoon. The short is included here in full, and uses the multiplane camera, serving as a testing ground for use for Bambi.

— Original Theatrical Trailer

SNEAK PEEKS

Trailers for Disney films coming to theaters and home video, like Bambi II, Winnie The Pooh, Tangled, The Lion King Diamond Edition, as well as other Disney-related promotion items.

Official Synopsis

As morning light breaks across the meadow, a young deer named Bambi is born and hailed as ‘Prince of the Forest.’ Soon Bambi emerges from the thicket on wobbly legs, much to the delight of his new friends, Thumper, the playful rabbit, and Flower, the bashful yet lovable skunk. But the fun of nibbling on fresh blossoms and frolicking through the woods is only the beginning. Exploring his new world, and guided by the wisdom of Friend Owl, Bambi learns valuable life lessons with every adventure – experiencing the power of friendship, family, and love along the away.

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