Plot: What exactly happened in the time after Bambi’s mother’s death yet before he became a buck? Bambi’s father, The Great Prince of the Forest, has difficulties in raising a child on his own and searches for a doe to take over parenting him. However, while bonding with his son, he struggles with the concept of giving him up.
Breakdown: I know this is going to be a surprise….but I really like this movie. I mean, it’s no masterpiece, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable movie to me. This movie is a midquel set after Bambi’s mom dies but before he grows up any. It chronicles the time Bambi spent with his father. Now, see, this is actually something that the original movie never delved much into and is a pretty interesting concept.
Not….much happens in the movie. I actually started making a scene by scene review of this movie like I have for practically every other Disney sequel, but I saw little point because I didn’t really have much to say about the scenes at hand. It’s a pretty tame flick, though I have to say that it’s one of the few Disney sequels that actually delves into death both with Bambi’s mom and a couple of the dogs that chase Bambi at the end of the movie. I mean, they don’t outright say that they’re dead, but they fall off of a cliffside and are no longer a threat so yeah.
It actually does have pretty good emotional impact too. Though Bambi gets over his mom’s death fairly quickly, you can definitely feel grief in him and his father and you can feel the emotional attachment between The Great Prince and Bambi. They really seem like a believable father and son.
The story has good pacing, great atmosphere and nice dialogue.
However, it’s not without some flaws.
The story, while good, is predictable no matter if it’s a midquel or not. We all know he’s going to change his mind about giving Bambi away to a new doe, we all know he’s going to grow attached to him and we know Bambi will learn and grow from his father.
If you’re going to do a death fake out, like every emotional family film, do it when the dogs are actually attacking him, not when he’s just standing on the cliff after he’s already defeated them. That’d be so lame if he died from that. “Oh hey, my small fawn of a son just defeated several dogs that were chasing h—and he died from standing on an unstable rock. Lovely.”
Ronno, the mean deer from the first movie, also makes an appearance here. If it wasn’t glaringly obvious by seeing him for two seconds on screen, he’s our movie’s antagonist. And holy freakin’ crap they overdid the hell out of his personality.
There are no likable factors about him, but he’s also a cliché bully. He’s mean, violent, rude even to his mom, mocking about matters of death and child abandonment, a liar and a complete coward. Yeah, he’s the typical bully that talks big game and likes to fight, but when he actually gets hurt or senses danger he runs to his mother like a baby. That is practically every scene he’s in. Acts like a big shot, insults or mocks Bambi, something comedic happens to him like he gets hit by a branch or slips and falls, the end. I mean, I know he’s a big asshole in the first movie too, but wow.
He’s mostly meant to serve as a measuring stick to show Bambi’s progress in growing up. At the beginning of the film, he has little confidence and not much skill as a deer, meaning Ronno can easily best him in nearly every area. Near the end, he matches and beats Ronno in several areas. However, Ronno doesn’t get any real comeuppance in this movie. He doesn’t get beaten by Bambi in a fight and his final scene is of him slipping on a rock and falling into the stream. Then again, I guess considering that he beats him in the sequel, we don’t really need to see that.
Faline, the doe who eventually becomes Bambi’s mate also makes an appearance here and she’s incredibly likable. Her relationship with Bambi is very cute and she’s a very nice young doe.
Thumper and Flower are as cute and funny as ever as well.
If there’s one character I feel bad for, though, it’s Mina. She was supposedly Bambi’s mother’s close friend and she was the doe chosen to be Bambi’s new mother, but after The Great Prince decides to take care of Bambi himself, she just smiles and walks away. Poor Mina….Also, she wasn’t very fleshed out as a character. Maybe that’s a good thing though to avoid getting too attached to a small part character.
The art and animation are actually very well done. Hell, this movie could’ve been released in theaters instead of straight to DVD. It’s so different considering the average quality of most Disney sequels.
The music is…..good-ish. It’s not winning any awards with me, but there are some memorable songs that are pretty good. Better than some of the other songs in Disney Sequels.
The acting and the voices were both very well done. Everyone seemed very fitting in their roles and they all did a great job. Patrick Stewart voices The Great Prince and he’s awesome at it, so you can wet your pants now. Also, according to the Wiki, he’s apparently been asked to do several Disney roles before deciding on the Great Prince such as Jafar, King Triton, Zazu of all things, and Zeus. Though the Great Prince does fit him best out of all of these, it is weird that when he finally decided on a role for his awesome voice to grace and it’s in a direct to DVD Disney sequel.
Bottomline: I’d rank this number two behind TLK 2 as my favorite Disney sequels….though that might not be saying much considering the competition. It’s not a must see, but it’s still an enjoyable feel-good movie for Disney fans.
Recommended Audience: Only things that might be questionable are slight mentions of death, ‘scary themes’ with the hunting dogs, two of them might’ve actually died, fake out death of the main character that is a huge FAKE out seeing as how we know he lives to be an adult. 5+