DIRECTOR: David Hand
I’m sure that in the mid 1980’s, I saw Bambi at a Stockport cinema with my mum, but this may well have been a dream. Either way, I can’t remember for it sure, and that may well be the point. Is this a memorable film?
It’s a classic, it’s rated number third in the AFI’s ‘classic’ category, but is it any good? Average is about right and this was by the far the weakest Disney film that I have seen so far. This was a short subject stretch to the point of tedium with a 70 minute running time, which was 60 minutes too long.
The story, if there was one, was simply to follow Bambi, a white-tailed deer, from birth, through the seasons of the forest, and eventual mating and procreation. But ‘Man’ was the villain here, whether it be starting fires or shooting key characters, this was a very effective attempt to anthropomorphise the forest’s population as they fight to survive the hunter, or ‘The Great American Sportsman’ as they like to call themselves.
This movie was effective enough to prompt criticism from hunters who felt that they got a raw deal. I’m sure that many would agree that the scene where young Bambi is chomping the first spring grass in meadow with him mother is unjustifiably cruel to the hunters, but I’ll leave that up to you!
Man is portrayed badly in this film and rightly so, but to achieve this, the anthropomorphism is turned up to eleven, with the cutesy animals all living in harmony together as the seasons change. I do feel that we’ve seen this before in many a short and that this does go on somewhat.
The opening three and half minutes consists of the credits and a long, long, long panning shot of the forest, multi-plane Technicolor in all it’s glory, but it is boring, I’m sorry, but it is. It’s beautifully shot, designed and animated with a story which is a great anti-hunting propaganda piece, but that’s about it.
This is no Dumbo, Pinocchio or Snow White and it’s not even Beauty And The Beast, which isn’t one of my favourites, though many would disagree. This is a disappointment and just soft by today’s standards.