It must have been daunting to be given the task of crafting a follow-up to one of Disney's most memorable movies of all time. Yet from the first snowflake that floats past the opening credits, it is apparent the creative team behind this production has endeavored to handle this assignment with reverence and respect.
This new tale is inserted into the original storyline at the place where the frightened fawn realizes his mother is not going to return from the meadow. Alone and confused, Bambi (voiced by Alexander Gould) is met by his father (voiced by Patrick Stewart), who is equally unsure how to proceed. Having always been the strong and silent type, the regal buck has spent the majority his time protecting the whole herd--not providing individual childcare. While his first instinct is to find a female to raise the leggy youngster, his wise friend Owl suggests, "Who better to raise the Young Prince than the Great Prince of the Forrest himself?"For as simple as it sounds, this does not prove to be a very satisfactory solution for either of them. Not used to having a tag-a-long, the Dad feels fettered by the new responsibility. Wishing to please, the son feels frustrated when, despite his best efforts, he fails to follow exactly in his father's footsteps.
Bambi's struggle to come to terms with the death of his mother and win the approval of his father is helped along thanks to the support of his good friends Thumper and Flower, as well as the doe-eyed admiration of Faline. However, he is also challenged by Ronno (Anthony Ghannam), a name-calling bully constantly looking for a cause to lock antlers.
Trying to live up to the reputation of the first Bambi, this direct-to-home sequel concentrates on matching its incredible animation. It even features snippets of the memorable musical score and some familiar plot points, like angry dogs and hunters in the meadows. These latter inclusions, which result in moments of peril, may present a concern for the tiniest of viewers.
Although it doesn't completely capture the charm of its inspiration, this new Bambi also isn't as likely to leave its little audience members as traumatized. In a sense, this new breed of deer offers solace over the loss of a parent from the previous film, by showing the power of family love on both the adult and the child. Dressed up with musical numbers and beautiful background art, Bambi II is a worthy ancestor to its noble heritage.