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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Bambi - Absolutely Recommended!!!



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#41 of 190 Brian Kidd

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Posted February 28 2005 - 08:56 AM

I'm gonna have to side with Ernest. Part of what makes film have the effect it does on the viewer is its texture. I'm not talking about excessive grain here, but the natural look that film gives off that lends it an almost satiny feel that video (even Lucas' beloved 24p) just doesn't have. Give me film any day. As for why Episode II looked better in DLP than on film? Because it was originally shot on digital video which has a much lower resolution than 35mm film. Given that most release prints aren't pristine and that projection in most Googleplexes is handled by teenagers with no knowledge of the correct parameters for film projection, it's no surprise that Ep. II looked like a Bob Guccione layout from 1978 when viewed on film. I saw it both ways and also much preferred the DLP projection. That being said, I have also seen DLP screenings of filmed movies that look just terrible. Digital projection simply has yet to reach the quality of a well-projected film. I'm not saying that it won't. With the advances in projection technology it's only a matter of time before video projection catches up, but that is a day that is a ways off. Until then, God bless celluloid!
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#42 of 190 DaViD Boulet

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Posted February 28 2005 - 10:24 AM

Jay, thanks for your well informed remarks. I'll update accordingly.

To everyone participating here,

Thank-you so much for your valuable and insightful comments. It's this type of high-level (and civil) debate that really makes reading threads like this at HTF educational as well as enjoyable...for novice *and* experienced film fans alike. Bravo. The discussion in this thread is THE definition of what makes HTF such a unique, and privileged forum.

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#43 of 190 Lars Vermundsberget

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Posted February 28 2005 - 10:53 AM

I totally agree, DaViD - there's always something to learn here.

And, BTW, great Bambi review.

About that film grain business, I tend to take the purist stance. But based on what I read here, I nevertheless think we'll have to respect the decisions made and, hopefully, appreciate a good outcome. I'll get the DVD soon.

#44 of 190 ArthurMy

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Posted February 28 2005 - 12:20 PM

The image is indeed beautiful. But the missing grain causes a peculiar stasis to some of it - it just doesn't feel alive at times. Colors are gorgeous, and it's wonderfully sharp. I also thought they did a fine job with the 5.1 mix, but I do prefer the mono.

#45 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 01:10 PM

The discussion in this thread is THE definition of what makes HTF such a unique, and privileged forum.

Took the words out of my mouth. Posted Image

#46 of 190 Bernard E.

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Posted February 28 2005 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for the review David.

Any subtitle in the movie or the extra material?

Thanks in advance

#47 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 05:58 PM

Just started the disc.

The level of detail in this transfer is unbelievable. I have some quibbles with color saturation, but my God, the opening multiplane shot? You can literally see streaks in one of the background glass plates where someone must have wiped it down for dust.

Unbelievable. I'm literally stunned and I'm not even four minutes into the thing.

The EHT mix is fantastic so far.

#48 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 06:33 PM

Just some random notes as I watch this...

* Can't tell on first pass if the waterfall registration error causing jitter has been corrected or not. Still jitters a slight bit.

* The pop in the foreground plate seems to have been smoothed over, but again, going to have to look at it again

* The inking error on the arms of the field mouse has been beautifully corrected.

* The cels seem to stand out on top of the backgrounds a bit.

* The detail of the backgrounds is unreal. I see now what David is talking about, how the transfer looks like you're actually looking directly at the cel and background art.

* The blown out whites of the 55th anniversary version are gone. Gorgeous.

* I'm seeing line details on the main characters I've never seen before.

* The shot just before the multiplane track up to Bambi's father watching from the promitory ledge -- something is wrong with the blacks in the mother's eyes and nose. It's like they're missing one of the primary color layers.

* The audio is incredible. I'm hearing orchestral details that are as pristine as the image, especially the little triangle effects in the "Little April Shower" sequence. Where did they find these audio tracks? The lightning audio effects have real crackle and punch.

* Woah -- first major difference with previous releases that might be questionable -- as Bambi and his mother walk to the meadow, the image seems substantially lightened. Not the backgrounds, but the colors of the cels. The previous releases had a somewhat darker look, as if Bambi and his mother were walking under a canopy of trees. They are substantially brighter here.

* Bambi's mother walks onto the meadow. Beautiful. The hideous video paintbox version of the 55th anniversary edition, obscuring detail and making Bambi's mother look like a borwn log with stick legs is completely gone. Just marvelous.

More to come...

#49 of 190 Brandon Conway

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Posted February 28 2005 - 06:42 PM

I knew you'd be pleased with it Ernest. Posted Image Posted Image

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#50 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 07:07 PM

* The meadow is *green*. Substantially greener than I've ever seen it.

* Lots of color correction going on here

* The changing hues of the stampeding deer have not been overly-saturated. Nice. And no funky isolated rear effect for the gunshot. Wondered how the EHT mix would handle that moment.

* Winter has come. Small inking error on Bambi's cheek when he sees Thumper has not been fixed. Posted Image

* Major color correction during Bambi's mournful walk alone in the forest. Very blue, very cold. Razor-sharp detail of the falling show is so vivid it seems to obscure the tear-drop moment.

More to come...

#51 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 07:26 PM

* Twitterpated sequence tastefully done, visuals not garish or overly-saturated.

* Incredible color during the fight between Bambi and Ronno

* Audio fidelity is astonishing during "I Bring You a Song" - have they found the original audio elements for this movie? I've owned various versions of the complete Bambi soundtrack since I was seven years old, and I've never heard Bambi sound better. The vocals sound like htey were recorded yesterday. How did they do this? Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#52 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 08:06 PM

* Disappearing crows flying away from the campsite not fixed -- not that there would be any way of fixing this short of new animation

* David - what do you think about this? - The Gunfire sound f/x seem to be mixed down quite a bit while the score mixed up during the "hunter assault" sequence (I tend to think of it as Bambi's "Anschluss" moment). Can you do an A-B comparison with the old laserdisc of this sequence and check the gunfire volume levels vs. the volume of the score?

* Not a transfer/restoration note, just an observation -- the animation during Bambi's fight with the hunting dogs is just tremendous, particularly the moment where a dog lands on Bambi's back, and he has to adjust the weight of his upper torso to counter-act. Character animation just doesn't get any better than this.

* Look at that mist on the water during the waterfall shot.

* Disappearing Baby Raccoon error fixed.

* The long shot of the forest fire is spectacular (this shot was re-used in the "Dunkirk" sequence of Victory through Air Power by the by)

* Sensational play of light on the foilage in the final shot as we truck backwards.

* Extensive restoration credits -- take a bow folks. Generations are going to be eternally grateful for what you did here.

Brief final thoughts: On the whole, an absolutely stunning effort. I did not find the lack of "film grain" obejectionable in the slightest, because the image still retains texture. I'm watching the film again tonight on a 60" screen, will be able to offer better notes afterwards, but on the whole, this is so far beyond the 55th anniversary laserdisc, it is like comparing a VHS dupe of Star Wars to what we received last Fall from Lowery. It isn't just a restoration this movie is reborn. The audio restoration is by far my favorite aspect of the new pressing. Just to get a little nutty and confessional, here is a bit of truth about yours truly -- I've always dreamed of one day being able to sit in on a chamber orchestra performing the Bambi soundtrack live. I've had the soundtrack since I was a child, I know it like no other film score. I always thought that if the fates were insanely kind, and I won the lottery or something similarly outrageous, I would pay serious money and hire an orchestra to perform this score, just so I could hear it free of pops and free of 1940's high-end distortion, free of the limited recording frequency range of 40's technology. I would have paid thousands of dollars to have that experience. Listening to the audio restoration tonight, with its beautiful fidelity, I just had that dream realized.

Priceless.


Priceless.

--ER3

#53 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted February 28 2005 - 09:54 PM

Oh, yes, I suppose I'd be remiss in not mentioning this...

The previews for "Bambi II"?

Excrement.

I'm sorry to see someone like Andreas Deja downgraded to working on cheapquel trash. Guess he's taking work where he can get it these days.

#54 of 190 PeterTHX

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Posted March 01 2005 - 01:34 AM

Quote:
I did not find the lack of "film grain" obejectionable in the slightest, because the image still retains texture.


This was the crux of my entire argument.
THIS is what I believe the animators intended.

Quote:
Perhaps we're talking around each other -- I'm not referring to the excessive grain from 3rd or 4th generation dupes, I'm talking about the film grain inherent to the negative itself.


Yes. I wasn't saying that there would be no grain, but the distortion caused by old, decaying elements in the previous transfers could not possibly be what they were shooting for in the studio. You posted several stories on how Bambi's budget was cut considerably. I'm just wondering if he had the budget Disney wouldn't have added additional animated elements to "liven" up the scenes you mention.

I also wonder what they saw in the screening room in 1942 off the newly completed master.

Just like the sound mixers of the time were limited by the response of film tracks and the like, doesn't mean that they would like the sound to be dumbed down to 5KHz or so. Even though they knew that what would happen.

#55 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted March 01 2005 - 03:22 AM

Pete,

the distortion caused by old, decaying elements in the previous transfers could not possibly be what they were shooting for in the studio.

Absolutely. I agree 100%. I was referring to the original film grain itself. I knew we were talking around each other. Posted Image

The 55th anniversary dic "froze" the image to eliminate the grain and had that hideous "dead" feel to it, and that was what I feared I would see on this disc. Of course, I won't be seeing it on a large display until this evening, but from what I saw late last night, this is not going to be an issue.

Just like the sound mixers of the time were limited by the response of film tracks and the like, doesn't mean that they would like the sound to be dumbed down to 5KHz or so. Even though they knew that what would happen.

Yes, but, once again, film grain in and of itself is not a bad thing. The Disney team was far more concerned with cel dust and "snowstorms" (dust trapped under the glass platen on top of the cels which shifted each time a new cel was laid down, and when captured frame by frame during phtography, this created a dust-blizzard effect when run in real time).

THIS is what I believe the animators intended.

Pete, I don't think the directing animators ever dreamed that Bambi would ever or COULD ever look like this.

#56 of 190 Brandon Conway

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Posted March 01 2005 - 04:27 AM

Quote:
Oh, yes, I suppose I'd be remiss in not mentioning this...

The previews for "Bambi II"?

Excrement.

I'm sorry to see someone like Andreas Deja downgraded to working on cheapquel trash. Guess he's taking work where he can get it these days.

Don't you just love the part where you can see him biting his tongue about working on this sequel. It's as if he's about to burst and yell out. "Yes, I know this is heresy. But I won't do CGI, damn it!"

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#57 of 190 Laura Nicholson

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Posted March 01 2005 - 05:23 AM

Quote:
ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED

Quote:
Priceless

Posted Image DaViD approves. Ernest approves. Any worries I had about this release are gone.
I still dislike the cover art though Posted Image
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when ever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you: digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#58 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted March 01 2005 - 06:36 AM

Dig the sig, Laura.

Brandon wrote:

Don't you just love the part where you can see him biting his tongue about working on this sequel. It's as if he's about to burst and yell out. "Yes, I know this is heresy. But I won't do CGI, damn it!"

Better yet is his admission that he's been working in animation for 25 years, and didn't think he would be able to live up to the standards of Frank, Milt, Eric, and Ollie.

Based on what I saw in the previews, he was right to be worried. Bambi II looks excactly like what it is -- a direct-to-video effort whose sole purpose is to move units based on the reputation of an American cinema treasure. Bambi's father is cold and aloof? Doesn't want the responsibility of raising the Young Prince?

Then why is Bambi's father *always* there, watching over Bambi, throughout the entire original movie? He risks his own life to save the young Bambi after the stampede on the meadow. He's there at Bambi's birth. He's there every time Bambi is in great danger. And like the Ghost of Mufasa, he is there to motivate Bambi to stand up despite his wounds.

I've said it, Roy Disney has said it, and many many other Disney insiders and historians have also said it -- the Disney cheapquels created by the TV division played a large part in the destruction of the hand-drawn animation tradition at the Disney studios. Running out of titles they can exploit with low-budget child-oriented chepaquels, they're now on to strip-mining the Golden Age features. Eisner's Disney has no shame. Left alone, Pinocchio II and Snow White II will not be far behind.

#59 of 190 Laura Nicholson

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Posted March 01 2005 - 06:56 AM

Thanks Ernest.
Quote:
Pinocchio II and Snow White II

The mere thought is enough to give a person nightmares. Posted Image
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when ever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you: digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#60 of 190 Ernest Rister

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Posted March 01 2005 - 07:24 AM

At least the cheapquels for Peter Pan and The Jungle Book bombed in theatrical release.

Here's a funny story. Back in the early 90's, I turned in one of those "consumer questionaire" cards that came with the Disney videos, and based on the rather volumous number of Disney titles that I owned, Disney's Consumer Products Division called me up. They asked me a series of questions, and over a few months, continued to call me.

Then they called wanting to know if I had bought Lion King II. I started laughing. The poor telemarketing guy was taken aback, didn't understand my reaction. I told them that the movie was an embarassment to the Disney brand name, and that I would no more clean a public urinal with my tongue then buy one of these direct-to-video, child-oriented cheapquels.

For some reason, they've never called me back since.

Posted Image


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