Saturday, February 4, 2012
D52 - Week 5 - Bambi
What's this? Kevin's making ME go first? Well, I have to admit that as a child I thought Bambi was rather boring. I wasn't much of a girly girl and I thought cute things were only for the wimpy mean girls. Now that I'm older I appreciate this movie much more.
We follow the maturing of a young deer from birth to adult witnessing his first steps, first words, first kiss, and first children. The story is fairly straightforward and yet carries the weight of a number of heavy themes.
First and foremost is death. Bambi in fact includes the very first Disney death and audiences were shocked. Current popular culture has us believe that seeing this movie as children is a recipe for trauma, but I can't remember every feeling that way. I recognized the loss and I was smart enough to know that Mother wasn't returning, but Bambi was an excellent role model. He mourned his loss and continued with life.
The second big theme that I felt was suffering. Because Bambi runs like a nature film in which the animals have personalities of their own instead of personalities thrust upon them by a narrator's script, the struggles of every day life in the wild are clearer and more relate-able than ever.
Not only are there a host of other heavy issues to be taken in, but there is a lot of beauty on the screen. It's clear that Fantasia had a lot of bearing on the use of music for Bambi. Whereas most Disney films use music to add to the story, Bambi has score and lyric to set the atmosphere and relate the passage of time. It's as if the score were an entirely different character in the movie, perhaps the voice of Mother Nature. Personally, I approve.
Favorite Character: The Mole "Nice, sunny day!"
Least necessary character: As much as I hate to say it, Flower. Flower is beyond cute, but really had nothing to do with plot.
Overall: Beautiful artistry. Beautiful music. Heavy adult themes. Cute kiddie animals. I recommend it highly and is certainly way up high on my list of favorites.
Amanda's Extra: I have had the pleasure of reading the book on which this movie was based and if you haven't, I intensely recommend that you do. It requires a lot of imagination to truly feel the tone that is laid down in the book and can't be read from the point of view of a human. One really has to get into the skin of the wildlife and try to understand an animal's instinctive actions.
I was most inspired by the conversation between two leaves reduced to a few moments of score in the movie, but original and moving dialog in the book. It's easy to relate to fellow members of the animal kingdom when it comes to the circle of life, and it's so easy to overlook the suffering of the flora which happens in tune with the animals. The book describes the conversation between the last two leaves as they hang on the branch. They ponder the fate of their fallen brethren as well as their own future. What will happen to them when their stems can no longer hold? As they lose their grip from the tree, the conversation ends abruptly and life in the forest continues as if it had never taken place.
It's a very, very cute movie. Achingly cute - maybe too cute? At least there's death (even if it is followed by more cuteness immediately afterward)! And fire!
As already said it has great art and animation and important themes. And as much as I enjoyed seeing it for the first time in a long time, I don't find myself wanting to see it again and again. I guess I feel about it the same way I do most well-made nature documentaries - interesting the first time but little rewatchability.
Favorite character: Friend Owl adds the right amount of sour that this sweet dish needs.
Least necessary character: Ronno kind of came out of nowhere and was vanquished rather easily. I guess it just bothers me that he wasn't set up at all earlier in the film.
Overall: Let the kids watch it. How else are they going to relate to all of those "Bambi's mom" jokes they'll inevitable come across later in life?
Kevin's extra: I just had to share this. It turns out there's a "Cine-Manga" version of Disney's Bambi. Basically, it's stills from the movie with word balloons and sound effects passed off as graphic novel frames. It's as silly and lazy as it sounds. So, how does the picto version handle the iconic emotional moment? Maybe for the sake of taste it simply lets the pictures speak for themselves to reflect the somber moon and...no well anyway this is what it actually does: