The animals in the forest hear about a fawn who just entered the world. They approach the doe who just gave birth to him, and she names him Bambi.
Bambi learns to walk right after, and then begins to talk. His first word is “bird.” Eventually, he develops full speech.
Along the way, he makes friends with a rabbit called Thumper and skunk he called Flower when he was learning to speak. He also meets a female fawn, named Faline, whom he doesn’t like, at first.
His mother leads him into the meadow, where the two discover grass. Unfortunately… Bambi’s mom is killed there. A stag, who also happens to be Bambi’s father, despite having no involvement in his life, has Bambi leave.
I list the parts of Bambi that I admired, followed by those that dissatisfied me.
1: The animation and artistic layout
I find it very unfortunate that Disney stopped doing 2D animated films as did pretty much all movie companies – although now they’ve returned to it for Disney Plus, as of 2022.
But seeing the beautifully illustrated backgrounds as well as the animation of the characters drew me in emotionally. This traditional form of animation – with pencils, ink, and paint – will never return. So, this artistic style of the cartoon matters a lot to me.
2: The morals
The lessons that are communicated throughout this movie apply to real life etiquette. I especially love Thumper’s quoting of his father after he criticizes Bambi’s walking abilities. He says, “If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.”
I’ve heard kids being told that many times, although the wording they received was, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I wish more people took this seriously, though.
3: The characters’ relations to one another
Bambi’s bond with his mother, as well as his friends, Thumper, Flower, and eventual love interest, Faline, was beautiful. The portrayals and importance of friendships and family meant a lot to me to me.
1: Why doesn’t Bambi’s father play more of a role in his life?
Could it be that deer dads don’t get to know their young like the mothers do? Disney animals are shown to be very scientifically inaccurate all the time.
While times Bambi and his mom together were sweet, I found it unsatisfying that his father hadn’t been involved in his life until his mother died. We also don’t get to see Bambi learning to grow and change after losing his mom in this film.
There is a sequel where it might be more emphasized. However, a characters’ evolution after a tragic event should happen in the same story, not in a later one.
After his mother’s death, the scene transitions to when Bambi is an adult and reuniting with his friends, as happy as they can be.
2: What is Bambi’s goal exactly?
Unlike other movies, Bambi’s goal isn’t made clear enough. What does he really want? What was he working toward?
While his development from birth is essential, I couldn’t see what he had an eager desire for.
Take other Disney films, like The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules, where they start when the main characters were babies. Simba, Quasimodo, and Hercules still all had goals they worked toward and did everything they could to achieve them. And the audiences would root for them and eagerly want them to meet their desires.
Therefore, it kind of disappointed me that Bambi’s ambitions didn’t feel clear.
3: Structure being too similar to The Lion King
Well, technically, it’s the other way around. Bambi came out decades before The Lion King. Disney has also liked to frequently recycle animation movements. But the plotlines of both films mirrored a little too much.
4: Bambi and his friends finding love interests
I get that this was made in the 1940’s, when standards were different. And Bambi’s romance with Faline does become crucial, even if Bambi, sadly, didn’t join Faline after she gave birth to two fawns.
But why did Thumper and Flower need to fall in love? Their love interests had pretty much no importance to the plot.
I do, however, admire the rabbit Thumper develops feelings for. She reminded me of Snow White when I watched this movie – which her singing style and her voice.
While I found watching Bambi to be a beautiful experience, I felt it could’ve improved itself with the unclear literary elements being more obvious. So, I rate the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.