I see Bambi as a film that's neither character-driven or plot-driven. Story and characters are very thin, not particularly remarkable outside of Bambi's mother death (deservedly iconic, it has such a chilling cold and dark atmosphere with the mournful choirs and thick snow, it's a brutally unsentimental scene), and the fim may be too cutesy at times for some people's tastes (though it gets very intense, dark and epic in most of the scenes after the moment that Bambi's mom dies, specially in the climax). I'm not surprised that some people easily dismiss the film as boring. But I don't think that's a fair statement about the film. While I still significantly prefer Pinocchio as the crowning achievement of Walt Disney due to significantly more compelling characters and plot (the animation, music and visuals still being at least as amazing as Bambi), I still see Bambi as one of the absolute towering artistical achievements ever in history of animation, in the history of all arts actually, despite often being more respected than loved. A lot of the reason for this is that the bulk of the greatness of Bambi doesn't really lie in the realm of what we as mainstream audiences are used to seek for and enjoy in films. Same reason why this is not usually the film that I put on if I just want to have a fun relaxed time, I would rather watch Pinocchio instead, for example. I need to prepare myself to immerse in it, to acclimatize with the film's methodical pacing. So, where does the film's brilliance lies and why I see it as such a towering artistical achievement? I'll answer now: the visuals, animation and music (the songs themselves aren't iconic, but the orchestral score playing in the entire film is an absolute marvel) of Bambi are absolutely breath-taking. By themselves, each one of these elements is awesome. But the way that the movie combines all of them together is nothing less than genius. Bambi is ultimately an atmosphere-driven film, seeking to cause strong emotions and wonder in the viewer through this combination. Who said that every movie needs to be mainly driven by narrative anyway? The artistry is awesome, truly awe-inspiring. Bambi is at its best in the long, quiet and contemplative moments. Seeing from this perspective, the thinness of plot, characters and sparse dialogue become somehow a plus for the film, they really put the big focus on the pure poetry of the storytelling done with visuals and music. They tell more about the characters and story than any dialogue. Bambi is truly about the cycle of life and the grandeur and wonder of nature. Any plot and characters are ultimately not that important compared to nature itself. Nature shows the characters' feelings. Lion King gets all the fame as being about the cycle of life and how often that is said throughout the film. But if actions are far more worthy than words, then Bambi is the actual ultimate "cycle of life" movie that Disney Animation Studios ever made. If I had to select only four sequences that best define the Bambi, I would choose the film's opening shot of the forest, extremely lush, detailed and layered with magnificent use of the multiplane camera, I would select the Little April Shower sequence, which makes me recall the Silly Symphony The Old Mill, I would choose I Bring You A Song and the climax fire scene, specially with that chilling wide shot of the forest on fire. The ending with those glorious Disney's choirs also always sends chill to my spine! Bambi is also a good representation of Walt's artistical philosophy. He didn't care for complicated storylines. He liked very simple stories, often very episodic and thin too, that served as a very flexible blank page for the creativity of the animation. The early Disney films often valued the art animation for its own sake, using the visuals to its full potential to do most of the job in creating humor, strong emotions and wonder more than any dialogue. There are many sequences in those films that exist only because they are beautiful, fun, scary, surreal and so on. You could even cut or reduce them, but they still exist. Disney was often ruthless against filler, but he didn't really think of truly great sequences as filler, specially if they enhance characters and make the audience more endeared to them and closer to their heart. In The Jungle Book, the last film he worked one and also one in which he was very actively participative in the production, he discouraged the animators from reading the original book. He didn't want anything from the book contaminating the ideas of the staff of how the film should be and encouraged his staff to think first about characters and fun or captivating sequences rather than story. No wonder The Jungle Book is more like a variety show of Mowgli going through all kinds of silly and fun situations in the forest rather than a cohesive story (I still feel salty about Screen Junkies' Honest Trailer for Jungle Book). And Fantasia was Disney pushing that philosophy to its absolute extreme. Why even bother to have a plot at all? He wanted Fantasia to be not just a film, but the birth of a whole new form of art and entertainment. It would elevate animation as a fully adult and mature medium without bounds. Fantasia would be re-released every new year with at least one new segment replacing one from the previous year. But it wasn't the big commercial sucess that it needed to be. So, Disney lost a lot of money and discontinued the project because it wasn't financially viable. In conclusion, the most admirable thing about many Walt-era films is the purity of their artistical approach with animation and cinema as primarily a visual medium. It's a strong and interesting difference to the style of the Renaissance films or the 2010s ones. Walt also often wanted to achive a timeless feel in the movies, so he discouraged references to any present pop culture and kept the time period of the films, and also any specifics about how the society shown in any of these films function, as vague as possible and also stayed away from political discussion. Films such as Aladdin, Hercules, Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph and Zootopia would be unthinkable in Walt's era.