STUDIO: Disney
MSRP: $29.99 – Remember, it’s an investment in your children’s future.
• “The Legacy Continues” Making-Of
• Bambi’s Trivia Tracks
• Thumper’s Hurry & Scurry Game
• Disney Sketch Pad – How to Draw Thumper
• Sneak Peeks

The Pitch

“Bambi grew up in the first one? I don’t think so. And neither do you.”

The Humans

Voices of Patrick Stewart (Masterminds), Alexander Gould (Finding Nemo). The box text says my ‘favorite characters’ return, but I never got a good look at the hunters.

Things the 1942 Bambi never had: (1) Digitally enhanced foreground detail;

The Nutshell

This isn’t precisely a sequel, but an expansion on the middle section of the 1942 original— Bambi Year One, if you will. It begins shortly after Bambi’s mother, um, goes away, and follows his attempts to win the approval of his father, the Great Prince.

The Package

Forced trailer block not enough for you? This disc automatically runs everything continuously from startup —trailers, feature, featurettes, more trailers— thanks to the “Fast Play” feature, or as I like to call it, the Li’l Lardass Option. The making-of featurette is surprisingly informative; the pop-up trivia balloons less so.

(2) Fart jokes;

The Lowdown

Disclosure: the original Bambi has never been one of my favorite Disney films. I’ve always found its combination of delicate naturalism and cutesy big-eyed talking animals jarring. I felt it got much better once Bambi did grow antlers, what with the fight and the fire and the girl deer and all.

But if you’re going to sell lunchboxes, baby Bambi is the way to go so that’s what we get here.

It’s actually quite shrewd. Bambi II is more like what adults think they remember about Bambi I than the original film itself. If you have small kids they’ll probably be more comfortable with this one anyway. Parents, add a point to my rating.

(3) Interspecies romance.
We’ve come a long way.

Technically the movie is pretty slick, with judicious CGI accenting the traditional artwork. The animators have worked hard to approximate the qualities of the ink-and-paint original; engaging in the same type of field research as the original team, studying live animals and scouting the same forest locations for background detail. They even went to the trouble of casting child actors to voice all the juvenile animals. Bruce Broughton’s music is lush, if not a patch on his magnificent score for The Rescuers Down Under. I just don’t see the story as a necessary one to tell, even if it does rehabilitate the Great Prince’s rep as a deadbeat dad.

5.5 out of 10