The production of ‘The Fox and the Hound’ was a significant transformation for Disney as the new line of animators were brought in. ‘The Fox and the Hound’ was put together in 1981 while ‘Bambi’, was produced much earlier in 1942. Therefore showing a big time gap of nearly forty-years, which implicates that there will be a lot of differences in image, colour and sound as the technology of film-making has evolved. The ideas of nature in both films contrast quite strongly with each other.
In ‘Bambi’ we see how the director has deliberately given us the impression that nature in itself is freely inviting and that the existence of nature will never change. Whereas in ‘The Fox and the Hound’ it’s dissimilar, we get persuaded into thinking that nature is a treacherous, perilous and precarious ecosystem. Exploring the image and colour in the two films, reveals a distinction between each of the films. The colours used in ‘Bambi’ are bright and cool i. e. green, blue, and brown.
Images slowly blend into the next scene, the pale, muted colours and silhouettes of leaves in ‘Bambi’ contrasts with the mist and darkness of ‘The Fox and the Hound’. This represents uncertainness and creates a somewhat spooky ambience. The new animators have altered the style of Disney by introducing their own ideas and opinions on how aspects of animation should look. A similarity in the opening sequences in both films is the idea of the ‘tracking through the forest’ camera technique. The camera pans and zooms around the forest, searching for a story or sign of life. The director has done this in order to capture a broad view of the vista.
An obvious comparison is the use of a forest as the setting of the two stories. The opening of ‘Bambi’ is happy, lively and chirpy whereas in ‘The Fox and the Hound’ it successfully creates a sudden sense of fear and danger as we see the mother fox with its baby in its maw, darting through the forest from the pursuing hunters. This image of the mother and its baby trying to prevent themselves from danger makes the audience feel sympathetic. The lighting in ‘Bambi’ is dark but gradually brightening because it’s establishing the fact that it’s a new day and the more vivid it becomes, the less suspicious the forest is to the viewer.
The Fox and the Hound’ is slightly different; it’s creepy and threatening and stays like this throughout the opening, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. We do not see much light to symbolise a spirited atmosphere, but this establishes that the jungle can be a gloomy and mysterious place. The mood created in the opening of ‘Bambi’ is cheerfulness and reassurance because the director gives us the idea that nothing intimidating or threatening is going to happen. As the camera focuses on each character, we notice how high-spirited each of them are (with the exception of the owl).
As dawn approached, all of the animals were awakened by the energetic young rabbit eager to find out what had happened. Most of the animals behaved like children as they hurried to see the baby prince, which the reason probably being because nothing as exciting ever happens. Another example of anthropomorphism is when we hear the animals speak. As the ‘society’ of the forest is in perspective, we see how harmonious their community is, which is established so we don’t get a sense of threat and fear as we see in ‘The Fox and the Hound’.
This contributes to the representation of nature as pleasant-sounding and joyful, which is established through the characters and their behaviour. Contrasting with the ‘flight of the fox’ in ‘The Fox and the Hound’ we sense tension. This tension started when we first saw the mother and its baby, fleeing from the pursuing hunters. The tension is maintained as the tempo of the chase progresses, which is then further emphasised as the scenes of the different parts of the forest of which the fox has ran through is shown, giving us the thought that the fox and its baby has covered a lot distance.
As the chase draws to an end we see a bridge, a fence and other man-made features. The director has chosen to do this so we realise how humans have affected and demoralised nature. This suggests that nature is being intruded by man without respect. In addition, we see how the relationship between Nature and Man is unstable, which is backed up by how the fox is at war with hunters, escaping from them, wanting them to leave them alone. As the music finally draws up to the climax, the new prince in put into view with all the animals surrounding him, this can be referred as ‘mise-en-sci??ne’.
The characters greet Bambi with excitement and respect as he will soon be their king. The enthusiasm is communicated to the audience when the owl says that not everyday a prince is born, which tells the audience that it’s a special day for the animals. All this gives us the impression that nature is surprising and that you’ll never know what will happen next. The audience is manipulated in ‘The Fox and the Hound’ into thinking that the mother will escape by how the mother has fled into an empty, peaceful valley leaving the hazardous forest.
The audience is furthermore manipulated when we see how brutal man can be. We encounter the brutality of man when the hunters shot the mother leaving its baby orphan behind. The forest is a dark and dangerous environment with human control but can be made good if humans are willing to. But in ‘Bambi’ there is no sign of human existence in the opening sequences. The figure of the owl is used to symbolise authority and wisdom. In ‘Bambi’ we see how the owl represents maturity as the prince is born.
In comparison with ‘The Fox and the Hound’, it’s very similar as we notice how ‘Big Mama’ acts like a mother to the orphan fox by looking back at the dogs in the distance, tearing the fox apart, which conveys the idea that it’s incongruous. The use of music and sound in both films are essential for developing emotions to ‘pass on’ to the audience. The opening music in ‘Bambi’ is a song about love which can imply that nothing hostile is going to crop up. We hear the slow playing of the violin and the gentle plucking of the harp, which establishes the setting and a sense of harmony.
We listen to the diegetic sounds of rustling leaves, birds fluttering and making noises in ‘The Fox and the Hound’, which contributes to a view of nature as awakening and revitalising. While examining the silence in ‘The Fox and the Hound’ we notice that it has been done to build up a sense of confusion and uncertainness. We listen to the gunshots, barking and squawking birds as the mother is shot. There is then silence which represents a poignant moment, the audience stops to reflect on what just happened.
The non-diegetic sound of the cello adds to the impact of the opening sequence, the cello epitomizes sadness, melancholy and lonesomeness. Through analysis of ‘The Fox and the Hound’ and ‘Bambi’, we see how different nature is viewed in both films. The view of nature that is significant in ‘Bambi’ is that nature belongs to its inhabitants and not to foreigners, whereas in ‘The Fox and the Hound’ we discover nature as unsafe, unwelcoming and the whole experience can be daunting, but there are aspects that are inviting. All in all, we realise that nature should be appreciated and respected.