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Bambi II - Blu-ray Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

Bambi 2

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2 stars

Beginning during the coldest part of the original Bambi, this direct-to-video sequel fills in the gaps of Bambi’s maturation under his father’s guidance.  The animation isn’t as sharp as the original just a bit more glossy in its overall look.  Bambi 2’s heart is in the right spot - although there is no way it could ever live up to the beloved classic – yet the movie can’t escape from being completely unnecessary.  It’s known as the best of Disney’s direct-to-video sequels, but that’s really not saying much.  Originally made in 2006, the lighthearted sequel arrives – courtesy of Disney Blu-ray – on High Definition for your home theater needs.

Bambi (voiced by Alexander Gould) has just witnessed his mother being shot by hunters and is found wondering through the forest by his father, the Great Prince of the Forest (Patrick Stewart).  Now, the Great Prince must raise his son and with Friend Owl (Keith Ferguson) the two go on a search to find the right doe to raise Bambi.  Unfortunately, Bambi is a bit confused as to what really happened to his mother and spends a large amount of his time dreaming about her and fantasizing about being reunited with her someday.  All this wandering about during the winter season and the beginning of spring brings him and Thumper (Brendon Baerg) and Flower (Nicky Jones) into great trouble from the other hunters.

With the arrival of spring, Great Prince amps up his search for a more suitable parent for Bambi since he fears for Bambi’s safety (even inside the den) and will not allow him to roam about from one too many close-calls.  Bambi wants to be brave and wants to impress his father so that he can be trusted and not have to be raised somewhere where it is safer so he and his friends explore as much as they can on their own and challenge danger…until lessons learned from his father are the only thing that can save he and his friends.

The plot is softer in tone and carries no real emotional weight for many of the characters.  The focus on the surrounding environment and the whole cycle of life that spun the original narrative is somewhat muted by the passing of time and the film’s unfocused plot plays much of the action way too safe for a majority of the time.  I suppose it is innocence, in a sense, that is the only worthwhile aspect of this needless sequel.  I mean, it’s not a legitimate cash grab from Disney, but Bambi 2 will never be able to compete with the “big boys” to be anything of real merit.

With only new characters - Ronno (Anthony Ghannam) and a pack of hunting dogs - to add to the conflict of the narrative, Bambi 2 makes up for its shortcomings with a story that embraces the already familiar characters and their adventures in the forest around them.  If you liked those characters, then chances are you will enjoy spending more time with them.  Songs from Alison Krauss and others, keep the movie from being completely dismissible.  Sure, Bambi 2 feels a bit more in the modern vein of The Lion King and all its sequels but its father-son relationship is still too transparent to ever be on par with the lovely relationships established in the original film.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Bambi IIMPAA Rating: G for general audiences.
Director
: Brian Pimental
Writer: Alicia Kirk
Cast: Patrick Stewart; Alexander Gould; Nicky Jones; Andrea Bowen; Anthony Ghannam
Genre: Family | Animated
Tagline:
A father's love, a son's courage.
Official Site: http://disney.go.com/disneyvideos/animatedfilms/bambi2/
Memorable Movie Quote: "You are afraaaiid! You cannot juuuump! Nya-nya-nya-nyyya-nya! Nya-nya, nyaaaahhh! "
Distributor:
Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studio
Release Date:
No theatrical release
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 23, 2011

Synopsis: For the first time you get Bambi II in Blu-ray High Definition on Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack on August 23rd.

All your favorite friends are back -- Bambi, Thumper, Owl, Flower and Faline in this magnificent Special Edition of Bambi II. The remarkable story revealing how Bambi was raised by the Great Prince of the Forest is finally releasing from the Disney Vault for the first time in Blu-ray high definition. Celebrate the unbreakable bonds of family and the power of friendship and bring home this must-own addition to your Disney collection today for a limited time only.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Bambi II

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 23, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Playback: Region A

Framed in a 1:78:1 aspect ratio, Bambi 2 never feels very cinematic but its 1080p transfer certainly tries to give it a colorful edge.  Colors are bright and cheery, yet fine detail is loss to weak background templates.  Saturation is good and levels are consistent throughout the 72 minute feature.  The sound, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix, keeps the film feeling fresh and certainly amplifies the danger (in a rain storm sequence) when the film finally comes alive and does something different.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

The blu-ray set comes with a DVD copy of the film, but no digital download.  The supplemental material is never too heavy and carries enough information about the making of the film to be helpful and interesting.  Director Brian Pimental and animator Andreas Deja discuss their involvement with the film and the dedication they had in getting the film “right” for fans and Disney fanatics.  There are three interactive games for kids and an additional song.  The disc also contains adverts for Buddies, The Lion King, Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games, Dumbo, Secret of the Wings, and Lady and the Tramp.

The supplemental breakdown is as follows:

  • Bambi II – The Legacy Continues (9 min)
  • Deleted Song: Sing the Day (3 min)
  • Disney’s Sketch Pad (4 min)
  • Bambi’s Trivia Tracks
  • Friend Owl’s Forest Fun Games
  • Thumper’s Hurry Scurry

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