You know, sometimes it’s hard to write a GUST article, especially when you realise that we keep coming back to that one big company ruled over by a giant talking mouse. It’s not that we can’t find things from other companies; far from it. It’s just that we’ll be wandering along, doing what we do, and we’ll rediscover a movie from our childhoods that we loved, and re-watch it, and realise just how accessible it is for a wider audience. That’s exactly what happened with this issue’s entry. Said to be a personal favourite of Walt Disney himself, we’re looking at the 1942 classic, Bambi.
Fun fact number one; this is based off a novel by writer Felix Salten; Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschicte aus dem Walde, which is translated as Bambi: Life in the Woods. From my own personal experience of reading the novel, I will say that is it darker than the movie, not glossing over any of the more unpleasant parts of nature, but is still a very good read. However, we’re not here to talk about the novel, no, we’re here to discuss the movie. Now, Bambi is pretty much a typical Coming-of-Age story, following titular character Bambi from his birth to adulthood with his life in the forests of… Well, according to research, apparently Maine, but no one is 100% sure on that. The turning point in Bambi’s life comes in the form of the trauma of losing his mother to Man. From this moment on, Bambi is no longer a child, and learns that nothing last forever. It’s a very solemn moment… that is immediately undercut by cheerful music in the very next scene.
Okay, so everyone has made that joke. It still counts as a relevant observation because you never really remember just how jarring the change is until you rewatch the movie. Seriously, go find it and watch. I mean, it doesn’t detract from how good the movie is overall, but still… Rather extreme Mood Whiplash. But, like I said, it really doesn’t detract from how good the movie is, and you still get rather suckered into the story. Plus, the tone does turn dark again not that long after the crazily happy peppy song.
Okay, so what else can we say about this movie? Well, for the art work being just over 70 years old, it still holds up impressively well. During my rewatch, I did find myself having to rewind to actually hear what had been said, because I’d spent most of that scene just marvelling at the art work – the matte painting backgrounds are especially beautiful, and I can’t even begin to fathom how much work would have been put into just one, not least a full movie of them. All creative, all detailed, and all true to life, while still retaining enough of an animation style to fit with the character designs.
Speaking of which; there are reasons fawn Bambi is basically Disney’s signature character for cute, and it is not undeserved. Fun fact number two: in order to properly animate the movement of the deer, it was arranged for the animators on the film to spend time with two fawns, studying their movements. Disney really cared about this stuff; he always wanted to put out the best product that he could and when it comes to a movie like Bambi, I think most will agree that he definitely managed to do that. All thoughts on the mid-quel aside – though I do like that they got Patrick Stewart to voice the Great Prince – Bambi is simply one of those animated movies that can be held up to show how these are just as much pieces of art as anything you would see hanging in a gallery.
That means that, yes, Bambi is really worth the time it takes to go and rewatch it. It’s not all that long – just over an hour, really – but it is worth every single minute, if only because the animation and the art work is so very beautifully done. It’s really just a happy bonus that the story itself is very solid, and able to stand up as a classic tale so many years later. Definitely one that grown up’s should go back and try again.
Z McAspurren (Seriously though, where’s all the Faline merch at?)