Oh man... It's hard to choose when this focuses on a character like the Great Prince. Here's my little breakdown on the versions:"Bambi" Great Prince:
I agree with a lot of the comments said so far.
To be honest, he reminds me a lot of the White Wolf from the first Balto movie all throughout the film. In the beginning, he is seen as mysterious and meaningful, a true leader and a wise stag that all deer revere and show respect to. It's not until after Bambi is orphaned that we officially learn that he and the young prince are truly Father and Son. Yeah, I know there were hints - AKA the obvious titles. "Little Prince"? "Great Prince of the Forest?" Of course they have to be related, right? - but as Bambi mourns silently for his mother, it's the Great Prince that comforts him and you could say teaches him that death is as natural as life itself. The picture books do it better and with more words, but the message just by watching is still the same. By the ending, he is a motivator to his son while Bambi feels ready to let an injury weaken his body and spirit. The stag knows that Bambi is destined to take his place as the new Prince, so he stays by his side, making sure that the young Prince not only survives the fiery disaster, but also returns safely to those he will soon have dominion over, including his mate Faline.
I like how he barely speaks, but when he does, it's nothing but wisdom of the important things in the forest that Bambi needs to know - Man's presence, Death, determination and love. Sure, he's not the father figure we'd love to see Bambi have, but meh. Tough love - nothing wrong with it in the world of the wild!
"Bambi II" Great Prince:
Hnnng, I have many reasons to love "Bambi II"'s Great Prince. First off, Patrick Stewart.
OMG, the tone just screams out "Great Prince", and I know that no other actor could pull off such a loved character better. Obviously, he helps add more depth to this majestic stag.
Then again, the story did a lot of that too. His personality is larger here, and we see that he has a large responsibility over the many herds and uses his senses to keep track of them all. He is strict and not really the father-type of deer - I love how he is true to how deer really act; the does [female deer] raise fawns, not the bucks or stags - but the obvious change happens. He literally begins to bond with him, realizing how important Bambi is to him. D'aww. It's nice to see the Great Prince having fun and saying... "Woo-hoo" for once. It's like Bambi unlocked the kid in the Great Prince, and it's unnecessary, but I thought it was just... too cute, even if it was out of character for him compared to the original film.
In the end, I really can't choose one over the other. Both versions are done well and show different facets of the same character, even with a 50-60 year difference. If I had to choose one, I'd have to go with the original. The mystery he has in every scene he's in, usually without speaking a single word, is just intense.