Bambi II—Buena Vista
“Your mother can’t be with you anymore,” intones the Great Prince, a regal buck, to young Bambi, thus setting into motion the events of this modern-day follow-up to the timeless classic. Voiced by Patrick Stewart, the Great Prince breaks with tradition by taking everyone’s favorite fawn under hoof, teaching Bambi the ways of the forest, while bonding with his son. Consider this Bambi: The Formative Year.
Disney animators returned to the company’s classical style, delivering visuals that could be seamlessly integrated into the 1942 original. The emphasis is on the scenic meadows and forest flora, and Bambi and Thumper haven’t changed a bit. The detail in the 1.78:1 anamorphic presentation is stunning, as well, and it all looks comfortably familiar. The soundtracks, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, are modern all the way. They match well with 2005’s Bambi Platinum Edition but are potentially jarring to traditionalists used to the original’s mono track. But forest ambiance is nicely rendered, and the dialogue is firmly anchored in the center channel.
As this is a made-for-DVD sequel, there’s no second disc of material—nor is one needed. But the extras you’ll find on the disc are slim. There’s a short making-of, which includes the voice talent and goes into the initial intimidation the filmmakers felt at following up on such a beloved film. There’s also a visual trivia track, a rather tedious game, and a tutorial on drawing Thumper. Sure, it’s not The Lion King, but a little more attention to extras would have been welcome.