Stars: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander
Genre: Animation, Drama, Family
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 70 minutes
A sequel to the 1942 Disney classic, Bambi, is laden with expectations since audiences are justifiably protective of this beloved tale abounding with enchantment and nostalgia. Rest assured: Bambi II rises to the occasion, succeeding at every turn. Brian Pimental directs the 70-minute direct-to-video release, which seamlessly integrates the beauty, subtlety, and essence of the original film. The new tale is actually a "midquel" as it takes place in the middle of the original film's story line, exploring Bambi's coming-of-age challenges. The saga begins soon after Bambi's mother has died--and for viewers who shudder at the thought of having to relive that traumatic movie experience, you won't. With gentle inferences to her passing, Bambi (voiced by Alexander Gould, Finding Nemo) is left to the clumsy-though-well-meaning care of his father, the Great Prince (voiced by Patrick Stewart) who faces the difficult task of raising a son while silently mourning his own loss. Yet the weighty subject of death is soon overshadowed by the wonders of forest life. Through skillful storytelling, the film takes an early turn toward levity. After all, it's spring and Bambi's familiar friends, Thumper and Flower, are ready to play. Especially charming are the scenes where the forest animals give each other lessons in bravery and soon have a chance to test their mettle in scuffles with a newcomer to the mix, a blustering bully named Ronno (voiced by Anthony Ghannam). A strong soundtrack includes selections by Martina McBride, Michelle Lewis, Alison Krauss, and Anthony Callea. There is even a nostalgic nod to the original composer, Frank Churchill, with "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song." The film's strength, however, is in its well-crafted humor: simple one-liners and animated antics that refrain from 21st century trends to cloak inappropriate innuendoes and double entendres in G-rated clothing, hoping to pander to an adult audience. This is vintage Disney; it panders to no one yet pleases all--delightfully worth the wait. The DVD's bonus material includes a "making-of" featurette, Bambi trivia, and a mini-tutorial with a Disney animator. (All ages) --Lynn Gibson
He stopped and looked at me.
Yes, I know.
Why was everyone still when he came in the meadow?
Everyone respects him. For of all the deer in the forest, not one has lived half so long. He is very brave and very wise. That's why he is known as the Great Prince of the Forest.