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Bambi: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Disc Review

Bambi: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Disc Review

Bambi (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) (1942)

BAMBI: DIAMOND EDITION (1942, Blu-ray released March 1, 2011 – MSRP $39.99)

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Prepare to be stunned by another Disney Diamond Edition Blu-ray. Bambi might be a quiet, unassuming story about forest life but the new high-def version of the film, restored and re-imagined in a clean, vivid presentation is simply astounding! And if you’re not suitably taken aback by the film itself, just wait ’till you get a load of the new and very innovative Disney Second Screen bonus feature!

    For the first time ever, the wonder, music and majesty of one of Walt Disney‘s greatest triumphs comes alive in glorious detail through the magic of Blu-ray high definition! Now Bambi, Walt Disney’s beloved coming-of-age story, will thrill a new generation of fans with its breathtakingly beautiful animation, soaring music and characters who will touch your heart-Bambi, the wide-eyed fawn, his playful pal Thumper, the loveable skunk Flower and wise Friend Owl.

Bambi is lite on story but effective nonetheless. The simple, straightforward tale of a forest-prince coming of age is timeless and will no doubt feel familiar to those who’ve seen The Lion King (there’s the proud parent with cub/fawn scene, the frolicking with the animals scenes, the “circle-of-life” closing scene, etc.). The 70-minute running time seems surprisingly brief when you consider that there isn’t a plot to be found in the film. But Bambi doesn’t need one. Every moment, every scene is just brimming with life and detail. A fascinating, beautifully rendered journey through a year in forest life.

The Bambi: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Disc sports a colourful, near-perfect high-def presentation. The image on the disc is the result of the restoration of original elements, further re-imagined by eradicating film grain and boosting colour and contrast. I’m sure it doesn’t look exactly as the film appeared when it debuted in 1942 but I don’t think there’s any way you’ll be disappointed by the slick, modern results. The 7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio also re-imagines the original film elements, opening up the sound field, interpreting the mono source into a respectful multi-channel experience.

As brilliant as the presentation of Bambi is on the Blu-ray disc, it’s A/V qualities are almost overshadowed by the impressive collection of special features. On the disc, the finest feature is the “Bambi: Inside Walt’s Story Meetings” interactive picture-in-picture track (watch a sample in the video above). This isn’t your standard commentary with pictures but a recreation of actual story meetings, with actors performing from the transcripts of some of Walt’s infamous “sweatbox” sessions. This is great stuff that really gives a sense of what it must have been like to be involved in the creation of an animation classic. Along the way, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing archival photos, drawings and paintings and have the opportunity to jump out of the film to see brief featurettes that further illustrate the topics of conversation.

The other special feature that’s particularly worth noting is a new and ingenious one called Disney Second Screen. Let me tell you, I’m in love with this idea. Second Screen involves the viewer downloading an application onto their iPad or computer – an application that follows the film as it plays, displaying alternate content that can often be manipulated by the viewer. Astounding! I love being able to run an animation test back and forth slowly on my iPad, examining it frame by frame, just as I enjoy having the pleasure of pinching and zooming around sketches and paintings. I foresee a grand future for this concept. It’s hard to believe nobody implemented it sooner! Visit the Second Screen website for a demonstration: disneysecondscreen.go.com.

The disc is rounded out with most of the special features from the DVD edition of the film (including the exceptional, nearly hour-long “The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born” documentary), deleted scenes, an Interactive game, hours worth of HD image galleries, “Disney View” (which fills the black bars on the sides of the film with scene-relative paintings by Disney artists) and more!

Highly recommended!

FULL LIST OF SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Inside Walt’s Story Meetings-Enhanced Edition (new): A multi-tiered, interactive story-telling experience. Go back in time with dramatic voice re-enactments of the moments with Walt that led to the creation of this classic film.
  • Two never-before-seen deleted scenes (new)
  • Deleted song: “Twitterpated” (new)
  • Blu-ray Galleries (new)
  • Disney’s Big Book of Knowledge: Bambi Edition (new)— An interactive educational gaming experience that uses the film as a learning tool. Players can customize their own Big Book of Knowledge and learn all about forest creatures, seasons and more. Each time a player completes a task, they are rewarded with new stickers to decorate their Big Book of Knowledge.
  • The Making of ‘Bambi’: A Prince Is Born— A comprehensive look at the making of Bambi covers the story, the characters, the actors, the art design, the music and the history of Walt Disney’s classic film using behind the scenes footage, production stills, animation, artwork and multiple interviews with performers and behind the scenes participants.
  • Tricks of the Trade (excerpt)— In an episode from the 1957 Disneyland TV show, Walt narrates the story of the multiplane camera, an animation innovation crucial to the production of Bambi.
  • Inside the Disney Archives— Disney Supervising Animator Andreas Deja guides viewers through Disney’s Animation Research Library, where artwork from past Disney animated feature films is stored, including early story sketches of Bobo the rabbit,” (who became Thumper), glass paintings made for the multiplane camera and more.
  • The Old Mill— Winner of the 1937 Academy Award for Best Short Subject/Cartoon, The Old Mill was a testing ground for several techniques critical to Walt’s artistic vision for Bambi, including the multiplane camera, animating realistic animals and experimenting with such natural occurrences such as wind, rain and lightning.
  • DisneyPedia: Bambi’s Forest Friends

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Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of March 1

Top 5 New Blu-ray releases for the Week of March 1

I’m still reeling from the Academy Award show I suffered through this past Sunday. What a train wreck. Thanks goodness we’ve got a whole new batch of incredible Blu-ray discs hitting the shops today to ease the pain. It’s not as overwhelming a week as in the recent past but there are some must-own titles out today. If you like animation or b-movie lesbian vampires this is the week for you!

As always, clicking the Blu-ray package art will zip you over to Amazon where every purchase you make through our links helps the site stay on its feet. We appreciate every single click and thank you again for continuing to read The Blu-ray Blog.


1. 127 HOURS

127 Hours [Blu-ray] (2010)


    From Academy Award®-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) comes the powerfully uplifting true story of one man’s struggle to survive against mountainous odds. Aron Ralston (James Franco) has a passion for all things outdoors. But when a falling boulder traps him in a remote Utah canyon, a thrill-seeker’s adventure becomes the challenge of a lifetime. Over the next five days, Ralston embarks on a remarkable personal journey in which he relies on the memories of family and friends–as well as his own courage and ingenuity–to turn adversity into triumph!

Despite Franco’s dreadful performance hosting the Academy Awards the other night, I think the guy is something of a genius. And no role has seen him stretch his skills more than that of Ralston in 127 Hours. Add to that the stunning photography by Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle, killer montages edited by Jon Harris, an amazing score by A.R. Rahman and the overall brilliance of Boyle in the director’s chair and you’ve got one hell of a film. I haven’t laid eyes on the Blu-ray yet but all reports suggest that it’s an all around winner. Might even become your new demo disc, from what I understand!

I should also point out here that Fox is graciously including the film that won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short, God of Love, on this disc as a Blu-ray exclusive. How amazing is that?!

Special features:

  • Commentary with Danny Boyle, Christian Colson & Simon Beaufoy
  • Search & Rescue – The events that aided the search and rescue of Aron Ralston (BD-exclusive)
  • 127 Hours: An Extraordinary View – A unique collaboration between the director and actor (BD-exclusive)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • God of Love: short film by Luke Matheny (BD-exclusive)

AMAZON: $19.99


2. BAMBI: DIAMOND EDITION

Bambi (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) (1942)

    For the first time ever, the wonder, music and majesty of one of Walt Disney‘s greatest triumphs comes alive in glorious detail through the magic of Blu-ray high definition! Now Bambi, Walt Disney’s beloved coming-of-age story, will thrill a new generation of fans with its breathtakingly beautiful animation, soaring music and characters who will touch your heart-Bambi, the wide-eyed fawn, his playful pal Thumper, the loveable skunk Flower and wise Friend Owl. Plus, all-new immersive game and special features that reveal the extraordinary creative process behind the making of this timeless classic take you deeper into Bambi’s world than ever before.

I’m brave. I’m going to say it. Bambi is one of the best Blu-ray discs of the year thus far. I mean, I fully expect all of these Disney Diamond Edition restoration/re-imagining discs to look like a million bucks but the special features on this one in particular really go the extra mile, providing a revolutionary experience the likes of which I’ve never had before with Blu-ray. I’ll have a full run-down of the disc later on but for now allow me to recommend Bambi: Diamond Edition to all Disney and animation fans and to anyone who owns an iPad! Exciting stuff!!

AMAZON: $22.99


3. OUT OF SIGHT

Out of Sight [Blu-ray] (1998)

    Meet Jack Foley, the most successful bank robber in the country. On the day he busts out of jail, he finds himself stealing something far more precious than money.. Karen Sisco’s heart. She’s smart. She’s sexy, and unfortunately for Jack, she’s a Federal Marshal. Now, they’re willing to risk it all to fins out if there’s more between them.. than just the law. Out of Sight, Starring George Clooney as the smooth criminal who bends the law and is determined to make one last heist, and Jennifer Lopez who chooses all the right moves.. and all the wrong guys.

This is still one of my favourite Steven Soderbergh films. Back when Clooney was fresh off of E.R. and Jennifer Lopez looked to have a future as a respected actress. The Blu-ray disc looks great and carries over all the special features from the previously issued DVD. So, if you’re a fan of Soderbergh, Elmore Leonard (yup, another film adapted from his work), Clooney or J. Lo this upgrade is a no-brainer!

AMAZON: $19.99


4. DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS

Daughters of Darkness [Blu-ray] (1971)

    International screen icon Delphine Seyrig stars as Elizabeth Bathory, an ageless Countess with a beautiful young ‘companion’ (Goth goddess Andrea Rau) and a legendary legacy of perversion. But when the two women seduce a troubled newlywed couple (French beauty Danielle Ouimet and John Karlen), they unleash a frenzy of sudden violence and depraved desire that shocked both art house audiences and grindhouse crowds worldwide. Co-written and directed by Harry Kumel, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS remains one of the most exquisitely mesmerizing adult horror films ever made.

Oh, man. I was so tempted to list the Daughters of Darkness Blu-ray in the number-one slot this week. As much as I’m loving 127 Hours and Bambi on Blu, this is really the release of the week for me. Blue Underground are nothing short of heroes for bringing this to Blu-ray. The only thing that’s keeping it down in this list is the fact that it’s a film with limited cult appeal. By that I mean, it’s a mannered and precisely paced, early ’70s vampire film that won’t feel terribly horrific or titillating for most. But for fans like me who grew up on older, B-movie horrors this disc is an absolute treat. I don’t have a copy in my hands yet but early reviews peg the Blu-ray as a worthy upgrade from the DVD, carrying over all the supplemental material and improving on the look and sound of the feature.

AMAZON: $20.99


5. LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS

Love & Other Drugs [Blu-ray] (2010)

    Academy Award® Nominees Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway co-star in “the smartest, sexiest and downright best screen-melting romance of the year” (Parade). Hathaway delivers an unforgettable performance as the free-spirited Maggie, who meets her match in a charming Viagra salesman named Jamie (Gyllenhaal). Maggie and Jamie leap into a no-strings-attached affair, but no matter how hard they try to keep things “casual,” they can’t help falling under the influence of the ultimate drug…love!

Yes, this is the naked Anne Hathaway movie. It’s also the naked Jake Gyllenhall movie but I suspect the film isn’t as well known for his butt as it is for his costar’s many nude scenes. Hathaway may have done well to adopt her Love and Other Drugs wardrobe in favour of her many gowns in her role as Oscar host this past Sunday. I have a feeling the critics might have been a tad more forgiving of her performance if she had.

AMAZON: $22.99


ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK
Clicking an image will take you to Amazon.com where you can learn more about and purchase the Blu-ray disc:

Burlesque [Blu-ray] (2010)Faster [Blu-ray] (2010)Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy (Seven-Disc Blu-ray)Scooby-Doo!: Curse of the Lake Monster [Blu-ray]



Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould (Director's Cut) [Blu-ray] (2009)S.W.A.T.: Firefight [Blu-ray] (2011)The Cable Guy [Blu-ray]Cannes Man [Blu-ray]



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Disney’s Bambi coming to Blu-ray

Disney’s Bambi coming to Blu-ray

I’ve never been a big fan of Disney‘s Bambi. But I’ll tell you, with the quality of these recent restorations prepared for the Blu-ray Diamond Editions, I’ll happily sit through any of Disney’s catalogue, no matter my feelings on the subject matter. The transfers have been immaculate to this point, and I suspect Bambi will follow suit. We’ll know for sure in March when the Blu-ray disc hits shops.

Disney's Bambi Blu-ray


BAMBI
(March 1, 2011 – MSRP $39.99)
Video: 1.37:1 1080p
Audio: TBA

Special Features:

  • Disney’s Second Screen – Content comes alive on your laptop, iPad, or smartphone as you watch the movie.
  • Disney View – 16×9 Full frame viewing experience
  • Intro by Diane Disney Miller
  • Inside Walt’s Story Meetings – Enhanced interactive edition
  • Two never-before-seen deleted scenes
  • Deleted song
  • Blu-ray interactive galleries
  • Game: Disney Big Book of Knowledge
  • Classic DVD bonus features

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14 Classic Disney Animated Titles in Upcoming Diamond Collection Blu-ray Releases

14 Classic Disney Animated Titles in Upcoming Diamond Collection Blu-ray Releases

Snow White Blu-rayWe’re only a few weeks away from getting our hands on Disney‘s Snow White on Blu-ray. Based upon the studio’s work on their Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio discs, we can expect great things. And now we have even more to look forward to. Disney has given us a look at what we can expect from their premium Diamond Collection line of Blu-ray discs all the way up to 2016!! 2010 will bring us Fantasia and Beauty and the Beast (as well as Fantasia 2000), continuing forward at a rate of two titles per year with The Lion King, Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians and more. More details in the press release below:

    ANAHEIM, Calif., Sept. 10 — (D23 Expo) — Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) announced the launch of the new Diamond Collection today at the D23 Expo. Diamond Collection is the definitive collection of the Walt Disney Studios most historic and beloved animated classics that will debut on Blu-ray Hi-Def.

    Beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on October 6, the Diamond Collection comprises an additional 13 of Disney’s most treasured titles, including: Beauty and the Beast; Fantasia and Fantasia 2000; The Lion King; Bambi; Cinderella; Lady and the Tramp; The Little Mermaid; Peter Pan; The Jungle Book; 101 Dalmatians; Sleeping Beauty; and Pinocchio.

    “Walt Disney’s gift of telling captivating and engaging stories was matched only by his passion for presenting them in the most spectacular way,” commented The Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook. “We are proud to continue his pursuit of excellence with ‘The Diamond Collection,’ which brings the films that are the foundation of our Company to audiences of all ages across the globe.”

    As part of the new Diamond Collection criteria, each film will be thoroughly restored to the highest level of picture and sound, feature groundbreaking, state-of-the-art immersive bonus content, and include unprecedented levels of interactivity, personalization and customization only made possible by Blu-ray technology. The Disney Diamond Collection will represent a major transformation of the home entertainment industry providing families with more engaging, entertaining experiences than any other format.

    Bob Chapek, President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment adds, “Because today’s family rooms are more technologically-advanced and consumer expectations are higher than ever, we are excited to announce the launch of the Diamond Collection. We believe that the collection offers consumers the opportunity to enjoy these timeless classics like never before, and underlines Disney’s commitment to continue to bring the best quality product and immersive experiences in to the home.”

    Kicking off the new worldwide collection in October will be Walt Disney’s first full-length animated feature film, the one that started it all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Two titles will be selected each year, including Beauty and the Beast and Fantasia in 2010, as Blu-ray Diamond editions, each title will be released from the Disney vault for a limited time.

    The new Diamond Collection takes full advantage of the newest breakthroughs in film restoration to exhibit these movies in Blu-ray Hi-Def, ensuring each film is digitally enhanced from their original negatives providing for the first time ever a pristine 1080p picture and Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound.

    WDSHE is updating each Diamond Collection disc to contain newly branded features that offer a more immersive, user-friendly experience that will keep families entertained for hours. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ‘Diamond’ treatment includes:

    Hyperion Studios, a ‘Backstage Disney’ feature, which allows audiences to be digitally transported to 1937 to discover first-hand the Hyperion Studios, the original studio Walt Disney himself built and where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was conceived and developed. Viewers will virtually walk the halls of this historic landmark experiencing life at Hyperion Studios back in the 1930′s. This “Backstage Disney” feature contains newly dimensionalized archival photos, animator recordings, archival transcripts and rare footage of Walt himself revealing how Disney’s gifted filmmakers crafted the very first animated feature.

    The Magic Mirror offers ‘Smart Navigation’, using the latest in Blu-ray technology, the iconic Magic Mirror guides the audience through the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition features with ease serving as the “host” for an incredibly immersive experience. The Mirror will recognize viewing patterns, knows where the audience has left off and will even suggest where to navigate next. This marks the first use of artificial intelligence in a Disney Blu-ray release and provides viewers the control to personally create a customized Snow White experience.

    Mirror, Mirror On The Wall is one of ‘Disney’s Family Play’ features, through BD-Live, this mirror can find the secret princess inside each viewer with a series of questions, then create for them a personal message from their favorite princess who will call them on the telephone. Additional Family Play features include, What Do You See? an interactive game, where players must untangle scrambled images and Jewel Jumble a game where jewels from the Dwarfs’ mine must be put in order to win the game.

    About Disney’s New Blu-ray Diamond Collection:

    The new Blu-ray Diamond Collection represents The Walt Disney Studio’s most prestigious animated classics. The Blu-ray Diamond Edition Discs will be comprised of 14 of Walt Disney’s most treasured animated classic titles to be released through 2016. These titles represent the highest level of picture and sound, feature groundbreaking, state-of-the-art immersive bonus content, and include unprecedented levels of interactivity, personalization and customization, only made possible by Blu-ray technology.

    About Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, a recognized leader in the home entertainment industry, is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax and Buena Vista product which includes DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and electronic distribution. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is a division of The Walt Disney Studios.

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