Monday, August 29, 2011

Bambi II On Blu-ray

One of the classic films of all time is the Disney film, Bambi. Just released on Blu-ray DVD is the sequel Bambi II. The film released in 2006 is the follow up to the original which was recorded in 1942. Despite the difference in time regarding the release of the sequel, the story in Bambi II starts soon after the death of Bambi’s mother.

Bambi’s father, The Great Prince, voiced by Patrick Stewart, is a single father facing the conflict of raising a son. Bambi goes through many issues that others may be going through, as a result Bambi II is more than just a coming of age story, it looks at the relationship of single fathers and the conflicts they go through in raising a child on their own. Through a series of events, Bambi and The Great Prince learn to realize the need for each other, but not just each other, the community around them.

Over the years I have been quick to praise Disney for their outstanding work, especially in the field of Blu-ray transfer. Bambi II has a great story that is mature enough for adults and children to watch and learn from. The voicing of the characters of the film is quite good, especially Alexander Gould, the voice of Bambi, Brendon Baerg as Thumper, and Nicky Jones as Flower. The story is well crafted. What is lacking isn’t so story, but the magic animation Disney is noted for. There are several good scenes with quality transfer but those are few and far between. The quality is more of what may be expected of a television program than a DVD or movie release. Whatever the expectation, one who has viewed Disney DVD’s in the past will agree this is not as good in its animation.

One of the strengths of the DVD is the story and in that story the understanding of the two primary characters, Bambi and his father The Great Prince. While the story could have been a tad longer, the basics of the characters are intact. One of the weaknesses is the movie plays to the attention span of small children too much. It would have been possible to add some moments appreciated by small children, and developing the characters for the adult audience. For those who have gone through single parenthood, there is enough information but for those wanting to understand the issues, more could have been worthwhile.

Just as in real life, lessons for both father and son are learned through experience, sometimes, even the bad experiences. We see this transpire in a natural and real way, if seeing the story as an allegory. Thankfully, the ultimate lessons doesn’t come at the cost we of the original Bambi film. That doesn’t mean there isn’t tragedy involved, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned. While some of the events may be difficult for the very young viewer, there are ample opportunities for discussion between child and parent and due to the nature of the events and growth process within those characters it is likely discussion will need to take place.

We unfortunately live in a society where family is becoming more fragmented. Disney recognized that I believe when they decided to do this sequel. The struggles of single parenthood are at its root the theme of this film. While there are difficulties in single parenting, Disney in the character of The Great Prince recognizes that the concept of love within the family, even in broken or single parent families is important and needed. Ultimately that love is transferred not just from a father to a son but from a son to a father. That love involves a sacrifice where one is willing to go beyond the norm. We see that sacrificial love throughout the Bible, a love that reflects not only the goodness of God, but the goodness and love to be communicated to our fellow human. While there is at times conflict, the ultimate desire is to love God and each other. Through the experiences, which require sacrifice, we can get to the place where there is not only understanding, but a life worthwhile for each of us.

I find myself having mixed opinions about Bambi II. I loved the story, although it could have been longer than the 74 minutes of the film, but I was disappointed in the quality of animation. I expect more from Disney and this product just didn’t deliver. While there are some special features on the DVD, I also found them lacking. If purchasing the DVD, I would recommend the purchase of just the standard version of the film as there is nothing worth the additional expense of the Blu-ray. It is nice to know that Disney is offering a value price of the Blu-ray that comes complete with the standard DVD. If able to find the standard DVD in a stand alone package, that is what I would recommend.

I still find myself reluctantly recommending this product on the power of the story and the well acted out voicing. It isn’t the best, but a less than average Disney product is still better than the standard run of the mill animated or children’s product. This one isn’t much better, but it is better on story alone. For that reason, it is worth owning and seeing several times, especially for those coming from single parent families and fathers.

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