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Bambi (1942)

A great love story.

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 70 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U


With its fluffy, cutesy-wutesy woodland characters, there’s little doubt that early Disney classic ‘Bambi’ is aimed at the very youngest end of the kiddie spectrum – but it’s hard to imagine anyone of any age not being able to appreciate the level of thought and care that went into bringing Felix Salten’s deer-based novel to life. Now digitally remastered for this brand new Special Edition DVD package, the artwork and animation looks as fresh as any of its modern-day equivalents – and that’s quite a brag for a 63-year-old.

Of course, everyone knows the story by now. Bambi – a wobble-legged fawn – is born deep in the forest, he makes friends with a rabbit called Thumper, there’s a family tragedy, and he goes on to become all big and grown-up and a bit of a hero.

It’s not the deepest of tales – in fact, it’s about as one-dimensional and straight-forward as it gets. But think of it this way: ‘Bambi’, perhaps more so than any other feature film from Disney’s cartoon canon, tells it like it is. Okay, so I’ll concede that, in real-life, animals don’t actually converse with each other in fluent English, and I very much doubt that your average skunk is quite as camp as the character of Flower (seriously, a boy called Flower!). But here we have an admission that animal families DON’T function in the same way as human ones, the winter is a time of hardship rather than constant fun-and-games, and the single-most terrifying threat to these creatures’ very survival is the ever-looming presence of man. Add to that the heavy amount of – erm – “twitterpation” that goes on once it reaches springtime, and you have a story which is just a couple of notches off being a fully-fledged Bill Oddie wildlife documentary.

It's Got: Hunting with dogs. Boo!! Hiss!!

It Needs: For the animals to stop taking the full orchestra with them wherever they go. It’s no wonder the hunters find them so easily!

DVD Extras Among the reams of featurettes and documentaries on how ‘Bambi’ was made, there’s a fascinating Patrick Stewart-hosted dramatisation of the original story meetings, put together using real transcripts of what was said and featuring some heavy input from The Waltster himself. There are also deleted scenes, a stills gallery, an animated short titled ‘The Old Mill’, and trailers for some of the Mouse House’s other current releases (including a promising look at the forthcoming ‘Chicken Little’, with a top quality send-up of the paparazzi). Version reviewed: Bambi 2 Disc Special Edition see also Bambi (Disney Special Platinum Edition) DVD Extras Rating: 8/10


One of Disney’s most en-DEERing movies (arf!).