Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Bambi again

Here is the follow-up post to the one on Felix Salten’s BAMBI. This one looks at Disney’s film.

I really had no idea about the making-of issues. I mean, what kid thinks of that when watching an animated flick? The movie is there, you watch it, the scene on the ice is cute, the end.

Of course Walt Disney could not possibly make a kid’s animated film that matched Salten’s rather grim book, for lots of reasons. But in this post, Mari Ness goes into details about why not from multiple dimensions, including the lack of a real plot:

But both [earlier films] were unified by an overreaching plot or theme: with Snow White, escaping the evil queen and marrying Prince Charming; with Pinocchio, becoming a Real Boy; and with Fantasia, creating visuals for music. Bambi: A Life in the Woods has none of that: it’s a work that follows Bambi from year to year, philosophizing about violence and death along the way, but without a central goal beyond survival, or an overwhelming plot beyond the ever present menace of the hunters. And, of course, a high death count.

Yeah, no kidding. Also, spoiler, Mari Ness REALLY DISLIKES THUMPER. Makes me glad I only ever watched the film when I was too young to notice much other than the cute animals. I don’t even remember Bambi’s mother’s death in the movie. Maybe I blocked it, because from the description in this post, it was pretty grim, ending with poor little Bambi alone in the snow.

Incidentally, one note: Mari Ness says she doubts Bambi could fight off two dogs. There is not much reason to doubt this, actually. Roe deer are small, but if they are anything like our whitetail deer, then you can bet they can be aggressive and dangerous. People today mostly feel that animals are harmless and that herbivores are totally harmless. This is not actually true.

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2 Comments Bambi again

  1. Mike S.

    Re herbivores=harmless: I like Larry Niven’s Known Space series. But the whole “Pierson’s Puppeteers are of course natural confrontation-shunning cowards because they’re herbivores” thing reads like someone who had never seen a bull, let alone, say, buffalo or rhinos or hippos.

    (I think he thought better of it later, because he put in some bits suggesting that it was at least in part cultural denial and suppression of natural aggressive behaviors.)

  2. Rachel

    Mike, I remember Niven putting in suggestions that the cowardice was social rather than instinctive. But, yes. There are an awful lot of herbivores you would not want to walk up to and pat. In fact, it’s a lot more dangerous to step behind your typical horse than it is to put your face down near the teeth of my dogs.

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