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29 August 2010 @ 10:01 pm
Disney Movies: #5 Bambi (1942)  
Entry #13 in the 'Watch all the Classic Disney (Animated) Movies' Challenge

Previous movies:
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
Peter Pan (1953)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The Black Cauldron (1985)
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Oliver & Company (1988)
Mulan (1998)
Tarzan (1999)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Brother Bear (2003)

BAMBI

In an idyllic forest setting, a baby deer is born.  His adoring mother names him Bambi, and begins teaching him the ways of the forest.  He quickly befriends a young rabbit named Thumper and a skunk called Flower, and they romp through the forest playing and having fun.  But life in the forest isn't all games - the mysterious "Man" casts a constant shadow over the forest, and as Bambi grows up he learns about the many dangers Man brings to his home.

Not being an animal person, I wasn't especially interested in revisiting Bambi.  I mean, I didn't even like the movie that much as a kid, when I was generally fond of cartoon animals romping pointlessly around.  (I mean, I liked Fern Gully and Dot and the Koala.  Shut up. You probably did, too.)   But Seanie and I have exhausted the local library's supply of Disney movies, so we're working through Netflix's supply, and this was the first one I found.

Considering this was made in 1942, I was pretty impressed with the animation.  The animals moved pretty realistically, although Bambi's anthromorphized face is a little freaky.  (Also, the owl's eyes scared the heck out of Seanie.)  I was really impressed with the use of the multi-plane camera to bring a sense of dimension to the forest.  It looked really good. 

But the movie is still boring.  The characters are pretty flat because it's a movie about animals doing stuff, and not necessarily how they feel or want out of life.  I mean, it's not as if Bambi ever says, "Gee, someday I would sure like to be a Great Prince of the Forest like my dad."  He just sorta floats from one scene to the next without any sense of purpose or motivation.  His friends aren't any better.

Also: Flower the skunk.  I totally thought it was a female character during his first two appearances.  Nearly gave me a heart attack when his voice deepened and he got all twitter-pated and paired off with a girl skunk.  That was just surreal.

So this movie's most famous scene is the death of Bambi's mother.  (SORRY IF THAT'S A SPOILER YA'LL.)  Even if you've never seen the movie, you have probably heard about it.  Animaniacs made a whole 'Slappy Squirrel' episode about it.  It's one of the traumas of childhood that every American kid goes through.  Before watching this movie for the first time in ten or fifteen years, I would have sworn to you that the death scene is actually shown and you see the body of Bambi's mom in the film.  This is not the case.  My bad.  It is a very well-done scene, though.  No wonder it sticks with so many kids.

Bambi is not a very long movie, but it didn't really engage my attention.  Even the big drama scenes, like Bambi's fight with another buck or the fire at the end, didn't seem exciting.  The colors of the animals,at times, seemed inconsistent, especially when Thumper and his siblings were running around together, but overall the animation's quite good.  But if you aren't an animal lover, this movie is boooooooorrring!!!

4/10 stars.
(Someone's probably gonna come along and tell me this is their favorite movie now.)