The original Bambi is a true masterpiece in every way. For me, no other animated film tops it - not even Disney's crowning achievement, The Lion King. It is simply one of the best animated films out there. It's storytelling at its greatest. I heard great things about this sequel and I decided to check it out. I didn't expect it to live up to the original, because I knew it wouldn't. However, it's still a really worthy successor, and here's why.
The animation is breathtaking, especially for a direct-to-video film. It's actually feature film quality, the reason being that Disney had been casting out all of its animators in favour of computers. People who worked on films like Brother Bear suddenly found themselves working on DTV projects. It's a sad truth, and I found this truth to be undertone in the film. Computer animation simply cannot capture the heart and the beauty of this little film. The artwork and backgrounds stay true to that of the original film. However, instead of being done by hand, the backgrounds are made using art programs on the computer. However, this is hardly noticeable.
Storywise, like the original, the plot is simple. It's what happens within the plot that is intense and touching. After his mother's death, Bambi has to be raised by his unwilling father - the Great Prince himself. What results is a very touching story about love and moving on. If Bambi 2 has one really big flaw, it's that there is too much dialogue. The first film only had enough to help you understand each character's personality. In Bambi, actions speak louder than words. But this is made up for the fact that the characters (like Thumper, for example) are hardly different from what they were in the original. This sort of thing is rare in a sequel, and in the given circumstances, this is very well-done here.
The musics are also close to the original, but with a more modern feel. Alison Krauss singing 'There is Life' in the opening accompanies the film very well. There's also music from the original too, which helps keep the emotion and essence of what Bambi is all about.
Now, I believe that most of Walt Disney's original films do NOT need sequels. But I felt that Bambi 2 was a real exception. It does not ruin the original in any way, despite the claims of Disney fanatics who probably haven't even seen it. I think that this is up with The Lion King II as Disney's best direct-to-video sequel. This beats the heck out of Disney's other sequels, Universal's five thousand Land Before Time sequels, the Balto sequels etc. This is a real winner in the world of DTV films, and if you're a fan of the original Bambi, this at least worth watching, and more than once!
Although, there are a few continuity errors with the first film. One example is that in the original, Thumper had five sisters, and in this film there are only four. Perhaps Bambi's mother wasn't the only mortality that winter...
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