Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Bambi

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
CONTRIBUTOR

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Animation
Length:
1 hr. 9 min.
Year of Release:
1942
Copyright, Disney click photos to ENLARGE Cover Graphic from Bambi

Starring: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Peter Behn, Tim Davis, Donnie Dunagan, Ann Gillis, Sterling Holloway, Cammie King, Fred Shields, Bobby Stewart, John Sutherland | Director: David Hand | Writers: Felix Salten (novel), Vernon Stallings

Perhaps Disney’s finest animated film ever, the story and songs of Bambi are truly engaging. And the artwork and attention to detail are amazing considering that everything was hand-drawn (no computer-generated art in those days). The artists studied everything from real deer to slow-motion film of splashing water droplets.

The plot follows the first two years in the life of Bambi the deer, the “young prince of the forest.” We see him and his friends Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk as newborns (= children), as yearlings (= teenagers) and as two-year-olds (= adults). Especially memorable are the first snowfall/ice skating scene, Thumper’s wisecracks, and the scene where all three friends get “twitterpated” and find romance.

On the more serious side, this is probably the first Environmentalist (read: “anti-hunting”) animated film. The scene where Bambi’s mother is shot, and the scene where a large group of hunters roam the woods shooting at everything in sight and also start a forest fire by leaving their campfire unattended, are too scary for very young children and are heavy-handed propaganda at any age. All the forest animals and birds (including meat-eaters such as Friend Owl) are shown as one happy family; “Man” (who is never actually seen) and his hunting dogs are the only baddies. If your children are too young to know fantasy from reality, I suggest a short explanation that all animals don’t really get along this way, nor do they all speak the same language-it’s just a cartoon.

Viewer Comments
Negative
No one who has read Felix Salten’s original novel, “Bambi: A Life In The Woods” will be satisified with what the Disney studios did to it. The novel is, in the words of the gentleman who wrote the forward to the book, “A delicious novel.” It is also much darker and contains more meaning than Disney’s lighthearted romp. If you haven’t read the novel, please do. Once you have, you may appreciate it so much that you’ll never put Disney’s version in the VCR again! My Ratings: [4/2]
—Nora Mayers, age 43