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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Animals > Literature > Bambi (1942/Disney Diamond Edition Blu-ray)

Bambi (1942/Disney Diamond Edition Blu-ray)


Picture: A     Sound: A     Extras: B     Film: A-



Based on the 1923 book Bambi: A Life in the Woods by author Felix Salten, Bambi became an instant hit for Disney in 1942 and is still revered as an all time classic.  The tale of a fawn who befriends a rabbit named Thumper, a skunk he names Flower, and even a female fawn named Faline.


Bambi quickly learns the ways of the forest in the meadow, as his mother explains that deer are not protected there.  It is in the meadow also where Bambi meets his father (the Prince of the Forrest) a strong Buck, who amongst a crowd of rushing animals saves Bambi and his mother as “Man was in the Forest.”  Bambi goes on with his early years, having fun even through a harsh winter, learning to slide on ice along side Thumper.  One day while venturing into the meadow to feed on fresh grass, Bambi’s mother orders him to flee.  When shots ring out Bambi’s mother is nowhere to be found and with this his father arrives to explain that his mother can’t be with him anymore.  Time flashes by quick and as spring arrives Bambi is a young adult and along with Thumper and Flower the boys discover what Spring fever is all about.


The film is simple, yet inspiring and is exemplary of how Disney could say so much with so little.  The combination of artistic styles used for Bambi is admirable and certain aspects (mainly due to their difficulty) have never been repeated again.  The original Bambi novel was much grimmer than the Disney adaptation ended up; starting the wave of light hearted Disney films that would pull in both children and adults alike.  Like Snow White and Fantasia before it, Bambi created a lot of firsts for the studio that would be repeated time and time again in the future.  Animators were treated to live animals in the studio to help render realistic deer, rabbits, owls, etc into the animation format; something that would be done for future films like that of The Lion King.  The film was an inspiring landmark moment for the studio and something that generations would grow up watching for years to come.


Here on Blu-ray we have another fine example of why Disney always gets it right.  The 1.33 X 1, 1080p AVC encoded MPEG-4 image is stunning on Blu-ray, demonstrating colors, black levels and a sharpness that films half its age can not claim on Blu-ray.  Disney always had great foresight and maintaining their catalog in vaults for generations has paid off.  The animation leaps off the screen and is crisp as the day it was drawn (perhaps better) as not only do they have great original stock to work from, but Disney Studios has mastered transferring films to High Definition.  Nothing is over saturated, or washed, or even suffering from digital noise reduction issues; Bambi looks and sounds perfect.  The sound is a DTS-HD Master Audio that is all encompassing as the music and forest surrounds the viewer.  The 7.1 surrounds is extraordinary and the film has never sounded this good before.  Whoever does the mixing at Disney gets it all too right.  The film’s use of sound is gentle and subtle.  The viewer is not very often slammed with epic sound, but there are gradual build ups.  Much of the 7.1 track comes from the front, but if you listen closely you can hear the forest noises creeping up on you.  It is all done masterfully.


The bonus features are not as plentiful as some Disney releases, as most is ported over form the DVD, but what is offered is very well done with a few new features.  Extras include the following:


The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born

Almost an hour of footage (ported from the DVD) that shows how Bambi came to life. Very well done!


Deleted Scenes


Tricks of the Trade


The Old Mill


Theatrical Trailer


Inside the Disney Archives


Introduction by Diane Miller (HD)


2 Never Before Seen Deleted Scenes (HD)


Deleted Song (HD)


Inside Walt’s Story Meetings – Enhanced Edition (HD)

An amazing look behind the scenes of Walt’s meetings that will have fans chomping at the bit.  This feature uses transcripts, real footage and more to show the process that brought the film to life.


Disney’s Big Book of Knowledge Game (HD)



A great film that is finally immortalized in perfect picture and sound here on Blu-ray.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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