Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Patrick Stewart, Alexander Gould, Brendon Baerg, Carolyn Hennesy, Nicky Jones
Director: Brian Pimental
Genres: Kids & Family, Animation
One of the silver screen's most cherished characters makes his triumphant return in Disney's spectacular all-new movie, Bambi II. The eagerly-awaited next chapter of Bambi's unforgettable story continues for a whole new g... more »
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Believe it or not, an excellent direct-to-video sequel of th
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 01/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like many people who were weaned on the classic animated films made by Walt Disney, I have been less than thrilled by the onslaught of direct-to-video sequels the company has been producing the last dozen years. Starting with "The Return of Jafar" in 1994, we have not only seen sequels to many recent animated films, such as "Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas" and "Lion King II: Simba's Pride," but direct-to-video follow ups to some of those classic Disney films, as is the case with "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure" and "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True." Consequently, when I sat down to watch "Bambi II" I was fully expecting to be bitterly disappointed. Instead I was pleasantly surprised (actually, I was floored).
"Bambi II" begins with the well-remembered moment from the original when Bambi (voiced by Alexander Gould) is looking for his mother and The Great Prince of the Forest (Patrick Stewart) informs his son that she will not be coming back, and ends with Bambi still a fawn. The beloved characters Thumper (Brendon Baerg) and Flower (Nicky Jones) return, as does Feline (Andrea Bowen), but having more of an impact is a character who only appears briefly in the original, Ronno (Anthony Ghannam), another fawn whose antlers have already come in. Ronno not only keeps calling Bambi a baby and a coward, but is also making moves on Feline. Meanwhile, The Great Prince is having trouble with his new responsibility for raising his young son and teaching him the ways of the forest, and Bambi is trying to impress his father. Neither one of them is succeeding all that well.
Directed by Brian Pimental (who also voices both the Groundhog and the Porcupine), this 2006 direct-to-video release has several things going for it, starting with having Patrick Stewart voice Bambi's father. But the greatest strength is the
story by Pimental and Jeanne Rosenberg with a screenplay by Alicia Kirk inspired by the original story of "Bambi" by Felix Salten. Bambi is trying to learn how to confront his fear and stand up to Ronno and other dangers in the forest. The film never uses the phrase "deer caught in a headlight," but that is what Bambi looks like at times and it is something he needs to overcome. What I liked the best is that there are several moments when father and son start to connect, but it does not quite work out, so that there is actually some character development and not just a sudden happy ending. Overall, there is actually more of a plot here than simply Bambi growing up.
The animation is done in the same style of the original classic, and if it is not as rich in detail the differences are far less than you would expect from a direct-to-video feature. I have always considered "Bambi" to have the most beautiful artwork of any of the Disney films, and this one does not suffer that much in comparison (the animators do seem to like bright yellows more this time around). There is one cutesy animal sung song, "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song," based on Frank Churchill's score for the original film, but most of the songs serve as backdrops for various sequences and are done by some familiar country singers: Alison Krauss' "There is Life," Michelle Lewis' "First Sign of Spring," and Martina McBride's "Through Your Eyes." Anthony Callea performs "The Healing of a Heart" during the closing credits.
The film is shown in "Family-Friendly Widescreen" (1.78:1), which is enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions, and also has a French language track. The bonus features on this DVD consist of a Making-Of featurette, "The Legacy Continues," and a "Bambi's Trivia Track" that can provide a constant stream of pop ups with fun facts as you watch the film. Kids will enjoy "Thumper's Hurry & Scurry Game" and there is also a "Disney Sketch Pad" piece in which Disney animator Andreas Deja teaches us how to draw Thumper.
The end result is a half-step down in quality from the original classic, which is amazing enough to justify rounding up on this one. Granted, no animated film will ever take the place that "Bambi" has in the collective psyche of the millions of youngsters who were devastated when Bambi's mother was killed. Still, "Bambi II" sets the bar pretty high for a sequel (it is certainly good enough that they could have released this to theaters) and we can only hope future direct-to-video offerings will follow suit."
Disney's Newest Masterpiece!
Monty Moonlight | TX | 02/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Young Bambi has just lost his mother to a hunter's will, and he is left alone in the forest to fend for himself. Bambi's father, the Great Prince of the Forest, is urged by Friend Owl to take responsibility for the boy, and the Great Prince agrees, but only till Spring. During the time they spend together, the serious and preoccupied Great Prince learns what it means to be a father, while Bambi learns what it means to gain a father and lose a mother at the same time. Bambi also goes through the more expected trials of growing up. Along with his friends, Thumper and Flower, Bambi deals with the difficulties and dangers of girls, bullies, hunters, and proving himself to others. The real story here, of course, is about the developing relationship between a father and a son, which culminates in a very touching and perfect moment of pure Disney magic.
"Bambi II" is a masterfully done piece of filmmaking that is the ultimate proof that Disney animated classics CAN have worthy and wonderful sequels. Set amidst events from the original film, "Bambi II" picks up right from the moment Bambi calls for his mother after her death in the classic and carries on to the first sprouting of his antlers and disappearance of his spots. Subtle and not so subtle touches link this sequel beautifully with the original masterpiece, including some intense encounters with Man's dogs and Bambi's struggles with Ronno, another male fawn whose attempts to gain friends make him more of a bully than anything else. Including Ronno was a stroke of genius, and those who want to see where these confrontations lead to need only view the original "Bambi." Ronno is the buck that Bambi clashes with over Faline when they are all adults. What makes "Bambi II" such a success while so many other Disney animated sequels have been considered failures? Three main reasons: One, "Bambi II" uses real kids' voices for the kid characters, while many direct-to-video animated films, and animated films in general, use adults. Trust me, it makes a BIG difference in the believability of an animated film. Two, "Bambi II" does not simply rehash the plot of the first film or make up a very contrived plot just for the sake of making a sequel. "Bambi II" shares an important and natural part of Bambi's story that was simply left unknown before. Three, "Bambi II" was made by Disney's current master animators; the guys who worked on stuff like "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast." These legendary artists should not be relegated to direct-to-video sequels, but they certainly prove that they can make such subjects every bit as big-screen-worthy as their previous triumphs. Hopefully, someday "The Man" will realize that 2D-animation for the big-screen is not dead, and then maybe I'll be re-inspired to become a Disney animator, as was my childhood dream. After all, I'm only 30, and "Bambi II" certainly stirred up some of those feelings within me once again.
There's hardly an unkind word that can be said about "Bambi II," and it would fit seamlessly into the context of the original 1942 film were it not for one thing: the songs. Much of the background music incorporates the score from the original "Bambi," but there are a few new songs, and I still am not a big fan of including modern-sounding songs in sequels to Disney animated classics. Even when the songs aren't bad, they take away from the illusion that you're watching something continuing or in the context of a MUCH older film. Here, we have original songs performed by female country music stars that we know weren't around during the making of the original film, and they just seem out of place in a story that is set during the events of the original "Bambi." Luckily, the songs aren't that frequent and aren't TOO much of a distraction. Had the film been set after the original, perhaps they wouldn't have seemed so out of place. I had the same problem with "Return to Never Land," though. That was a good film compared to other Disney sequels, but I really didn't care for the pop music in a story set during World War II. However, it had other flaws that "Bambi II" manages to avoid.
An outstanding film that receives my highest recommendation, "Bambi II" is only available for a VERY short time! Being only a single-disc version with very few extras, however, we may see a 2-disc release in the future, but who knows how long that will take?! I wouldn't wait around if I were you! If you found the first film's heavily artistic mood a bit dull, this film is still deserving of a test viewing. It's much more lively than the first in terms of action and adventure. Remember, it's the story of a boy living with his father this time around. Extras include a "find Thumper" type game for the kiddies called "Thumper's Hurry and Scurry Game," a fun "Disney Sketch Pad" clip where we get to see legendary animator Andreas Deja sketch Thumper with inspiring skill (bringing to mind those old Disney Channel moments that made so many kids dream of working for Disney when they grew up), a Trivia Track that can be run while viewing the movie, and "The Legacy Continues," a behind the scenes featurette that includes interviews with the voice talent, including Patrick Stewart of Star Trek TNG fame who voiced the Great Prince! In addition, you get several previews for upcoming Disney releases, like a Movie Surfers look at Tim Allen's version of "The Shaggy Dog" and trailers for the soon to be released "Fox and the Hound 2," "Brother Bear 2," and "Leroy and Stitch," all three coming directly to DVD. "Brother Bear 2" looks rather promising, and Lilo and Stitch are always good. "Fox and the Hound 2" looks entertaining but contrived, and it does not look like the next "Bambi II." Highly doubtful that it's being done by the same animation team, and I don't think we can expect big-screen quality direct-to-video Disney sequels from anyone else. "Bambi II" is a rare treasure of a DVD release! Pick it up before it's gone!"
A refreshing updated version of the family favorite
Irvin Goodman | 01/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bambi is one of our family's favorite movies and we all enjoyed this new version with all of its extras. It teaches the children about the importance of family and how the father can take over if the mother is not available. There are songs by some of our favorite singers, which is an extra. The DVD has many pluses in addition to the beautiful movie, including games, cute mobiles, and more. I'm sure we will enjoy watching it many times in the future. I understand it is to be available for only a limited time. Worth adding to your DVD library."
Highly overrated; It makes me wonder if these are real revie
Monty Moonlight | 01/29/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this at wal-mart, excited by the possability that disney had made a sequel to my favorite animated film. I was wrong. This isn't a sequel, it's a prequel/midquel. I never knew that disney had sunk so low until I watched Bambi II. I can clearly see that these new "disney midquels" are just disney's excuse for being too lazy to make a new cast of characters. Indeed, the ONLY new character in Bambi II is Mena, a typical tan-colored doe with no outstanding features.
Bambi has a very hip, modern attitude in Bambi II, as does Thumper, Faline and the rest. And Bambi never shut up, to be frank. His mouth was constantly in motion throughout the movie, just like all the other characters'. And here's the biggest surprise of all, the movie ends with Bambi, still fawn sized, showing off his baby antlers. The movie didn't even resolve what had happened before Bambi grew up.
My mouth dropped open when the songs started. I don't know, they sounded like a mixture of pop, country, and modern. This is NOT the Bambi I remember, Disney. Oh, and hey Disney, could you, well, I don't know... get off your lazy rear ends and ACTUALLY COMPOSE your own songs, instead of using someone else's album?
I regret buying this DVD. The only good thing I got out of it was an interesting program on how to draw Thumper. After about a month I was able to draw Thumper in different poses without the tutorial, very helpful to artists. Apart from that, beware of the excited, fawning reviews on this movie, at Amazon and elsewhere. Bambi II is a piece of crap."