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!
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