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2 reviews, 35 user ratings

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by brianorndorf

"A very deer movie"
5 stars

During its nearly 70 years of existence, “Bambi” has grown from a box office disappointment to one of the defining treasures of the Walt Disney Animated Studios. A feature of immense beauty and appealing cartoon behavior, the 1942 picture feels just as alive and relevant all these decades later, sustaining as a richly imagined saga of life and death, discovery, and instinct, communicated by true masters of the animation craft, turning the yearlong experience of a maturing deer into mesmeric cinema.

Within the great forest, a fawn has been born. Named Bambi, the young creature is about to embark on an education of epic proportions, following his beloved mother around the woods, learning the ways of life with help from pals Thumper (a mischievous rabbit) and Flower (a shy skunk). As the seasons change and danger arrives in the form of Man and his penchant for hunting, Bambi quickly grasps his place in the animal kingdom, growing to assume his role as the prince of the woodlands.

Adapted from the 1923 Felix Salten novel, “Bambi” is a straightforward story of biological impulse and whimsical discovery. Emerging a few years after the debut of “Fantasia,” the picture takes the appearance of an extended sequence from the orchestral valentine, with music and movement guiding the storytelling and emotional core of the piece, with little reliance on dialogue to articulate motivations. Walt Disney and director David Hand (“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”) elect a pastoral route to highlight the lead character’s learning curve, allowing the viewer the pleasure of observance, watching as the forest comes to life with colorful activity, following an assortment of inhabitants as they come to experience a year in the life of their overwhelmed prince.

The simplicity of “Bambi” is thrilling, forgoing tired storytelling formula to rely on the naturalistic progression of life. The film opens and closes with springtime births, filling the meat of the picture with an exaggerated depiction of animal behavior (Thumper alone is bursting with striking personality). While thoroughly anthropomorphized and voiced with a blissful range of reassuring tones, the critters retain their primitive position in the forest, creating a sublime community event where all types come out to meet Bambi and help him along the path of maturity. As with the best Disney pictures, “Bambi” is strongest when simply drinking in the immense detail, with the sumptuous animation constructing a vast forest portrait of painterly superiority, with depth goosed spectacularly by the production deployment of the famous multiplane camera technology. My word, all these years later, and “Bambi” stuns with its artistry and character designs, slowly tracking the change of seasons with glorious cinematic texture.

Even Daryl Hall would have to admit this is one of the finest animated features committed to film, produced and packaged during Walt Disney’s ballsiest years of control.

I haven’t truly experienced “Bambi” since I was a very young boy, making the viewing for this review a total revelation. While gifted cutesy moments to snuggle up with the audience, the movie retains a potent message of threat from humankind, displaying destruction and tragedy with a masterful refinement that offers shock without graphic imagery, making the menace all the more unnerving. Bambi’s development is equally as subtle and indelible, treating maturity (and eventual need to mate, called “twitterpating” here) with respect while allowing plenty of room for music and mischief to amuse. Indeed, “Bambi” is a masterpiece, confidently intertwining handcrafted art and screen entertainment, delivering an enormously enchanting story of life, fluffed with that famous Disney fairy dust.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1943&reviewer=404
originally posted: 04/14/11 11:12:43
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User Comments

11/29/15 Dr.Lao Don't let the word "Dismey" fool you. This is not a kid's movie 4 stars
7/20/12 Sean Harrison A true classic, one of the best animated films ever. 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic A wonderful meditation on the cyclical nature of life. Beautifully animated. 5 stars
5/15/11 stephen nettles CLASSIC 5 stars
4/20/11 Stephanie This movie makes me cry more than any other ever has. But so good! 5 stars
4/20/11 Maya Jewell A beautiful and haunting film. The death of his mother never fails to move me. 4 stars
5/18/07 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good. 4 stars
4/19/07 Lauren I still watch Disney and love this film 5 stars
4/17/07 Tiffany Losco I love bambi! This is a good movie 4 stars
12/06/05 Quigley face it, the movie is scary as heck. 2 stars
8/30/05 ES Hunters that shoot at everything that moves? Sounds like more PC garbage to me 1 stars
6/22/05 blah blah rad! 4 stars
2/25/05 Gray disturbing and beautiful 4 stars
5/14/04 Sean Scanlan Disney charm 5 stars
12/04/03 Ray Its definitively a classic 5 stars
10/19/03 ???????? I still think of this as a very lyrical film. 5 stars
10/01/03 Alice Disney rules 5 stars
8/22/03 I Would Though I prefer Pinocchio and Lady & The Tramp, this is still great. 5 stars
5/23/03 bear shut up u haters! bambi is the only whose ever been there for us 5 stars
11/28/02 R.W. Welch Animation is awesome, story and score pretty good. 4 stars
11/04/02 Charles Tatum Disney manipulates the children of the world 2 stars
10/18/02 sensible Environmentalists at it again! teaching kids not to hunt,that we destroy forrests. Idiots! 1 stars
12/15/01 I love movies even when I was a kid I found this so boring. I did love Pinocchio though 2 stars
9/01/01 Tony Best children's animation ever 5 stars
8/25/01 Tony Braime as a child, it was the most wonderful film I ever saw 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat Teen Movie Critic, I don't think I agree w/ U. It's good for a young age. 4 stars
12/16/00 Stewart Ball I can't describe how magnificient this film is. Walt Disney was born to make it. 5 stars
11/21/00 Laura Livermore good for children over 8. the death of a mother shouln't be witnessed by younger audiences 4 stars
11/12/00 The EVIL Penguin a spectacular achievement; your kids will love it 4 stars
9/11/00 Stewart Ball Another Disney masterpiece. Thumper is so funny and cute and he steals the show. 5 stars
8/07/00 Stewart Ball Walt Disney's crowning achievement 5 stars
7/23/99 Quentin Tarrantino A major influence on my work. 5 stars
6/30/99 hum does what its supposed to. remember rows of kids sobbing at mother being shot 4 stars
6/14/99 Dylan id like to kick that fucking slice of fucking veal right up the fucking ass. 1 stars
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  13-Aug-1942 (G)
  DVD: 01-Mar-2011


  02-Feb-1943 (G)

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