Defending Bambi, a Walt Disney Classic

Today’s article begs the question – What’s your favorite Disney movie (from your childhood) and why?  Mine is Mary Poppins and Nick’s is, well, a touchy subject….

Defending Bambi, a Walt Disney Classic

By Nick

Why am I writing an article defending my love of Bambi, a true Disney classic, and one of my favorite animated movies of all time? I’m asking myself that very question to be perfectly honest. I’m only too happy to do so, as it deserves praise, but I’m just shocked I have to.

If you’ve listened to Episode 11 of The Disney Exchange, (If you haven’t, you should, it’s great, but, really, they all are.) then please go ahead and do so, and then come on back here.

Back? Good, then you heard Dave and Lisa criticize my choice for favorite Disney film pre my birth year, Bambi.

Were you as surprised as me to hear it being described as “cheesy?”

I chose Bambi for a few reasons.

It was my first movie, or at least the first movie I remember clearly. I can picture very distinctly Bambi and Thumper’s banter, Bambi’s father telling him “Your mother can’t be with you anymore,”  the forest fire, and Bambi’s standing on a cliff with his father at the end. (Excuse me a moment, I need to compose myself. -sniff-)

Bambi is a very well balanced film of beauty and darkness, with happiness, sadness, laughter, and love.

It’s beautifully animated. In the early 90’s, I had the opportunity to work at an Animation Art Gallery in Philadelphia, Pa. I got to see some of the inspirational art by Tyrus Wong, as well as animation sketches and production work. I am, in fact, the proud owner of an animated sketch of Bambi, from the “twitterpated” sequence, and a Sericel of Thumper.

A lot of Tyrus’ work, along with many works from other animation legends can be found in the excellent book “Walt Disney’s Bambi, The Story and the Film” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Walt’s “Nine Old Men.”

Believe me, if I could afford it, I would have many more animated pieces from this wonderful movie.
I do have many collectibles around the home representing Bambi, however, such as several Walt Disney Classics Collection pieces.

What are your thoughts on Bambi? Please leave a comment telling why you enjoy it, or just tell Lisa and David they are wrong, either is fine.

This article was originally posted on The Disney Exchange, a blog and podcast which write and co-host with Lisa Green and David Hodges.


To read all about Nick’s Disney obsession, visit the Disney Musings Blog and follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Pinterest.

Headed to Walt Disney World in 2016? The Disney Exchange Podcast will be having a meet-up in February during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend! Details will be available on The Disney Exchange’s Facebook Page and also on Twitter. We’d love to see you there!!!

Teeny Tiny Ant-Man Review

Ant-Man-Ticket-StubsDon’t worry – This review is spoiler-free!

After my initial reluctance to embrace some of the Marvel movie premises/characters (Guardians, for example), I’ve seen the error of my ways!  I now look forward to, and embrace, any and all installments in Disney’s Marvel Universe.  Sure, I love some movies more than others, but I did at least like them all and found each of them entertaining in their own way.  Ant-Man was SO far removed from anything that sounded interesting to me, the “Marvel” was what had me running for the theater.

Teeny Tiny Ant-Man Review (see what I did there?)

What a great movie!  Wonderfully entertaining with so many Easter eggs, I was on the edge of my seat trying my best not to miss a single one.  I adored seeing Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym) in a great role being his very best (still sexy) self.  Paul Rudd (as Scott Lang/Ant-Man) was completely endearing.  If you’ve ever faced a situation in life that terrified you but at the same time you knew that if you didn’t overcome those fears and do what must be done, you’d never be able to look yourself in the eye, you’ll love this movie.  I was especially charmed by Paul’s facial expressions throughout the film, which often said so much more than the dialogue.Ant-Man Sign

The casting in this movie was especially well done.  GREAT villain (Corey Stall as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket), wonderfully strong main female characters (specifically Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne and Abby Rider Fortson as Cassie Lang), a supporting cast that was key to the film’s success (goofballs Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, and T.I.).  Yes, it was definitely, unmistakably a Disney Marvel film, but the unique features, the pacing, the insects and special effects made this show a standout on its own.Ant-Man-Pic

I was prepared to have some negative commentary on how the Fire Ants (a.k.a. Red Ants, here in Louisiana) were depicted, but they were portrayed very accurately, based on my unfortunate familiarity with them.

See this movie!  Ant-Man is such a fantastically relatable human being, this Superhero film will hit you close to home.

Have you already seen Ant-Man?  What did you think about it?


Spoiler-Free Avengers Age of Ultron Review

RM-Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Ticket-StubI am pretty much the geekiest Marvel-loving-50-year-old-female person I know.  I’ve enjoyed every Marvel movie that’s been produced.  I’ve liked them all on different levels, though.  I did not like all the Iron Man movies the same.  Thor? The second was better than the first to me.  Captain America? – Loved ’em both equally.  I thought the first Avengers movie was about as good as it gets, super-hero-entertainment-wise.  I also loved Guardians of the Galaxy for many of the same reasons.  In fact, I’ve probably watched Guardians more times than all the other Marvel movies combined.  “We ARE Groot!”  The original Avengers movie and Guardians had much in common:  unique, likable characters who learn to work as a team, a great storyline, well placed humor, and excellent villains.

So…Avengers Age of Ultron.  I had high expectations.  Which was probably the problemRM-Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster to begin with.  I wanted my expectations fulfilled:  all the laughs, the fighting, the egotistical world-domination-obsessed villain, the good versus evil excitement…and it was there.  Sort of.  No spoilers, but there were a bunch of holes in the action scenes that begged for a little comic relief (HA! See what I did there?) – or at least some humorous one-liners or funny situations that never materialized.  Some of the action felt forced, as did some of the character interactions – like everyone was going through the motions without any real passion.  Twice during the film I checked my watch, which never happened during the original Avengers.  The elements of a great film were there, but…

I missed Loki.  Not just because he’s easy on the eyes.  I missed him because he brought the fun, the mischief, the charming bad-boy spark.  Yes, Age of Ultron had a good – actually, GREAT villain, but still there were holes.  I can’t tell you precisely how those gaps could have been filled with a good, bad-boy character, but I do know that unexpected laughs and endearing bits of charm were in short supply during Age of Ultron.  There were some gems, but not as many as I wanted there to be.

Summary:  Decent, but slightly convoluted plot, diabolically evil bad guy, strong heroes with lovable human weaknesses and vulnerabilities, excellent new characters.  Lacking:  The sparkle, the humor, the rapier-edged, perfectly placed wit that would have saved much of this film.  There was too much reliance on fancy special effects instead of a strong script.  I wanted more than humdrum, but that’s all there was.  I liked the movie, but left the theater feeling less than wowed.


Disney’s Into the Woods – My Review

RM-Into-the-Woods-StubsInto the Woods…I got lost. Somehow, after being really excited to see Disney’s film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, I was left wondering, “What happened?” A couple of years ago, Megan had watched a video of the musical in its original form (for a school paper) and I remember her talking about what an impression it had made – she thought it was fantastic! Long before the movie’s Christmas Day release, she’d talked it up and made sure our plans included an excursion to see Into the Woods. After the movie was over – before we even left the theater, Megan was kind enough to explain what caused my confusion – there’s a disconnect between the first and second acts of the film that does not exist in the stage version.

I didn’t dislike the film. There were many terrific parts – some dramatic, some hilarious, a lot dark as the story does not soften the occasionally brutal aspects of the original fairy tales from which the plot is constructed. In particular, the song “Agony”, a duet by the story’s two princes, is exceptionally well done. The casting is top notch and every character’s performance is rock solid. I confess I wasn’t expecting some of the darker plot twists…maybe that’s what threw me. Having not seen or read anything about the storyline, I was left dismayed a time or two wondering just where we were going and how much longer it was going to take.

I’m a huge fan of musicals.  I actually once saw Yul Brynner himself in The King and I and it stands out as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Having grown up attending St. Louis’s Muny Opera as often as possible, I count musical theater as one of my most favorite forms of entertainment. Into the Woods did not disappoint musically.  It was Christmas, I was tired – maybe that made me less accepting of the story’s life lessons and stark illustration of what living happily ever after may really mean.  I cannot fault the music or the actors’ performances, or even the storyline, so the fault with not enjoying Into the Woods as much as I’d hoped must lie with me alone.  I wanted more lighthearted entertainment for Christmas.

Have you seen Into the Woods?  What did you think about the movie? Would I have enjoyed it more if I’d seen the stage version first?