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(Because of Bambi’s naturalistic simplicity and personal time constraints, I have opted to try a different style for today’s poem, a series of haiku.)

 
Deep in the forest,
A fawn prince enters the world
With eyes of wonder.
 
All is new to him,
The flowers and butterflies,
Bright and exciting.
 
Young rabbit Thumper
Befriends the newborn, as does
Bashful skunk Flower.
 
The young trio plays
Together, and Bambi meets
Female fawn Faline.
 
The seasons march on.
Winter offers newfound joys,
But sorrow awaits.
 
As gunshots ring out,
Bambi flees the deadly sound,
But Mother is gone.
 
Bambi’s cries echo
Through the snow-shod trees until
His father helps him.
 
Years flow ever on,
And Bambi becomes a stag,
Grown but still naïve.
 
He and his old friends
Scoff at romance until it
Captures their young hearts.
 
Faline, now a doe,
Has more than one suitor, but
Bambi proves himself.
 
Man threatens the woods,
But Bambi defends his love
From the vicious dogs.
 
Careless Man’s fire spreads
To drive creatures from their homes.
All flee before it.
 
A strong, daring leap
Lets Bambi escape from death
To create new life.
 
Like Father, Bambi,
The new Prince of the Forest,
Watches o’er his fawns.
_______________
 

Who here saw Bambi as a child and didn’t cry? Anyone? I doubt it. Bambi starts out as one of the gentlest children’s films ever made with adorable woodland creatures but turns into one of the most traumatic as well. Every well-loved child’s worst fear is the loss of a parent, and Bambi’s pitiful search for his mother taps into that potential loneliness to make it one of the ultimate tearjerkers. Those who have seen it several times, like me, may not burst into tears anymore, but it’s still undeniably sad.

As for the rest of the film, the hand-drawn animation is gorgeous, possibly the artistic height of Disney’s original films; the characters are memorable (Any deer can be called Bambi, and any rabbit Thumper to this day.); and the climax is actually pretty exciting. Yet, as with other films like The Secret World of Arrietty, Bambi is so gentle and innocent at times that it becomes rather boring, especially during his saccharinely slow initial exploration of the forest.

Still, Disney managed a surprising balance to this pacing issue by including some almost shockingly realistic events, like Bambi’s aforementioned search for his mother and a scene in which a panicked pheasant flees from her hiding place only to be shot down. Seriously, this movie has probably turned off more people from hunting than any ASPCA ad ever could. Bambi is a naturalistic masterpiece, one of those skillfully made films that work well as both kiddie entertainment and an early introduction to the big, bad, but beautiful world in which we live.

Best line: (Friend Owl, to the grown Bambi) “I was talking to myself about you the other day; we were wondering what became of you.”

 
Artistry: 9
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 5
Visual Effects: 10
Originality: 7
Watchability: 4
Other (slow pacing): -8
 
TOTAL: 34 out of 60
 

Next: #272: U. S. Marshals

© 2014 S. G. Liput

 

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