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A DTV Disney sequel that is actually pretty good? What madness is this?!

Friend Owl: Who better to raise the young prince...than the Great Prince himself.
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A 2006 Interquel to the fifth Disney Animated Canon film, Bambi. Produced by Disneytoon Studios, it was a Direct-to-Video release for parts of the U.S. and Asia, and theatrical elsewhere.

Taking place immediately after the death of Bambi's mother in the first film, the Great Prince is left taking care of Bambi. With reluctance, the Great Prince decides to raise him until spring, though as he comes to bond with Bambi, and the young fawn maturing and desiring attention from his father, will the stern stag change his mind?

Released 64 years after the original film, Bambi II holds the world record for the longest Sequel Gap between two consecutive installments of a film franchise.


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The film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Amalgamation: While the film is largely it's own unique story, it does feature several nods to not just the first film, but the two original novels and even some earlier Disney tie-in media. See Mythology Gag below.
  • Animation Bump: Compared to most of other Direct to Video sequels by Disney, Bambi II has an impressive cinema-level animation budget. Despite the extra attention to detail however, obvious styles have changed since the original. In particular, the realism of the animal characters themselves is downplayed for more standard cartoony physics and expressions.
  • Artistic License – Biology: As with the first film, numerous liberties are taken with the animals biology and behavior, although there are a few things they got right sandwiched inbetween.
  • Ascended Extra:
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    • In the midquel, Thumper's Sisters end up as supporting characters in the film. Throughout the film, they are constantly searching for their big brother Thumper.
    • The Great Prince also has a bigger role in the film and even has more lines compared to the first film where he only had a handful of speaking lines.
    • Ronno was just a brief rival for Bambi in one scene of the original film and had minimal characterization and No Name Given. In this film, he's a fully fledged antagonist.
  • Accidental Kiss: At the end of the movie, a porcupine from earlier decides to prick Bambi in the behind (this happened earlier, too), causing him to leap forward and end up smooching Faline. She doesn't seem to mind.
  • Always Second Best: The midquel retroactively makes Ronno's rivalry with Bambi based on this, since Bambi continuously outperformed Ronno by accident when they were fawns, furthering the latter's hatred of him.
  • Bambification: Deconstructed even further than the original film. While the film has its fair share of cutesy moments, its greater focus on Character Development leads to emphasis on the personality flaws of Bambi and the other deer characters in the franchise. Especially evident with the fawn characters, Ronno (who is a straight up ego-driven antagonist) and Bambi himself (who harbours a fair amount of angst and ultimately Takes A Level In Badass).
  • Bee Afraid: At one point, the trio gets chased away by a swarm of bees, and The Great Prince has a near encounter with a hornets nest (but Bambi points it out to him, saving him the trouble of dealing with those pests).
  • Berserk Button: Ronno intentionally pushes Bambi's to anger him into fighting him, mocking his father's disapproval and intent to send him away. It works very well.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Thumper and Ronno (though it fades for both in the presence of their mothers).
  • Brick Joke: While Bambi and friends are practicing roars, Flower sincerely says that he thinks turtles are scary. Just near the end, Ronno has an unfortunate run in with a turtle clinging to his nose, which Flower saying it proved his point.
  • Broken Ace: The Great Prince is as gallant and badass as he was in the first film, but has inner struggles due to the recent death of his mate and his concern over how to raise his son.
  • Call-Forward:
    • When Bambi and co. first meet Ronno, he nervously asks what the hurry is, "Forest fire?"
    • Near the end, Friend Owl grumpily mentions Twitterpation when Bambi and Faline kiss. When Flower asks, Friend Owl says he'll tell him about it when he's older. Before that, Friend Owl remarks to Bambi that he almost didn't recognize him without his spots, similar to a scene midway through the first film.
    • At one point, Ronno tries to push Faline away from Bambi using his antlers.
    • The cast at one point burst into a chorus of "Gay Little Spring Song" from the first film, earning the same irritated reaction from Friend Owl as it did there.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Bambi gets really upset when he abruptly discovers that his father was planning to send him to live with his new stepmother, and gives this to him in one or two full sentences, accusing him of only caring about him being the next prince of the forest, and not caring about him as a son. It also makes sense from a narrative standpoint, since Bambi had been spending a good chunk of the film trying to earn his father's approval and finally started to bond with him, only for Friend Owl to break the news to him at the worst possible time. Making matters worse is that the Great Prince had actually intended to call off the arrangement, but wasnt able to explain it to him in time, making him believe he has to go through with it anyway.
  • The Chains of Commanding: The Great Prince makes it very clear from the get-go how big of a responsibility being a prince is to Bambi, and its clear the Great Prince takes his job very seriously at the expense of anything else. This plays a big part of the midquels conflict and eventually even causes a riff between Bambi and his father.
  • Character Development: While the midquel humanizes the characters more than the original, it also makes the characters personalities a little more rounded and three dimensional than previously. Bambi becomes more assertive, but without losing his demure qualities. Thumper becomes more of a Bratty Half-Pint with a Motor Mouth (his friendship with Bambi also spotlighted more) and the Great Prince becomes less cold and distant and more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Even characters who barely had any characterization in the first film, such as Faline, Flower, and Ronno, are fleshed out in it.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Bambi's pathetic "roar" and Thumper's "grr" faces. In the climax, when Flower makes his "scaredest" one he actually sprays into a hunter dog's face, leaving Bambi with one less enemy to run away from. Bambi uses his bleating to distract the hunter dogs from Mena.
    • Also the "Feel the forest" tactic the Great Prince taught Bambi which allows him to feel the presence of other animals through the ground vibrations. Also used in the climax to evade to hunting dogs closing in on him.
  • Cold Open: Besides that the film literally starts off in the dead of winter, it takes place immediately after the midway point in the first film where Bambi's mother dies, setting up Bambi moving in with his father, and Friend Owl persuading him to take care of Bambi until he can find a suitable doe, taking several minutes before we even get to the title.
  • Conspicuous CG: Really obvious in several parts of the film.
  • Continuity Snarl: A minor one, but just near the end when Bambi loses his spots, Friend Owl remarks that he almost didn't recognize him without them. It's meant to be a Call-Forward to Friend Owl meeting a grown up Bambi in the original film, but it makes it seem like he forgot he ever saw Bambi without spots in the first place!
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to most previous Disneytoon Studios projects, which were often Denser and Wackier against their source material. While the film maintains the original's whimsicality and cuteness and even adds some goofier humour, it also follows its darker subject matter and atmosphere and also gives far more psychological focus on the cast, in particular Bambi and his father coming to terms with the death of his mother.
  • Deconstruction: Of the original Bambi. While the first film had somewhat human characterisations for the animals with sapient gestures and expressions and implied behaviour not natural to their real life counterparts, the element was still kept vague and did not deter too much from the naturalistic flow of the story. Bambi II by comparison develops on the traits of the cast implied in the original to give them agency to the story (without betraying the universe's realism to a drastic degree) and even delves into the psychological effects of events in the first film (in particular the death of Bambi's mother), making the film more of a character study. Doubles as a Reconstruction given it's a Midquel for the same plot as the first film and thus will lead to the same circumstances that occur in it regardless.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Quite literally. As a result of his traumatic experiences with man, Bambi is left paralyzed with fear whenever he spots hunters or dogs closing in on him. He overcomes it in the climax.
  • Disney Death: After managing to fend off all of the hunting dogs, Bambi falls off a breaking ledge straight afterwards and seemingly perishes. Obviously, being a Midquel, he survives after all.
  • Disney Villain Death: Not a conventional villain per se, but as Bambi tries to escape a pack of hunting dogs up a cliff during the climax, the remaining dogs fall or slide off and are not heard from again.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Handled quite realistically. Bambi goes through denial, is nearly killed as a result, and comes to terms with his mother's death, while his father spends the movie struggling to bottle up his own grief.
  • Foregone Conclusion: During the climax Bambi falls off a cliff and seemingly dies. The scene exists solely to galvanisze the bond between him and his father from this near loss, since everyone in the audience knows Bambi has to live past half of the original film's chronology.
  • Foreshadowing: At one point, Thumper laments that Bambi's new life with his father means he never has time for his friends anymore. Without a trace of sarcasm, Faline calls this "wonderful." Adulthood will find Bambi observing Faline and their new fawns from a distance, with Faline apparently fine with this.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Towards the second half, there is a quick father and son bonding moment between Bambi and his dad, the Great Prince, when the latter blows a raspberry on Bambi's belly while they are rough-housing.
  • Guile Hero: Bambi takes on a pack of hunting dogs like in the first film. Since he is too young to fight them here though, he relies on leading them into whatever traps the forest provides. He even uses the same trick of dislodging a rock slide onto some of them like he does in the original.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bambi literally freezes in terror at the sight of man's hunting dogs, but the Great Prince snaps him out of it just in time before the hunter can shoot him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bambi willingly puts himself in danger by distracting a pack of hunting dogs away from Mena and having them chase him instead.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Bambi and Thumper. This was already heavily implied in the first film, but it's in full throttle here. Thumper does everything to help Bambi connect with his father and greatly prefers his company over his sisters.
  • Immediate Sequel: Or rather, Midquel. The film starts right at the midpoint of the first film where Bambi's mother dies and he finds The Great Prince.
  • Internal Homage: The film does several as a Foreshadowing to the later events of the first film. Bambi's fight with Ronno in particular is practically a tamer recreation of their fight as bucks, completely with shot and lighting similarities.
  • Interquel: The movie takes place in-between after Bambi's mother's death and before the Mood Whiplash to spring.
  • Jerkass: Ronno and the Porcupine, the latter of whom is exclusive to Bambi II. In the porcupine's case, he's just very grumpy and territorial, while Ronno is an out and out bully.
  • Kick the Dog: Ronno does this to Bambi just near the climax of the film, deliberately goading him into a fight by openly mocking him by insinuating that he's such an embarrassment to his father that he would "give him away" to another doe. Bambi does not take it well.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Bambi's mother's death, since the entire plot of the midquel is centered on the consequences of it, and the fact that the Great Prince is his father.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The dream sequence where Bambi sees his mom leaves it ambiguous as to whether or not it really is her coming back from the afterlife to see him one last time, or if its just a despair induced dream instead.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Being a midquel set between the second and third act of the first film, the story doesnt really add that much new to the Bambi universe or the first films story aside from expanding on some of the characters personalities and some minor Worldbuilding, and it naturally works as a side story that you don't need to see in order to follow the original. Some of the story beats of the original are even reused in the context of Internal Homage. In some ways, its basically the first Bambi film if you sanded down the darker elements and played up the already cute elements of it even more.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: Thumper. When Bambi is trying to improve his jumping skill to impress his father, Thumper mocks him to ensure he'll make the jump.
    Thumper: You're too afraaaiid, you cannot juuuuummmp, na na na na na, na, na, na, na na...
  • Moose Are Idiots: A grouchy porcupine insults the Great Prince by calling him a "Big Moose".
  • Mythology Gag: The midquel has a few, not just to original film and its development, but the original novels and even some of Disney's spin off material:
    • The scene where Bambi falls for the hunter deer call and his dad saves him, resembles a moment in the original book, where The Great Prince saves Bambi's life after he nearly runs towards a hunter imitating a doe's call.
    • Bambi's experience with the porcupine may also be a nod to recurring entries in the novels concerning an ornery hedgehog that pricks the fawns. The porcupine's design also looks heavily based on one used in the Little Golden Book "Bambi: Friends of the Forest".
    • The Annoying Younger Sibling dynamic Thumper has from his baby sisters was also previously used in Disney storybooks.
    • A quarrelling squirrel and chipmunk provide comic relief in the "There Is Life" sequence. The original film had the two animals plotted for a similar role, but most of their scenes were deleted besides silent background appearances.
  • Never Say "Die": "Bambi! I'm surprised to see you moving."
  • Never Trust a Title: Much like Disney's other midquels, Bambi 2 is not chronologically correct. Curiously, the film went by the more accurate title, Bambi and the Great Prince of the forest during production stages.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Friend Owl eventually finds a suitable doe to raise Bambi far away, but unintentionally drops the news to Bambi and his father at the worst possible time, just when they started bonding, which causes a brief rift between Bambi and his father before he sends him away. Bambi does reconcile and accept his fate, even before his father sends him off though. In Friend Owl's defence, it was him that advised the Great Prince to look after Bambi in the first place.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If Ronno hadn't goaded Bambi into fighting him, which in turn unintentionally caused Mena to fall into a hunters trap and prompt Bambi to rescue her by distracting a pack of hunting dogs at the risk of his own life, Bambi wouldn't have reunited with his father and friends.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Most of the cast lack the Southern dialects the original cast had. Patrick Stewart voices the Great Prince with his natural British accent.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Great Prince when he sees the glare of a hunter's rifle scope in the distance.
  • Parental Title Characterization: Throughout the film, Bambi refers to the Great Prince as "Sir" to reflect the latter's distant and somewhat intimidating nature to him. Them fully developing a loving bond is culminated by Bambi finally calling him "Dad", an even less formal term than his "Mother" whom he had a far more relaxed and affectionate relationship with beforehand.
  • Parents as People: Adding onto Bambi's life lessons is realising this. Compared to the harmonic relationship he had with his mother, his father, though genuinely wanting what is best for him, has problems connecting with him due to his aloof demeanour, and is not remotely prepared to care for Bambi since it is not the natural approach of things.
  • Plot Armor: Being an interquel set between the midpoint of the first film, Bambi was guaranteed to survive the high fall that seemingly kills him.
  • Post Game Retaliation: Ronno after Bambi finally knocks him down during their tussle. Mena intervenes, but a seething Ronno bucks Bambi from behind, knocking Mena into a trap and setting off the climax.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: While the plot was directly kicked off by Man's actions in the first film, they only get one scene in focus early on. The conflict is mostly Bambi trying to bond with his father, with Ronno being the closest thing to an antagonist for the bulk of the film until the climax, where Man's precense is implied due to the pack of hunting dogs going after Bambi, but they dont directly take part in it.
  • Reality Ensues: Bambi's upbringing becomes this as a result of his mother's death, due to tradition and his standard stoic disposition, his father is completely unadjusted to raising him, leading to a much more contentious relationship between father and son.
  • Recycled Animation:
    • In a less conventional sense, for certain shots throughout the film, the movie's background artists scanned and modified art from the original Bambi for authenticity purposes.
    • Though the entire cast are given new voice actors for the Interquel, the recreation of the first film during the Cold Opening uses clips of Bambi and the Great Prince's original actors.
  • Retcon: The opening, which recreates the scene of Bambi finding his father after his mother died, deliberately leaves out the line of dialogue from the original that has him call Bambi his son, for the sake of the film's narrative.
  • Scare Chord: During the scene where the Great Prince rescues Bambi from a pack of hunting dogs, this is used when he sees a glint on the targeting lens of the hunter's rifle way off in the distance.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Subverted; Thumper and Flower play a small, but important, role in the climax by using Flower's musk to scare off some of the hunting dogs chasing Bambi. Theyre also present when Bambi has seemingly fallen to his death.
  • Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue: Compared to the first film, which was renowned for having less than 900 spoken words of dialogue, the midquel has far more extensive amounts of conversation, though it still retains a larger amount of quiet, visual heavy moments than a standard Disney film.
  • Smug Snake: Ronno when he's teasing Bambi, especially near the end of the film.
  • Start of Darkness: Ronno gets this due to his expanded role compared to the first film. He starts off as a bratty Attention Whore, and escalates into a bully and full blown rival to Bambi.
  • Tragic Dream: Bambi early on has some hope of seeing his mother alive again, but it crumbles when it nearly gets him killed by a hunter.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The film focuses on Bambi's transitioning of such as a fawn, starting off a timid, bumbling child crippled by fear, to stealthy, bold and heroic as he is as a stag in the first film. This comes to a full display when he risks his life to save a trapped doe from hunting dogs.
  • Visual Pun:
    • Ronno has green eyes in this film, and is driven by wanting to be better than Bambi. He's a quite literal Green-Eyed Monster.
    • When learning how to be brave, Bambi is briefly shown having a pair of large rabbit like teeth to grit with (which is something real deer don't have). In other words, he's buck-toothed.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bambi deeply wants to impress his father.
  • World Building: The midquel has bits of this as a byproduct of humanizing the animals more than they had already been in the original film (which isn't a new idea in the Bambi universe per se, as it was sometimes present in the comic book tie-ins, it was just the first time it was applied to an actual movie). It adds new characters and locations in the forest that weren't seen before, and builds on an idea that the animals have a primitive form of culture (i.e. celebrating holidays like Groundhog Day, the characters briefly singing an actual song with lyrics in-universe, the Prince's beliefs of how he and his son should conduct themselves being firmly rooted in a tradition as opposed to just being driven by animal instinct). However, aspects of it manage to stay consistent with the original films naturalistic depiction of nature, such as the plot point of the Great Prince ordering Friend Owl to find a doe to adopt Bambi instead of having him raise him, which of course is rooted in the fact that stags never have anything to do with raising their fawns (which was already strongly implied in the first film, but not outright stated).
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Early in the film, Bambi still believes there's a chance his mother is still alive, and this causes him to fall for a hunter's deer call, which almost gets him killed and shatters any hope he previously had about it, and earns him a harsh dressing down by his father for falling for it.

 
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