Saturday, February 14, 2009

More on Bambi

I see a definite conflict if we look at Bambi as another example of the "man vs. nature" dilemma. While I think that Disney's attempt to make the animals and scenery as realistic looking as possible is noble and quite evident in the film's art, by imbuing his characters with human-like expressions, facial characteristics, and movements, he is inherently detracting from the natural world he tried to create. While I understand that no child would want to watch a film where none of the characters speak, and anthropomorphizing Bambi and his friends makes them easier for audiences to relate to, taking man out of nature can no longer apply. The human attributes these animals posess put man back in the forest, and it is for that reason, we are able to feel for and sympathize with these characters. On the other hand, we never see truely see man in the forest although it is suggested. By never actually being able to put a face to the actions, the audience sees man as a savage and unknown presence, just as people used to perceive the wilderness. Man, therefore, symbolizes an older and traditional view of nature while the animals and thicket respresent more modern attitudes. Perhaps this duality or role-reversal was intended to illustrate that there aren't infact two separate worlds, but one that is both dangerous and humane. By recognizing ourselves in each, we are one step closer to reconciling the trouble with wilderness.

Also (and just as an aside), why is it that the hunters dogs dont speak. Is it because the are part of man's world? Its interesting to me that being a componant of the human sphere would prevent the dogs from communicating even though the animals in the wild do.


Alex L. said...

This is a little off topic, but I thought it was interesting no one (I think) brought up the Disney's motif behind Bambi's mother's death. Did Disney use Bambi's mother as an unfortunate tradgedy bestowed on a young "child" that we can relate to, or was this a way to increase the savageness and merciless of the hunters. I know growing up, there was an unspoken rule about killing a doe and it is often frown upon. Now I do not know if this is only recent thing or perhaps it was part of hunting ethics from more historical time, but perhaps Bambi's mom's death was used the heighten the relentlessness of the humans. I thought it was interesting and rather grim, that the reality of the situation is Bambi's mother has been shot and most likely gutted for meat.

Katherine said...

This may be a little off topic but, you say you understand that children would not want to watch a movie where the characters never talk. I would like to point out that the opening of Wall-e is one of the longest movie intros without speech. I think it would have been interesting to see Bambi and the rest of the animals interact without speech- music can do a lot. It would also make the audience work a little more and therefore they might feel a little more connected/endeared to the movie.