9. Bambi II (2006)
When people hear Bambi, they instantly think of his mother’s tragic death. It’s arguably one of the saddest scenes in cinema history because of how her demise really catches you off guard. But Bambi is so much more than one shocking scene, it’s a gorgeously animated movie which represents the joy of life and how we experience it. Through the titular character, we see him go through the aforementioned loss of losing a beloved family member but also friendship, love and rebirth. The films animators really do capture the atmosphere of the wild with the sounds and visuals taking you in, enough to feel like you’re in nature with them. It’s also a film with a very short script to really emphasise the setting of the forest.
Over 63 years later, we were given Bambi II (by the way, this holds the record for biggest gap between original movie and sequel). The main purpose of this film is to fill the void between what happened after Bambi’s mother was killed and him as an adult. In this instance, there is a greater look into the relationship between Bambi and his father. It’s much more dialogue heavy but more obvious, the beautiful animation art that the original captured is rendered poorly here with the animals looking more cartoon-ish and the backgrounds losing the lavish detail they once had.
The reason why Bambi got a sequel can be partly blamed on the existence of Aladdin: The Return of Jafar. In 1994, Walt Disney Pictures made a direct-to-video follow up of the Arabic tale but with a very visible drop in animation quality as well as some voice actors being noticeably replaced. It received negative reception but it made the studios millions of dollars from a very low budget film. With the financial success of Aladdin 2, it spurred on many more great Disney classics (which frankly didn’t need a second movie) to get a sequel or two, thus we got a second Bambi picture.