The last of the The Classic Era films is number five, Bambi. The film is based on the 1923 book Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. After Bambi, Disney was involved in some of the World War II efforts and took a step away from the traditional film.
The fifth film in the canon is beautiful. The backgrounds are gorgeous, and the characters are well developed. The deer even seem to move like real deer. Some of the forest backdrop could be its own recognized art if you appreciate landscape paintings. I also loved how the film created a different feel for the open pasture where the danger of hunters is high. It managed to express a feeling of danger in an area that wasn’t bathed in dark and dreary colors. The pasture was bathed in light but had a lack of definition that made it slightly uneasy.
Moving onto the music, Bambi almost felt like Fantasia with only a single scene. Yes, there is dialogue which Fantasia didn’t have but the film had a never-ending symphonic score. Not only was the score continuous but the animation was synchronized with nearly every note. The music was so prominent that it felt almost as if it was its own character in the movie. By the end, the music almost felt overdone. I thought it may have been too much of that Disney magic.
The weakest part of Bambi is the story. It essentially is just following a deer around for most of his life. There is not much of a defined conflict or resolution and the developments that happen seem to be rushed. I would have enjoyed much more depth into his relationships with his forest buddies.
I would like to point out that Friend Owl was an entertaining and fun character I had forgotten about. I only remembered Bambi, Thumper, and Flower. I think there should be some merchandising of the owl character because I thought he was great.
In the end, I don’t feel Bambi was very strong. It could be growing up, but I thought all these movies were much better until re-watching them.
Run Time – 70 Minutes
15th Academy Awards – 3 Nominations – 0 Wins
Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture – Nominated
Best Original Song – “Love is a Song” – Nominated
Best Sound Recording - Nominated
Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality
1. Dumbo 10-23-1941
2. Pinocchio 2-7-1940
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937
4. Bambi 8-13-1942
5. Fantasia 11-13-1940