In these reboot and remake heavy times, Disney has found a lucrative practice in taking some of their classic animated films and turning them into live-action films, with Maleficent and Cinderella being two recent examples. As the box office numbers illustrate there’s an audience for these types of movies, the Mouse House isn’t slowing down – as they are currently working on live-action retellings of Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo for release in the coming years.
As the list continues to grow, many are wondering which animated works will receive similar treatment next. The vault runs so deep, there is certainly no shortage of possibilities, some being more interesting (or plausible) than others. Apparently, this topic is on the minds of the Saturday Night Live writers, as they chose to present an interpretation of how a 21st century Bambi film might look in this weekend’s episode – with none other than guest host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the title role. You can watch the “trailer” for the film above.
In the skit, the simple plot of Bambi growing up and rising to the position of Great Prince of the Forest has been retooled as an action/revenge story, with the traumatic murder of Bambi’s mother serving as the catalyst for the tale. Bambi and his friends Thumper, Flower, and Faline (played by various members of the regular SNL cast as Johnson’s Furious 7 co-stars) team up to take out the hunters of Tanglewood so that the world can become a safer place for their animal friends.
The bit also pokes fun at the notion that many of these Hollywood reimaginings tend to skew towards the “grittier” side of the spectrum, as the Bambi here is presented as someone whose only purpose in life is to exact vengeance on the humans who killed his mother (and not learning about the world around him). It’s true that the original Bambi was a little more serious than what viewers were accustomed to from Disney, but it still made for entertaining family viewing. If they ever did do a Bambi remake, it’s not hard to envision them going for that type of tone, since their Alice and Wonderland and Maleficent both played it whimsical and dark.
As ridiculous as the skit may be, one has to admit that the movie teased here certainly looks more entertaining than what Disney is actually churning out during this trend (get ready for Alice in Wonderland 2!) Instead of merely copying and pasting the basic elements and “updating” them, there’s some genuine creativity displayed here, putting a drastically new spin on the property (while honoring the source material), with all the deer puns you can handle. Also, Taran Killam’s Vin Diesel would be a hilarious scene stealer with his mumbled speech and hopping action. It’s hard to argue that this wouldn’t be a box office hit were it actually produced.
However, we wouldn’t hold our breaths that Bambi: Hunters Pay Deerly (or whatever it’d be called) would get the green light from the studio anytime soon. Even with Disney broadening their demographic with Marvel and Lucasfilm, this hard-hitting action film doesn’t seem like the thing that they’d go for, especially since the new fairy tale films are made for families mostly. That said, producer Adi Shankar has made a name for himself by making his “bootleg universe,” with one-offs based on brands like Power Rangers and James Bond. Perhaps a short-film version of this could be his next project? We certainly wouldn’t be against it.
Saturday Night Live airs on NBC Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. EST.