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'Bambi' a Must in Blu-ray

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Disney classic Bambi made its debut on Blu-ray when it hit shelves earlier this week.

And as Disney smartly acts with its premium releases, it’s only available for a limited time.

Bambi is a classic for a reason; it’s one of the first movies to imbue humanistic qualities on animals in a way that would appeal to adults as well as kids, featured a simple story that is guaranteed to have you in tears and blended realistic and impressionistic drawing styles, allowing the movie to become a true piece of art. (The movie had the rare luxury to be made over a six-year period, a process that World War II nixed for future Disney movies.) Without a doubt, it’s amazing to see the movie in Blu-ray.

But the disc’s extras are also worthy of praise.

One highlight is the feature that takes viewers into the movies’ creative process, with a dramatic voice re-enactment of the detailed transcripts from the story sessions and meetings during the making of the film.

The feature was actually included in the two-disc DVD, but in the Blu-ray, especially with the fluidity of multi-screens and the chance to go on segues, the whole feature is given a big upgrade, becoming a much more involving and interactive experience. The movie plays out on one part of your screen while storyboards, designs and the animators populate the rest, giving you everything you need to know about the thinking behind the movie. (One bothersome aspect, however, was that I couldn’t rewind or jump back while in the feature.)

The disc also comes with two never-before-seen deleted scenes, The Two Leaves and Bambi Stuck on a Reed, seen in storyboard form. Leaves, obviously out of place, centers on the last two pieces of foliage on a tree facing winter, with the two leaves acting like a couple who’ve outlived everybody else and contemplating life and death. Reed is a scene cut from the larger sequence of Bambi learning to walk.

The Blu-ray also has a deleted song, "Twitterpated," and a cool extensive gallery of art created during the design process.

(The only thing missing from the comprehensive edition is a music-only track, as far as I’m concerned.)

The edition comes with the DVD's bonus features, which were already pretty good and also included a deleted scene. Seeing as how we're treated to new cut scenes makes me wonder, though, how many other deleted scenes is the studio hiding.

Actually, it’s instructive to see how the previous DVD release and the new Blu-ray edition differ. Gone from the Blu-ray is the 1942 Time Capsule, which showed viewers about life in the year Bambi was released, and
Restoring Bambi.

The biggest change involves of Patrick Stewart. Stewart was providing one of the key voices in the high-falutin' straight-to-DVD movie Bambi II when the Bambi DVD was coming in 2006, and the actor was all over the place, introducing many of the bonus features while standing in a stately library.

In the Blu-ray, all traces of Stewart have been beamed away. Poor guy.