Following closely on the heels of February’s release of Pinocchio, another Disney classic is getting an updated Blu-Ray offering with Bambi: Anniversary Edition, the latest entry into the Signature Collection of Disney home video releases. The audio and video presentations are identical to the 2011 Diamond Edition, and most of the special features from that version are included here, but there are a handful of new additions that might catch the interest of collectors.
Thanks to its use of the multiplane camera and the establishment of an entirely new effects animation department, Bambi represented a significant leap forward for Walt Disney Studios – not to mention the craft of animation itself – and many of those pioneering techniques are just as impressive after 75 years. There are some truly gorgeous sequences here, especially the inferno near the film’s climax, and the pristine video transfer all but guarantees a breathtaking experience for audiences both young and old.
The newly added special features are intriguing, if a bit sparse. Studio Stories: Bambi is a five-minute featurette that combines scenes from the film with archive footage and interview audio of Walt Disney to describe some of the creative decisions that went into the making of the film, while The Bambi Effect briefly touches on the more realistic approach to animating the various woodland creatures, the the incredible influence that Bambi would have on the future of the genre. There’s also a pair of deleted scenes, and a vintage short called Africa Before Dark that stars Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
As for the returning supplements, the best of the bunch is Bambi: Inside Walt’s Story Meetings, a picture-in-picture offering that greatly expands on the creative process, featuring loads of archive footage, concept art, early sketches and plenty more. Also worth checking out is The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born, a nearly hour-long documentary on the making of the film, and the classic short The Old Mill, which was produced as a means to test some of the new techniques that would make their way into Bambi.
With so much of the content identical to the 2011 Diamond Edition, Bambi: Anniversary Edition will be a tough sell for all but the most serious collectors. The new special features run less than 30 minutes total, which doesn’t offer much bang for the buck when it comes to exclusive material – but for collectors who don’t already have Bambi on their shelves, this release is certainly a must-buy.
It's only been six years since the previous Blu-ray release, and this version doesn't offer much in the way of new material - especially when considering the identical presentation. But for anyone who doesn't already own the film, it's a solid investment.