Disney is moving forward with a live-action remake of Bambi and plans to remove the crucial plot of Bambi's mother's death.
The decision has sparked a debate on social media, with fans and haters of Disney arguing whether the death should be included or excluded.
Lindsay Beer, the original director attached to the project, stated that modern audiences may be more sensitive to the death scene and that it could be a reason why the original film has not reached a wider audience.
Disney is moving forward with a live-action Bambi remake and will remove a crucial plot from the original film. A roaring debate is fast gaining traction on social media where Disney fans and haters are battling it out whether Disney should include or exclude the death of Bambi’s mother.
The famous 1940s film features Bambi, a white-tailed deer destined to become the Great Prince, protector and guardian of the creatures in the woodlands. Unfortunately, Bambi suffers a tragedy and is forced to confront the cruelties of life when his mother is shot and killed by a hunter, leaving Bambi without the care and solicitude of his beloved mother.
The remake will attempt to tell the classic tale but make it more sanitized for modern audiences by removing the mother’s death and replacing it with something more palatable for modern audiences. Pet Sematary: Bloodlines director Lindsay Beer was attached to direct Bambi before she left the project due to her commitments to Pet Sematary; Beer said Disney feels modern audiences would not be as appreciative of the death scene in Bambi as viewers were in the past. They believe the death scene is one of the reasons a wider audience has not seen Bambi, as it lags behind other older Disney films which have stayed in the public consciousness. Beer told Collider:
“Not to spoil the plot, but there’s a treatment of the mom dying that I think some kids, some parents these days are more sensitive about than they were in the past and I think that’s one of the reasons that they haven’t shown it to their children.”
Beer feels that Bambi could be updated successfully without including the trauma of the character losing his mother to hunters. There are always different ways to retell a classic tale, but some fans are sceptical whether such changes are necessary.
Disney and Beer may have been attempting to soften the ground a bit, prepping sensitive viewers unfamiliar with the film’s harsh realities, as shown in the original. In the 1940s, Disney played a different ball game, carrying forward the centuries-old European tradition of using fantasy and storytelling to teach valuable life lessons to children.
Films like Snow White, Pinocchio and others had mature themes crafted into the storyline. Bambi’s themes about death and coming of age were not considered controversial back then. Disney in the 80s and 90s also stuck closer to this type of mature storytelling more so than they do these days. Films such as The Black Cauldron and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, while aimed at kids, had dark subject matter such as genocide and discrimination, just to name a few.
Some online voices argue that removing the death of Bambi’s mother would undermine the entire point of the story. Retelling the story and sanitizing it for modern viewers would erase the importance of the mother and remove the necessary tragedy that Bambi has to suffer to become the Great Prince of the Woodlands.
Others also feel that kids can see such tragedy and still be okay, believing that although not as mature as adults, they have the resilience to accept the challenging subject matter as part of the story. In contrast, other parents and fans feel that Disney should remake the film and remove the death in order not to upset children who are easily impressionable and could be traumatized by seeing such tragedy. Disney has yet to be forthcoming about the remake, with the last update in June last year. Disney announced that Beer will be replaced by Sarah Polley, known for her work in Away from Her, Take This Waltz, and Stories We Tell.
What do you think? Should Disney remove the death of Bambi’s mother, or are some audiences too sensitive?
Bambi joins his new friends, a rabbit named Thumper and a skunk named Flower, in exploring his forest home. As a boy, he learns from his doting mother and his father, The Great Prince of the Forest, that there are dangers in the open meadows where hunters can spot the animals, and he meets a beautiful young doe named Faline. As Bambi grows up, he learns that there is tragedy as well as beauty and joy in his forest world and on the path to adulthood.
Running Time: 69 Minutes
Release Date: 21 August 1942
Cast: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey, Peter Behn, Thelma Boardman, Janet Chapman
Director: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand
Writers: Felix Salten, Perce Pearce, Larry Morey, Vernon Stallings, Melvin Shaw, Carl Fallberg
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