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Bambi II (2006) R1 Retail DVD
Like many people who were weaned on the classic animated films made by Walt Disney, I have been less than thrilled by the onslaught of direct-to-video sequels the company has been producing the last dozen years. Starting with "The Return of Jafar" in 1994, we have not only seen sequels to many recent animated films, such as "Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas" and "Lion King II: Simba's Pride," but direct-to-video follow ups to some of those classic Disney films, as is the case with "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure" and "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True." Consequently, when I satmore… down to watch "Bambi II" I was fully expecting to be bitterly disappointed. Instead I was pleasantly surprised (actually, I was floored). "Bambi II" begins with the well-remembered moment from the original when Bambi (voiced by Alexander Gould) is looking for his mother and The Great Prince of the Forest (Patrick Stewart) informs his son that she will not be coming back, and ends with Bambi still a fawn. The beloved characters Thumper (Brendon Baerg) and Flower (Nicky Jones) return, as does Feline (Andrea Bowen), but having more of an impact is a character who only appears briefly in the original, Ronno (Anthony Ghannam), another fawn whose antlers have already come in. Ronno not only keeps calling Bambi a baby and a coward, but is also making moves on Feline. Meanwhile, The Great Prince is having trouble with his new responsibility for raising his young son and teaching him the ways of the forest, and Bambi is trying to impress his father. Neither one of them is succeeding all that well. Directed by Brian Pimental (who also voices both the Groundhog and the Porcupine), this 2006 direct-to-video release has several things going for it, starting with having Patrick Stewart voice Bambi's father. But the greatest strength is the story by Pimental and Jeanne Rosenberg with a screenplay by Alicia Kirk inspired by the original story of "Bambi" by Felix Salten. Bambi is trying to learn how to confront his fear and stand up to Ronno and other dangers in the forest. The film never uses the phrase "deer caught in a headlight," but that is what Bambi looks like at times and it is something he needs to overcome. What I liked the best is that there are several moments when father and son start to connect, but it does not quite work out, so that there is actually some character development and not just a sudden happy ending. Overall, there is actually more of a plot here than simply Bambi growing up. The animation is done in the same style of the original classic, and if it is not as rich in detail the differences are far less than you would expect from a direct-to-video feature. I have always considered "Bambi" to have the most beautiful artwork of any of the Disney films, and this one does not suffer that much in comparison (the animators do seem to like bright yellows more this time around). There is one cutesy animal sung song, "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song," based on Frank Churchill's score for the original film, but most of the songs serve as backdrops for various sequences and are done by some familiar country singers: Alison Krauss' "There is Life," Michelle Lewis' "First Sign of Spring," and Martina McBride's "Through Your Eyes." Anthony Callea performs "The Healing of a Heart" during the closing credits. The film is shown in "Family-Friendly Widescreen" (1.78:1), which is enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions, and also has a French language track. The bonus features on this DVD consist of a Making-Of featurette, "The Legacy Continues," and a "Bambi's Trivia Track" that can provide a constant stream of pop ups with fun facts as you watch the film. Kids will enjoy "Thumper's Hurry & Scurry Game" and there is also a "Disney Sketch Pad" piece in which Disney animator Andreas Deja teaches us how to draw Thumper. The end result is a half-step down in quality from the original classic, which is amazing enough to justify rounding up on this one. Granted, no animated film will ever take the place that "Bambi" has in the collective psyche of the millions of youngsters who were devastated when Bambi's mother was killed. Still, "Bambi II" sets the bar pretty high for a sequel (it is certainly good enough that they could have released this to theaters) and we can only hope future direct-to-video offerings will follow suit.
- Bambi II (2006) R1 Retail DVD
- 1434 x 1422 px
- 297 KB
- 1117 (0 today)
- 11/03/07 by allcdcovers
- Quality Rating:
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