Animated Distractions: Disney’s Bambi

Before heading out on a Disney trip, I like to take tie to rewatch some Disney animated films. This gets me in the mood for the parks, and also reminds me of the characters I’ll see and the songs I’ll hear. One of the films I just watched is Bambi, an endeavor partly inspired by the recent PBS biography of Walt Disney. It’s one of the classic films, something he had a hand in, and, because of that, special.

I didn’t have a huge connection with this film as a kid. In part I’m sure this is because I was too obsessed with the films of my time: Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and, oh goodness, The Lion King. But also I think Bambi was almost too ingrained in popular culture by that point. I knew his mother died before I ever sat down to watch it, and the shock and sadness I felt at the moment came more from intention (I’m supposed to be sad here, right? Okay. Okay, got it. I am sad.) than from any real feeling. I certainly wasn’t sitting at the edge of the couch, gripping my knee caps, and suppressing a strangled cry like I was during a different animal-based Disney movie…

Watching it now, there are definitely things I appreciated about it. The animation is lovely, and I got the same delight out of young Bambi tangling up his gangly limbs when Thumper teaches him to hop as I did when I was little, and I didn’t remember the scene of Bambi running through the snowy woods looking for his mother being quite so eerie. There are some classic quotes from that are just associated with the Disney brand (“Man is in the forest.”), and the owl gave us the word twitterpated! And of course, there’s Flower. How can you not love flower?

Still, while I appreciate it, I don’t love Bambi. The story jolts for me, jumping from one season to the next, and aside from the fire and the escape from the hunters at the end, there’s not much in the way of danger or drama, to keep really grab me by the ears and make me pay attention. It’s a sleepy film, and while that’s not always bad, it doesn’t have much of an effect on me here.

I’ll likely see this movie again, watching parts of it when it appears on TV, or sitting with my hypothetical future children when they watch it — because anyone who grows into a Disney fan, or more broadly an animation fan, should see it. But it’s certainly not one of my favorite films.

 

What other Disney films should I watch? I recently played Lilo & Stitch (maybe I’ll write a post about that) and I’ve got a rented copy of Snow White waiting to be watched. And I have to watch Lion King before I go. I have to. But what else can I squeeze into 2 and 1/2 weeks?

What I’m Reading: Art Books, Biographies, and Other Things That are Taking Forever

As per usual, I have a few books that I’m pawing through at the moment, a couple of which are, for some reason, taking me a real long time.

First, A Dance With Dragons. Yeah, I know, I mentioned reading that months ago, but I keep setting it aside to read other books. I’m not sure exactly why it’s been taking me so long, but I think it’s a collection of reasons: Martin’s over description of things like food and individual people who don’t matter, the slow pace (I swear, there were two chapters in a row where all I really learned was that it was snowing) and maybe because, despite a few problems, I’m starting to like the TV show better than the books (sorry). In any case, I’m almost done. Hopefully I’ll finish by the end of the month.

Also on the list are a few nonfiction books. Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo is a Christmas gift from the hubby, and I love it. Lots of insider information, gorgeous art, production drawings, and stories of how the show came together. I’m reading this slowly, a piece at a time. It’s a treat.

Brilliant by Jane Brox is the story of the development of light over the history of man. This one is sort of a research book, as I’m trying to pick up ideas and gain inspiration for the WIP I keep talking about. Like anything history I have a hard time not finding bits of it a little dry, but it’s well written, and there are some truly beautiful lines in there (which I thought I marked off, but didn’t. Aaah.).

I’ve also still got the Walt Disney biography unfinished. I will get back to that.

Finally, I haven’t started this yet but I plan on cracking into it later this morning: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve never read anything by her, but I’ve wanted to find a longer classic that I can actual get absorbed in for a little bit. The description sounds right up my alley, and I felt drawn in on the first couple of sentences, so home it came. Let’s see if I finish this one.

What are you reading?

A Return to Borders

Last weekend Pat and I stopped at a couple of Borders on our way to a friend’s house to take advantage of the closing sale. With most things at 40% off we got a decent pile, thought not as much as I would have grabbed had the sale been a little better. Here’s a look at what I got, not counting the stuff Pat picked out for himself and stuff bought for friends.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Art of the Animated Series by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. I’ve wanted this book for a while, and hucked it right into the basket as soon as I saw it. Aside from gorgeous art from the cartoon, there are production sketches, storyboards, and behind-the-scenes looks at how the creators came up with their ideas. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s really fascinating.

The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall. I picked these up not only because they were some of the few middle grade novels left, but also because of a recommendation by Anita Silvey on Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac.

Genshiken: Return of the Otaku by Kio Shimoku. A light novel story from my favorite manga about geeks. Not super high on my list, but since Del Rey isn’t printing manga anymore I’m not taking the chance of never seeing it again.

An Elegy for Amelia Johnson by Andrew Rostan. A dying girl tells her two friends to deliver a message to her family. I had to buy at least one non-manga graphic novel, and this seemed really interesting.

Sand Chronicles Volume 10 by Hinako Ashihara. The last volume in this shojo manga. I’ve put it off only because the story technically ends in volume 8; the last two are just bonus chapters. Still, good to have it completed.

Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 6 by Konami Konata A new volume of Chi for almost half price? Yes, please!

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. This was the only Terry Pratchett novel. In two stores. Lucky for me it’s also the first one.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler. I bought a Walt Disney biography, first because I’m a giant nerd, but also because I don’t really know too much about the man behind some of my favorite movies of all time.

This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley. This is a writing guide suggested to me by my mentor. I hadn’t found it before now, so this was a good chance.

I wish I had made out a little better, but even in the second store, which had a much wider selection of manga, I couldn’t find enough that I was either continuing or willing to commit to starting. I hope I have the chance to get to another store the next time the price leaps down; hopefully that coincides with another trip to a friend.

Have you gone to the Borders sale? What did you get? And are you distracted enough by the low prices to avoid being depressed at losing a bookstore?