Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bambi {1942}

{Animated Disney Film #5 of 52}

Bambi...the infamous tearjerker about the life of a deer. Hm. It's not my favorite, by any means. But more on that later. First let me talk about the things I do like. :)

I like how much effort the animators put into making the animals realistic. Compare the deer in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the deer in Bambi...there's a huge difference! Walt Disney bought in baby deer for the animators to sketch and study, but the deer started acting like more like pets and less like wild animals. So then he turned to film that had been shot of wildlife. The animators studied everything about the animals- their movements and behaviors and even bone structure. They also studied textures in forests, of the bark on trees and branches and rain drops. I love that level of dedication, and I think their hard work really shows! They worked on this movie for like four years...I think they had already started on it when Snow White was released.

I've got to admit that Bambi learning how to walk is adorable. And his reactions to snow. I love all of the forest animals and the nature sounds. My favorite scene is probably the rain and thunderstorm and the song Little April Shower. I love real thunderstorms, and apparently I have a thing for animated ones, too, because I love those scenes in this film and Dumbo.

I think the music in Bambi is a perfect mix of the 40s setting it was created in and classical-sounding music that fits in nicely with the nature theme. Some of the songs sound deliciously 40s to me. :) Little April Shower is one of those songs where the tune mimics what the song is about (like Chattanooga Choo Choo).

{This is completely random, but at the beginning I had totally forgotten that Flower was a boy. I thought he was a girl until later on after he, Thumper, and Bambi get a little older!}

I know that Bambi is considered to be an environmental film that has a message about nature conservation that was far ahead of its time. That's great...I'm all for being green and protecting forests from being destroyed and stopping animals from being driven out of their natural habitats and all.

But I guess this movie bugs me because it seems to have a stern, anti-hunting, "humans are bad" message. I've lived in the country all my life and people around here hunt. Some only hunt for recreation, but most people I know eat the venison that they kill (there are also programs where they will donate extra meat to the needy). That's not being wasteful or hurting the environment. If anything, the deer population in my area has a tendency to get out of control, and hunting helps prevent that.

The men in Bambi are portrayed as an awful threat. Bambi's mom very dramatically says, "Man has entered the forest." {And later his father very dramatically and awkwardly says, "Your mother can't be with you anymore."} They shoot guns and are careless with their campfires. And of course, they have packs of vicious, drooling hunting dogs. It all seems a bit overdone.

I guess I can appreciate the story Bambi is telling. It's the story of the life of a deer. And I guess if you are telling a story from the perspective of a deer, humans would be bad.

So maybe I'm just reading too much into an animated film. :) But when Bambi and his mother were hungry during the winter and were thrilled to find some fresh spring grass, I found myself thinking, what if the hunters were just hungry, too? What if they needed to kill a deer because they were starving? But no...soon after that, the campfire just magically starts to spread, creating a forest fire, and I realized that Disney was determined to paint man as the villain.

Okay, I'm done over analyzing this little story about a deer named Bambi. :) The animation and amount of detail is, as usual, gorgeous, and there are some charming moments. But I'm not a big fan of Bambi, probably because of the culture I've grown up in.

The next four or five films on my list are ones I've never seen before. So I'm very much looking forward to discovering some new Disney treasures! :)

Do you like Bambi? Am I overthinking it?

Until next time,


  1. I like your fresh perspective! I just watched the movie "Happy Feet" and it seems to say the same thing about men: bad for penguins and bad for the environment! I think they definitely took it to the extreme! I haven't seen Bambi in a while, but I remember my mom telling me some of the stuff you just talked about! The little mermaid is my favorite movie, followed by Enchanted and then every Studio Gibli movie in existence.

  2. Bambi was never my favorite, but I did like parts of it (mostly Thumper...).

    The environmental, anti-human, don't-kill-the-deer agenda, was strong enough that my uncle wouldn't allow my cousin to see it when we were little. We're a family of hunters (not necessarily me, but my dad, grampa, uncles, etc.), so for him to be indoctrinated by Bambi was unthinkable. :D I think it's kind of funny, but my Uncle had a point. Kids are impressionable, and even though my family doesn't just kill deer and elk for fun (we *always* eat the meat), they could easily get the idea from this film that hunting is always evil and bad - even when done "responsibly". So anyway, you're not the only one to analyze it like that. :D

    Also, congratulations on your niece! That's so exciting!

  3. We have a very firm stance on Bambi at our house - movie or book. The agenda is too much for us. B took that stance early with the little ones, and I agree. (Children are very easy to teach through visual media and conflicting messages weaken truth in their eyes. But maybe that comment is too heavy for a fun post??) :-)

    However, having been raised on the stuff...When one of my little ones says "flOWer", it reminds me so much of Flower speaking the line "My name is FlOWer." I can't help but smile.

  4. Hhhmm...Bambi was never a favorite, per se, but me and my siblings definitely did a lot of growing up with it!

    I guess I have to confess to just not really thinking much about the anti-human, anti-hunting aspects of the story! :D I guess, like you said, I just view it as it's the perspective of a deer and therefore, everything's gonna look a lot worse. And there are some really mean-spirited, nasty-minded sorts of hunters out there. Although, of course, many and most hunters are (hopefully) just in it for the legitimate food.

    I guess this Disney film and ones like Tarzan are ones I'm slightly skeptical about, since you can find surprisingly sobering topics (ie. in Tarzan, you can sort of see the bloodies bodies of Tarzan's parents AND you see the graphic shadow of the bad guy as he's being hung by the neck from vines *shock*). Bambi is one I'd let my nieces and nephews watch, since loss of a parent is something that can really happen. Tarzan? Probably not til their older.

    Plus, come on...who can resist a little skunk named Flower? Or a cute little rabbit with a strong back leg named Thumper? I'd be remiss if I didn't end this already lengthy comment with a much quoted line from this film:

    "Eating greens is a special treat, they make long ears and great big feet!"


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