Some of Disney’s most recognizable characters are animal characters. Hell, Mickey Mouse is an animal character. In 1942 a film with one of Disney’s most underrated animal stars: Bambi made his mark.
The story takes place in a forest and the film begins with the animals celebrating the birth of Bambi, the little Prince of the Forest. The film showcases nature through Bambi’s eyes. Bambi learns that nature can bring beauty and life and it can also bring tragedy and destruction. And through his father he learns to strike a balance between the two and to take his place in the great circle of life.
Bambi is a very simple character that matures in great ways after the 2nd act of the film. The audience is supposed to grow up with him through happy times and sad times that give the audience insight into the beauty and cruelty of nature. Also he was an awesome summon in Kingdom Hearts 1 and Chain of Memories.
Bambi’s mother is a very important and interesting character. She is the one that teaches Bambi how to scour for food, shelter and made him appreciate the life giving aspects of nature. Bambi’s mother symbolizes this aspect of nature. Why do you think nature’s title is “Mother Nature”? When she dies it’s at this moment of sadness that Bambi learns that nature is more complex than he thought.
“Man”: A very different villain. It was very smart of the filmmakers to never show “man”. With “man” as a force it creates an ambiguity. The audience’s imagination is necessary to construct details about the character. Is man pure evil or is there a redeeming factor. That’s up to you. In the film “man” is symbolic of the cruel and destructive aspects of nature. By killing Bambi’s mother it showed Bambi the cruelty of nature and with his father’s guidance would become a worthy successor as Prince of the Forest.
Prince of the Forest: My favorite character in the film. He is symbolic of the balance between the two previous aspects of nature. When “man” is in the forest he tries his best to save as many people as he can, but he understands nature’s destructive power and knows that he can’t save everyone. My favorite line in the whole movie is when the Prince says “Your mother can’t be with you anymore. Come Bambi.” He says it in a very cold manner. He’s not saying it that way to be a jerk but to make Bambi understand that stuff like this happens and no matter how terrible and sad it is we need to move on and it’s inevitable. Another thing to comment on is something the NC has made fun of is the fact that after Bambi’s Mom died there were happy little birds singing and he said that that doesn’t happen and too lighthearted, but I actually think it’s cruel. It shows that nature doesn’t care about the audience’s emotional moment and nature and life is going to move on whether the audience is ready to or not. I love this character because of his wisdom and his understanding of the world around him and how in the end he is very proud of his son for becoming a worthy successor. I’m sure he silently thanked his mate for making Bambi understand the positive and hopeful aspects of nature so that when the bad things happened he never lost his drive to keep going and see the beauty of life, the sadness and necessity of destruction and the hope and inevitable return of life, beauty and balance.
This film isn’t really a musical, but it did use two songs to help with the film’s storytelling. The two songs were “Love is a Song” and “Little April Shower”.
Love is a Song is a very soothing song that plays during the opening credits. Although this song isn’t as lively as other Disney songs it still is very appropriate for the film and introduction to the forest.
Little April Shower is my favorite song in thew film. The phenomena of the thunderstorm is set to music and the result is great. The visuals are fantastic with not only Bambi’s reactions to the storm, but the entire forest’s reaction to the storm. One could also argue that Bambi is getting a preview of the more darker aspects of nature. Also in keeping with the balance of nature the storm may have been scary, but what it left in it’s wake was a beautiful sight to behold and the water is the key to the life of the forest.
The art direction of this film is fantastic. The forest is beautifully animated and the characters’ movements are extremely realistic due to the fact that the animators studied deer movements at zoos and even at the studio. The best environmentalist projects are ones that make nature a character in the story. Examples of this are Pandora from Avatar, the Planet of Final Fantasy 7 and the Forest of Bambi. The forest is a character in the film and it is portrayed beautifully with life,beauty, death, destruction, hope, renewal, and balance.
This is a great film. The themes, symbolism, characters, and setting are what makes this film great. This is a film that makes the audience see nature in a different light and by showing the great, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the balance between them the audience has a new found insight and knowledge on what nature is and why it’s important and why it fascinates us.
4.5 April showers out of 5
Join me next time where I take my gummi ship to Port Royal where I take a look at the 1st movie adventure of Captain Jack Sparrow and welcome Johnny Depp into the Disney family. I also give one word reviews of the other three films.