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Bambi: Diamond Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Review)

February 20, 2011 by  



A timeless animated classic!  “Bambi: Diamond Edition” on Blu-ray looks and sounds more incredible than it has ever been before.  If this 1942 masterpiece resonates strongly with you or you are a Disney fan looking to upgrade to “Bambi” in High Definition, you won’t be disappointed.  “Bambi: Diamond Edition” is another must-own Disney animated classic on Blu-ray and is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Bambi: Diamond Edition

FILM RELEASE DATE: 1942

DURATION: 70 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition Full Screen (1:33:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby DEHT Language Tracks, Restored Original Theatrical Soundtrack, Subtitles: English SDH, English ESL, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G (All Ages Admitted)

Release Date: March 1, 2011

Directed by James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield and Norman Wright

Story by Felix Salten

Story Direction by Perce Pearce

Story Adaptation by Larry Morey

Story Development by Vernon Stallings, Melvin Shaw, Carl Fallberg, Chuck Couch, Ralph Wright

Produced by Walt Disney

Music by Frank Churchill, Edward H. Plumb

Art Direction by Tom Codrick, Robert Cormack, Lloyd Harting, David Hilberman, John Hubley, Dick Kelsey, McLaren Stewart, Al Zinnen

Featuring the voices of:

Hardie Albright as Adolescent Bambi

Donnie Dunagan as Young Bambi

Stan Alexander as Young Flower

Peter Behn as Young Thumper

Thelma Boardman as Mrs. Quail

Tim Davis as Adult Thumper

Sam Edwards as Adult Thumper

Ann Gillis as Adult Faline

Otis Harlan as Mr. Mole

Eddie Holden as Chipmunk

Sterling Holloway as Adult Flower

Cammie King Conlon as Young Faline

Mary Lansing as Aunt Ena/Mrs. Possum

Margaret Lee as Thumper’s Mother

Clarence Nash as Bullfrog

Bobby Stewart as Baby Bambi

John Sutherland as Adult Bambi

Paula Winslowe as Bambi’s Mother

Fred Shields as Great Prince of the Forest

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.

Back in 1923, Felix Salten wrote a novel titled “Bambi, a Life in the Woods” in Austria.  Five years later, the novel would receive its English translation and became an instant hit and a classic.

This led to MGM producer and director Sidney Franklin purchasing the rights to a film version of “Bambi, A Life in the Woods” in 1933 but because he felt it would be too difficult to make it into a live action film, he sold the rights to Walt Disney in 1937.

But Walt Disney was not a healthy company at the time.  “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia” were box office flops and it didn’t help that the International audience that Disney depended on for revenue was lost due to World War II.  And as for Bambi, as the budget started to reach up to over $800,000, it seemed as if the company would not be able to make their next film.  Fortunately, Walt Disney, who is a wonderful businessman, managed to woo Bank of America in getting the funding for “Bambi”.

While “Bambi” would become an instant classic for Disney throughout the last 70-years, back in 1942, the film still faced problems due to World War II and would also lose money in the box office, but it would regain its income in 1947 and would also receive the ire from hunters who felt the film was harsh towards them.

But needless to say, “Bambi” has come an instant classic in Walt Disney’s line of animated films (“Bambi” is the fifth film from Walt Disney) and it also paved the way for the animation industry as the film would lead to the hiring of Disney’s first female animator, the film would utilize multiplane camera technology, would feature an impressionist style courtesy of artist Tyrus “Ty” Wong and his artwork of the forests would be groundbreaking for its time and an inspiration for future artists.  Also, the film would feature a lot of paint and colors developed during the making of the film and would eventually lead to newer colors which would be used for future Walt Disney animated films.

Also, “Bambi” was created on an extreme budget and it was a learning experience for Walt Disney and the studio.

As “Bambi” has had its DVD release in 1997 (as part of the Masterpiece Collection Version) and in 2007 as a Platinum Edition, the film will receive its 2011 Blu-ray release as a Diamond Edition to celebrate it’s 70th year.This new release features a new enhanced digital restoration, newer special features and the use of Disney View and the introduction of Disney’s Second Screen technology.

“Bambi” is a film that features a doe giving birth to Bambi.  As Bambi learns to walk, he befriends a young rabbit named Thumper and a skunk named Flower.

We see how Bambi learns from his mother, from learning to walk, learning about the meadow and warning him of the dangers but also introducing him to his father, the Great Prince of the Forest.

As Bambi grows up, he meets a young fawn named Faline at the meadow but during this time, he quickly learns the danger of man, as hunters begin shooting towards the animals.  Bambi and his mother managed to escape death and she explains to him about the dangers of man being the forest.

As the animals go through a rough winter, trying to find food, his mother teaches him how to eat the bark from a tree and Bambi learns from Thumper on how to slide on ice.

By the end of the Winter, a hungry Bambi is shown a patch of new grass that has grown, in which he can eat.  As the grass is a sign of the arrival of spring, his mother can sense a hunter nearby and warns Bambi to run.  Both mother and Bambi run as fast as they can and a the shot of a rifle is heard.  As Bambi runs quickly back home, he waits for his mother to arrive, but she has not come back.

What has happened to Bambi’s mother?  And how will Bambi survive on his own?

VIDEO:

“Bambi” is one of the most wonderful looking animated films that still looks magnificent 70-years-later.  The artwork is highly regarded by artists and although not realistic, you get a feel of a painted style, a brilliant artistic use of paint in animation brought to Disney’s attention courtesy of Tyrus Wong.  It was a look that Disney had wanted and amazingly implemented to “Bambi” and the overall look of the film is even more impressive on Blu-ray.

“Bambi” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1).  The colors are vibrant, the blacks are nice and deep and the character designs and animation look absolutely cute but also its lines are absolute clean.  But it’s how the artistic backgrounds and foregrounds compliments the animation is quite amazing!

“Bambi” has never looked this magnificent and I am impressed by how much of an upgrade this film looks compared to its previously awesome Platinum DVD release only four years ago.  There is no compression artifacts, no banding, no scratches or dust, it looks perfect!

If you love this film, you definitely need to upgrade to Blu-ray because “Bambi” looks fantastic in HD!

Because the film is presented in 1:33:1, once again, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings back the “DisneyView” featuring the art of Lisa Keene, so instead of the black bars on the side, you can opt for colorful artwork that matches the scenes of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Bambi: Diamond Edition” is presented in 7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, French and Spanish Dolby DEHT  Language Tracks and restored original theatrical soundtrack.  It’s important to note that Disney chose to go with High Resolution audio over lossless DTS-HD Master Audio.  But the audio is still fantastic as you can hear the thunder and lightning throughout your surround channels, you can hear Frank Churchill and Edward Plumb’s wonderful score and while this film is primarily dialogue and music driven, there ares some scenes where the audio sounds fantastic (primarily the final half hour of the film).

The soundtrack is not to immersive, but “Bambi” is not an action-driven film. So, the audio is well-utilized when it matters most and its during those more intense, action-based scenes.  Needless to say, this is a wonderful lossless high resolution soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English SDH, English ESL, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Bambi: Diamond Edition” features the following special features:

  • Bambi: Inside Walt’s Story Meetings – A pretty awesome featurette.  It’s hard to tell you the duration as my player wouldn’t give me the duration time for this feature but because it is featured in a way where you can watch various features separately, you can listen to Walt Disney and staff’s audio meetings on “Bambi”, you can also see two deleted scenes, the making of the film, two bonus animated Disney shorts, anecdotes and more.  The sequence does show picture-in-picture while the film is playing on one side you get to watch this special feature on the other side.  It’s clearly one of the best Disney special features I have seen thus far!
  • Disney’s Book of Knowledge – An interactive game based on multiple choice and for players to earn stickers (on-game stickers).
  • Disney Second/View/What is Disney SecondView – This feature allows people to watch a film on their iPad or laptop and sync it with what they are watching on TV, so you can use the iPad or laptop like a remote but while watching it on screen of your portable device.
  • Two Leaves – (3:07) An original concept of how Disney and crew were thinking of creating dialogue between two leaves but opted not to use it on “Bambi”.
  • Bambi Stuck on a Reed – (1:20) Another concept that was not used for “Bambi” but is featured on this Blu-ray.
  • Twitterpated – (1:53) An explanation of what “Twitterpated” is.
  • Bambi Interactive Galleries – An extensive look at the films sketches, background paintings production pictures, storyboards and visual development.
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring two deleted scenes (featured on the original 2007 DVD) – Winter Grass (:56) and Bambi’s First Snow (2:31).
  • The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born – A wonderful making-of featurette (about an hour long) featured on the original DVD.  This featurettete goes into the art and Disney hiring its first female animator, the hiring of Tyrus Wong, who brought the look and feel of Bambi’s artistic backgrounds because he wanted to move up in his job from in-between animation, the music of “Bambi”, the history of “Bambi” and how the book was adapted into an animated film and more.
  • Tricks of the Trade – (7:18) Walt Disney talks about the multi-plane technology used on “Bambi”.
  • Inside the Disney Archives – (8:39) A visit to the vault to look at unused art and sequences from “Bambi”.
  • The Old Mill – (8:58) A 1937 Silly Symphonies animated short.
  • Original Theatrical Trailer – (2:12) The original 1942 theatrical trailer for “Bambi”.

EXTRAS:

“Bambi: Diamond Edition” comes with a Blu-ray slipover case and a DVD fof the film.  The DVD features an introduction by Diane Disney Miller and also includes the enhance edition of “Walt’s Story Meetings” and DisneyPEdia: Bambi’s Forest Friends.  The DVD is presented in 1:33:1 aspect ratio, 5.1 Dolby English, French and Spanish language tracks and subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.

“Bambi” is a classic that will continue to entertain generation after generation.

It features a wonderful, touching story about family and how they continue to survive in the wild but faces the challenge of man.  Granted, I understand that this film may not satisfy hunters (as many of them were upset by the film during its original release) but for my family, as my wife and I, both have grown up with this film and it was one of the first Disney films that we introduced to our son.

We both felt that it was a family film that featured cute characters, innocent characters but also showed the importance of family, listening to rules and of course but also a first step of explaining to them about what was transpiring between Bambi and his mother and what happens later in the film.

So, as this film has resonated so strongly for my family, I’m sure it’s a film that many other families will love.  Afterall, it has entertained generation after generation for 70-years.

And with this film now being released on Blu-ray, I do have to say that this is one of the most beautiful classic animated film from Disney on Blu-ray thus far.   Call me biased but not only is the artwork magnificent, everything about it… from the animation, it’s character design, the cast (the voice actors were magnificent and how they used the young voice actor’s accidental pauses during the recording and actually using it in the film was brilliant!), its music and the storyline, everything works in harmony.  The nature of the film had a unique style, the use of the multiplane cameras also gave it a distinct look.  I really enjoyed this Blu-ray release!

Now, of course, comparing the special features to other animated classics from Disney on Blu-ray, it may seem that “Bambi” has less special features.  In the past, the special features were all separated but the way its done on “Bambi”, they were combined as one full special feature.  So, for example “Bambi: Inside Walt’s Story Meetings”, this may seem like on feature but really, there are about ten special features in that one feature alone.  For “The Making of Bambi”, there are five special features and of course, the other additional special features, if added, you get a lot included in the “Bambi: Diamond Edition”.  Granted, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio” are still excellent as they go way beyond what one would expect for special features but this release is still quite solid!

Overall, if this 1942 masterpiece resonates strongly with you or you are a Disney fan looking to upgrade to “Bambi” in High Definition, you won’t be disappointed.  “Bambi: Diamond Edition” is another must-own Disney animated classic on Blu-ray and is highly recommended!

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