BLU-RAY REVIEW: Bambi Diamond Edition
Disney pulls out all the stops in its newest HD release...
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Based on the 1923 book Bambi, A Life in the Woods, Bambi became the fifth full-length animated feature from Walt Disney when it was released in 1942 during the end of WWII. The film, which took over five years to complete, went on to receive three Academy Award nominations including Best Score and Best Song. Making heavy use of the relatively new technology in the multi-plane camera, the film featured some of the most realistic character animations and vivid landscapes that had ever been seen before. Now the beloved Disney classic returns to home video with the Bambi Diamond Edition Blu-ray.
Without even talking about the content of the discs themselves, the film has been given a complete overall with by far the best presentation of the film ever created, and quite frankly, I don't see how they could make it any better than the Blu-ray quality unless they repainted every single frame of the movie. Bambi looks glorious in 1080p high-definition, which enhances every part of the film, from the characters to the remarkable scenery. This is in turn complimented by a boost to the unforgettable score with 7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio.
If all these improvements aren't enough to get you to run out and buy this latest edition, you better hang on to your hunting caps, as Disney offers not one, not two, but five different viewing options for the classic film. You can choose to view the standard version, the same version with brief intro by Diane Disney Miller, and a third version with painted scenic sidebars by Lisa Keene (called DisneyView). the fourth is carried over from the Platinum Edition release called Inside Walt's Story Meetings that goes over the production of the film side-by-side while the film is playing.
The last version of the film deserves to be singled out as it is quite possibly the coolest innovation Disney has come up with for the home video market in recent years and is certainly as exciting as it is overwhelming. Disney Second Screen utilizes a laptop or iPad to offer a huge amount of additional content that plays while the movie is running. This "second screen" provide production info and activities in the form of art galleries, video clips, trivia, games and more. Just download the companion app and sync-up and your good to go. After seeing what was done with this new feature, I can't wait to see what how they utilize it on other film releases such as the upcoming Tron Legacy.
As far as special features go, there isn't much that's new from the earlier Platinum release, but the few new features exclusive to Blu-ray pack a wallop. For the younger crowd, they've included an interactive storybook called Disney's Big Book of Knowledge that teaches kids about nature and has them completing fun activities to earn stickers for a virtual sticker book. The real gems of the features are set of new deleted scenes and a deleted song called "Twitterpated". Much of the art and concept work found in Second Screen can also be found in an interactive gallery on the disc. Carry-over features include some deleted scenes, a "Making Of" featurette, the theatrical trailer, the animated short "The Old Mill",and two featurettes Tricks of the Trade, a segment from Walt's Disneyland TV show, and Inside The Disney Archives, with a tour of the animation vault and a look at unused art.
Of all Disney's recent Blu-ray re-releases of classic films, Bambi is certainly my favorite, having really shown a love for the film through an amazing presentation, beautiful quality, and innovative features like Second Screen. hopefully more of Disney's upcoming releases such a Lion King and Dumbo show this kind of care. The Bambi Diamond Edition 2-Disc Combo pack is available now for a limited time from Disney Home Entertainment.
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Review by Michael Klein