Walt Disney’s 1942 classic Bambi celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion a new signature collection release is available on Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere and will be on Blu-ray and DVD on June 6th. This release features a half dozen new bonus features as well as a slew of classic ones from previous releases. These include two new deleted scenes, Bambi’s Ice and Snow plus The Grasshopper in addition to several from previous releases. Out of the new material I found the Studio Stories featurette to be the most interesting. I always enjoy glimpses into the creation process of the films and learning what Walt and his team thought about. There is a nice featurette on Tyrus Wong who created background concept art for this film, Tyrus passed away in 2016 at age 106. Continuing the recent trend there is an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short, “Africa Before Dark” included in addition to the re-release of “The Old Mill” short. The classic material includes an in depth (over an hour) exploration of the creation of the film in “The Making of Bambi: A Prince Is Born”. This making of documentary includes interviews with several legendary animators who are no longer with us so having that record and listening to them talk about the film was a treat to revisit.
The bonus material missed an opportunity to mark the 75th anniversary. The material did not really feature this in any new/unique way. I thought it at least deserved a featurette. The closest to this was a featurette called “The Bambi Effect” that looked at how Bambi changed the way future films were made. For example more realistic looking animals, more impressionistic backgrounds, and effects animation. The piece is another missed opportunity. It is a highlights version clocking in at under 3 minutes to cover these topics and the tone/level of detail is really for kids.
Whenever there is a new release of a classic film the question is do you add it to your library or not. For many of us we have VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and maybe even Laserdisc versions already. This is the first time Bambi has been available digitally. The new bonus features were just ok in my opinion. They at a couple interesting moments but they seemed a little thin to me. I would have liked to have seen a little more new material to mark the milestone. Having the new plus the old available digitally is really the differentiator in this release. If you are building up your digital library this will make a solid addition. If you own the Diamond Release from 2011 and do not want/need the digital version it will be a much tougher decision for you if you want to add this to your library too.