Review: Bambi Diamond Edition Blu-ray

Bambi Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Disney | DIRECTOR: Various | CAST: Sam Edwards, Fred Shields, Will Wright, Paula Winslowe
RELEASE DATE: 3/1/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD combo $39.99
BONUSES: featurettes, artwork, short film, deleted scenes, game
SPECS: G | 70 min. | Animated family | 1.33:1 aspect ratio | 7.1 DTS-HD audio | English, French, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Bambi movie sceneOne of Disney’s most loved animated films, Bambi debuts on high-definition in a fine Blu-ray Diamond Edition. The picture looks great, bright, clear and sharp. There is some grain, but don’t mistake that for a bad transfer. This traditional hand-drawn animation won’t look as clear as modern CGI movies, like, say, Despicable Me, but that grain is part of the film’s character.

Bambi‘s gorgeous Oscar-nominated score sounds beautiful in this new edition too, enhanced with 7.1 DTS-HD, as well as though cute kid voices that brought to life the charming characters.

As with all of its premium releases, Disney has packed the Bambi Diamond Edition with special features, and they all show reverance to this 1942 film. Although children will still enjoy this movie as much as the first generation who saw it, most of the special features on the Blu-ray will appeal to adults, especially animation fanatics. Which is why it seems funny that Disney is launching its new Second Screen feature with this classic film.

An innovative feature to be sure, Second Screen allows viewers to watch behind-the-scenes pictures on a computer or iPad synced to the movie as it plays. To use, viewers must download the Second Screen app then run it while the film plays on a TV. The computer or iPad will listen to the movie’s audio, then sync its feed to the film. Our app couldn’t hear the TV — even with the volume turned up loud — but the video on the TV plays a number next to the fullscreen movie, and with that number, viewers can manually sync up the computer to the TV.

Once synced, the app streams such features as concept art, storyboards, trivia, pages from the original screenplay and more. Viewers can go deeper into any of these at any time and return to the synced timeline when they’re done.

The app provides a wealth of information and beautiful artwork, but paying attention to two screens takes away from the experience of watching this great movie. Children who have watched it over and over and enjoy multi-tasking with mass-media will enjoy it, but whether they’ll do both for the entire film remains to be seen.

Also for adults, is the “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings — Enhanced Edition” feature, a fascinating piece that takes old photographs of Walt Disney and his animators at work creating Bambi and re-enacts the transcripts of their story meetings with voiceover. We see/hear them discussing how the characters should be introduced, the style of the animation and more.

The disc also has two deleted scenes, which are shown in storyboard sketches, and a deleted song “Twitterpated” — invented long before our current social networking craze.

Designed squarely for the younger members of the family is “Disney’s Big Book of Knowledge: Bambi Edition,” in which players can choose to be one of four characters from the film, including the young prince. As the movie’s owl teaches children about the four seasons, the viewers can play games, such as matching a child to its mother, to earn digital stickers for their book. It’s simple, fun and done well.

The Blu-ray also contains the special features from earlier DVD versions of the film, include a making-of featurette, a look at Disney’s archives, an exerpt from the 1957 Disneyland TV show “Tricks of the Trade” in which Walt Disney narrates the story of the multi-plane camera that was used in the production of Bambi, two more deleted scenes, and the charming animated short film The Old Mill. All were good then and are worthy of being repeated here.

Although this is a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, a two-disc DVD-only version of Bambi Diamond Edition will be released on April 19, priced at $29.99.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.