Capt. John Smith leads a rag-tag band of English sailors & soldiers to the New World to plunder its riches for England (or, more precisely, for Governor Ratcliffe, who comes along for the ride). Meanwhile, in this "New World," Chief Powhatan has pledged his daughter, Pocahontas, to be married to the village's greatest warrior. Pocahontas, however, has other ideas. She has seen a vision of a spinning arrow, a vision she believes tells her change is coming. Her life does indeed change when the English ship lands near her village. Between Ratcliffe, who believes the "savages" are hiding the gold he expected to be plentiful, and Powhatan, who believes these pale newcomers will destroy their land, Smith and Pocahontas have a difficult time preventing all-out war, and saving their love for each other. Written by
Joe Sewell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pocahontas is one of the few cartoon characters to be granted a proper "photo spread" in Harper's Bazaar. For the June 1995 edition, Gianni Versace, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, and Isaac Mizrahi all designed special outfits for her which were then drawn by Disney animators for the magazine. See more »
Grandmother Willow is a weeping willow, a species and cultivar of willow that would not be introduced to the New World for centuries to come. See more »
Don't lose your heart, men. It won't be long before we reach the New World. And remember what awaits us there. Freedom. Prosperity. The adventure of our lives. You're the finest crew England has to offer and nothing, not wind nor a thousand bloody savages shall stand in our way. Carry on, men!
A stirring oration, sir. I'm sure the men were most exhilarated.
Let's hope so.
[quietly to Percy]
I'll need those witless peasants to dig up my gold, won't I?
[growls in agreement]
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For as much bad press as Pocahontas got, I must say I really disagree with the people who call it flat and lifeless. I thought that after the exclusively tan Lion King, the fresh blues and greens of the foggy Virginia woods were quite beautiful to behold. No one can deny that this is a very beautiful movie, almost exquisite in its animation. Although John Smith is nowhere near as handsome as he thinks he is and peoples' eyes have a strange tendency to all but disappear at times (Look at Smith, Nakoma and Kokoum to see what I mean), it is very very pretty.
Unfortunately, if they'd just waited a year or so after The Lion King, I think it would have gotten much better ratings. As I see it, it is a very interesting story, if a bit tired at times. Pocahontas is a fine heroine, she's very courageous and likeable, and unlike Jasmine and Nala from the previous two Disney films, she's much more than just a pretty face. The love story with Captain Smith is actually done rather well despite the fact that I really disliked the Smith character. I'm not sure why they made him so flat and one-dimensional in contrast to Pocahontas' rich personality, but I didn't find him at all interesting.
The cute animal mascots were allright, if totally out of place in the otherwise dark world. They would be funny to little kids, but they're pretty annoying to a mature viewer.
I didn't really care for Chief Powhatan, he was a little too dense considering the circumstances. I'd say my favorite characters were Nakoma, Pocahontas' best friend and Kokoum, the personality-less warrior. At least those two had some decent tension. I also really enjoyed David Ogden Stiers' duel performance as Governor Ratcliffe and his cute little yes-man, Wiggins. Those two characters truthfully provided the best entertainment of the film, and it might have been a better movie if they'd replaced some of the preachiness with more entertaining scenes of those two plotting.
All in all, it doesn't really take much intelligence to watch it, but it does have elements to appeal to a mature viewer, and besides, the songs are very pretty and of course, it's a splendid piece of animation.
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