Personal Overview: I honestly don’t think I’d ever seen Bambi before. I know the story and I’ve seen enough clips and heard enough about it that nothing came as a great surprise. It kind of reminds me of those little live nature documentaries that used to be on the Disney Sunday evening show every so often.
The story in the film was actually based on a book called Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. They had to change the type of deer that Bambi was as the type in the book is not found in North America.
It’s very much what you expect and be described easily: deer is born, learns some valuable and at times amusing lessons about life in the forest, tragically loses his mother to hunters, returns older and wiser after spending some time with his previously distant father, falls in love, gets caught up in a hunt and then a forest fire caused by hunters, eventually finds true love and fathers children of his own, thus beginning the cycle anew.
I’m not heartless, but the death of Bambi’s mother didn’t affect me that much. Maybe because I knew it was coming and maybe because I’ve heard so much about it before.
Hero/es: that has to be the young buck Bambi. I’m not really a fan of him as the main character. He’s cute, but that’s about it. I don’t think we can really get him off the hook by saying that he was young, because Thumper wasn’t much older, but far more ‘street wise’. In fact I think it would have been a better film if Thumper had been the focus. Then again if you want a film about rabbits, you probably should see Watership Down.
Villain/s: there isn’t one specific villain, animal or otherwise, it’s not like The Lion King. I guess if pushed you could say Man and his Dogs were the villains. They are after all the ones who hunt and kill Bambi’s mother as well as the ones who start the fire that nearly kills Bambi and his friends and damages their home.
Cuteness Factor: like with Dumbo it’s probably the central character, although I preferred Thumper and his reactions to being told off by his mother and having the name of his father invoked. The skunk Flower also rated high on the cuteometer.
Animation: to be frank here it was disappointing. They did set themselves a huge challenge and the technology of the time simply wasn’t up to it. The backgrounds look fairly flat and at no time did any of it, the animals include look all that real. It also didn’t have the advantage of being able to whack in something like Pink Elephants on Parade.