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When Pocahontas originally came out, Disney's wave of recent hits came
to a crashing halt. The film was labeled as racist or at least
insensitive to Native Americans and the goodwill that Disney had
established with its audiences quickly evaporated. You could say they
have never been the same since.
The "fearsome foursome" that is The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the Lion King has no equal, except perhaps the last four Pixar movies. Pocahontas is not, unfortunately in that "club" and never will be. Disney spent the next four to five years trying to recreate the "magic" with films like Hunchback, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan. Unfortunately, none of those films had the surprise and "good feeling" of the earlier Disney hits, and except for maybe Mulan, none of those films, as films, were as good either. And although Pocahontas is and was the point where the schizm occurred, in retrospect, it's a pretty damned good movie. So what went wrong?
First, it wasn't the Lion King. They could have put out something "safe" after the Lion King, and it still probably would have paled in comparison to what was then a great big giant behemoth of a movie. That movie earned over THREE HUNDRED MILLION in its theatrical run in 1994 - not as common then as it is now - thing was a juggernaut. Pocahontas, following on the heels of this bad boy, was not going to live up to expectations.
People blamed the fact that it was about PEOPLE and not animals, and that it was based on ACTUAL history rather than a fairy tale. THEN they blamed the fact that the history part of it was botched and that the film's portrayal of Native Americans was at best insensitive, racist at worst.
I'll grant you that making Pocahontas' mentor a talking tree and having her learn English "instantaneously" because she listened to her heart is a wee bit ridiculous, but racist? Come on. The message of the film - that love can conquer hate - is anything but racist and if anything, the film shows the "Indians" in a more human light than the English, who are their usual, stereotypical pig-headed selves.
Here's what else is good about the movie: The SONGS. Remember 'Colors of the Wind'? Could there be a better song about reconnecting with nature and valuing the earth more? We NEED this song right now, especially, with the world seemingly sliding ever more into a consumerist "bliss," what better than to see some beautiful chick running through the forest teaching that rugged white man how to value LIFE? And what the hell is wrong with that I ask?
And what about some of the other songs? The one about the RIVER BEND and making choices - good stuff. And the whole montage ending song that repeats SAVAGES SAVAGES BARELY EVEN HUMAN from both sides - showing that BOTH SIDES misunderstand each other. It gives me chills when Pocahontas is running and you see the war superimposed behind her and she sings "HOW LOUD BEAT THE DRUMS OF WAR!" - makes me want to cry! Don't we need this now I ask you?
But, by far the best thing about this movie is - the animation. It is absolutely GORGEOUS. The design for this film is sumptuous, with mostly blues and a seamless style that never gets in the way and illustrates the action (and the feminine nature of the film) so beautifully. Compared to the dreck that is the HUNCHBACK - that film is ugly as sin - and the absolute HIDEOUSNESS of Hercules - the animation in that is strictly straight-to-video, Pocahontas absolutely ROCKS. Only Mulan, with its chirpy story and colorful style match up to the grandeur of this one.
While Pocahontas didn't have the grand ending that the Lion King had (it was a downer, remember?), the story bucks tradition by making it about people instead of animals, and its' message outweighs the "historically inaccurate" complaint. What movie IS historically accurate? Disney took a chance with this one and they got BURNED, which is why they went back to doing "safe" crap like Hunchback, which tanked anyway. They should have done the SCARLET LETTER or something like that - really start pissing people off. How about the MARQUIS DE SADE? There's some history for you!
Watch Pocahontas again without the weight of expectations. You'll be surprised by how good it really is.
When this movie came out (in 1995), I thought : "Another one "big
stupid kiddy Disney American colonialist propaganda movie" ! Nobody
thinks no more about a love story between an Indian girl and a
colonialist ! The indians were exterminated by the colonialists ! Not
loved by them ! Everybody knows that !"
And I didn't watch such of silly movie, of course ! I'm not a stupid man !
BUT, there's a week ago, the daughter of my sister (9 years old), forgot that DVD in my home. I thought : "Let's see this stupidity, just to laugh at the most ridiculous Disney's movie !"
I watched it. And I cryed. This is the best Disney's movie, and maybe the best movie, I've ever watched !
How can you criticize it ? Have you lost your children soul ?!!
Of course, just after watched it, I thought : "Well, that's good. Better than I thought. But that's all".
But the next day, the song of the old "mother witch" remains in my mind ! I decided to watch it again, and again. Now, I've seen this movie about 20 times in one week. That's incredible, I think I'm a fan !!!!
For me, in general, the worst part of a Disney movie, was the songs. I've always hated them. For the first time, I found the songs were the best part of this movie ! I listened to every songs of this movie, and I think, they are all good, and even, great ! Also the music ! It's an Mozart's opera !
Graphics are good, but the editing is better ! The first encounter between Pocahontas and Smith at the falls is a pure master-piece ! And the movie's references are plenty ! The "3-voices song" of "savages", reminds me the "rumbles" of "West Side Story", and the final "goodbye" reminds me the final of Spielberg's "E.T.".
I don't know if this movie was done "for children", but I know I cry every time I watch it !
Thanks for Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg, Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz, and the Disney Company to have kept their "children soul". I was wrong and they were right. And I'm happy of that.
Well, I quit you now, I need to watch this movie again... Goodbye ! :-))
10/10 !!!!!! of course !
Perhaps there should have been a disclaimer at the start of the movie
saying: "Loosely based on the true story of the Indian princess" and then
there wouldn't be all this fuss about a Disney movie not sticking to
historical facts. First of all, when you go to see "Pocahontas" knowing it's
a Disney animated feature, do you really think you're going to see an
accurate depiction of events? It's not meant to be a documentary--take it
for what it is, a charming, completely enjoyable work of art with stunning
visuals, great songs (by Menken and Schwartz) and an uplifting tale that has
a message for kids and adults. What more could you want?
Definitely a must-see Disney film for the whole family. Should create an interest for kids to learn about the actual events if they are so inclined. As entertainment, it's top-grade Disney with a hauntingly beautiful score that would fit well into any Broadway musical. The songs are splendid: 'Just Around the Riverbend', 'Colors of the Wind', 'The Virginia Company' -- and the artwork combined with the music for the gold-digging number is outstanding.
Belongs up there with 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' as one a serious film fan should not miss.
Well when I watched Pocahontas back in 1995 I was only 12 years old, and I thought it was a nice movie, a bit too serious, but all in all a good movie. But now, almost ten years later I saw it again, and wow what a surprise I got... The movie is probably the only Disney movie with a REAL love story, the sneak around and tries to hide their love, and in the incredibly sad ending, they choose life over love (or something like that), which makes the whole thing mature and realistic. And the music, that wonderful music. "Colors of the wind" (fantastic singing by musical star Judy Kuhn) is probably one of the best Disney songs of all time. The other songs are great too. The only thing the film lacks is "classic" animation, these new things like; not seeing Pocahontas nose from the front, I dunno, I can't help thinking of this film with the animators (and style) from "The beauty and the beast". The voice acting is top notch by the way! I don't care that the movie is historicly incorrect, its just a damn good Disney film, that has crawled up to the top 5 Disney classics of all time in my book.
I haven't watched Pocahontas in maybe ten years, but I was feeling
nostalgic one day and popped it in. I could not believe how truly
BEAUTIFUL this movie is, in every aspect.
MUSIC: Aside from the songs everyone knows (Just Around the River Bend and Colors of the Wind) every single other song in the film is wonderful, with soaring harmonies and Broadway quality singing. Everything was masterfully written and executed. The music alone is reason enough for this to be adapted into a full out Broadway musical, but don't worry...the music is brilliant but it doesn't scream "MUSICAL!" like Hairspray or Mamma Mia.
ANIMATION: Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Every single frame is such wonderful eye candy, and the camera work serves the sweeping storyline extremely well.
STORY: Dramatic (with it's humorous moments of course), romantic, and it carries a very important message of peace, maturity, and fighting against ignorance and prejudice from BOTH sides. This is possibly the Disney movie with the greatest message for kids.
HISTORIC ACCURACY: Yes, Disney changed the true story quite a bit, but if you look to Disney for accurate re-tellings of historical events you have a serious PROBLEM. This movie is more 'Inspired by' than 'Based on' and since the true story is about a 13-14 year old falling in love with 30-40 year I think we can all appreciate that they took some liberties with a KIDS' MOVIE.
All in all, I really don't get why this isn't revered as a classic right along with The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast.
Recently I started watching this again with my 4yr old son and fell in love with it all over again! The music is outstanding (I especially love the "Colors of the Wind") and the entire movie is a visual treat! I know many have complained that the movie is a European version of an event and demeaning to American Indians, but from what I've read, Russel Means (voice of Powhatan) was happy with the final product and its portrayal of Native Americans. Whether or not it is historically accurate, it is great entertainment and I believe the overall message of peace and acceptance between peoples is timeless good advice. All in all, a great addition to the Disney catalog of movies.
This is by far the most under-rated Disney movie of all time. Sure it
wasn't perfect, but it is MUCH better than a 5.6.
The story is absolutely engrossing. There are so many good and realistic things going on... a man learning about all the little things he has missed in life, an Indian princess striving for adventure and guidance amongst her steady and safe society, and a full-blown war between civilizations who both believe that the other is made of savages. I appreciate that this story is a realistic depiction of war, with two disagreeing sides, neither of which is necessarily right or wrong.
The animation in this movie is absolutely spectacular. And it is spectacular in the best way: with a basis in cinematography. The animation is not only spectacular because of the details in the backgrounds and the characters, but even more so because of how beautifully it is used. Scenes such as when Pocahontas and John meet in the mist are the kind of simple beauty that more movies need. When you hear the song "Listen With Your Heart", you can practically feel the breath of the surrounding forest. Fantastic stuff.
Another big high point is the music. Everyone's heard the show-stopping "Colors of the Wind", but the others are worthy of praise as well. "Steady as the Beating Drum", "Just Around the River Bend", "Savages", "Listen With Your Heart", "Mine, Mine, Mine", and the deleted "If I Never Knew You" ALL fit perfectly. Musically, this movie is on par with Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and just a tick behind "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King".
So if all these things are good, why only an 8? Two words... the ending. Everything leading up to it is so engrossing, and "Savages" builds up such an intense conflict drama, and everything is falling apart. This was the chance for Disney to turn this movie into a classic, and with what had to happen, they easily could have. But they completely failed. After "Savages", the scene that should have been the most intense and dramatic climax in their history ended almost instantly. It was too fast, there was almost no drama like their should have been, and the dialog was awful... captured none of the epic feel that it should have. Such a shame that such a great film was wrecked by such a horribly executed ending.
I also wasn't a fan of the constant distractions of the animal sidekicks, and of course there are the matters of historical accuracy and non-stereotypical depiction of the Indians, but as an avid animation fan I was willing to overlook these issues and give it a chance to be a good film in a non-contexted world. Some may be put off by this, but since when have animated films been historically accurate? So, honestly, those who are put off by things like "People in the dynasty when Mulan lived weren't praying to ancestors yet" should probably not expect to like this movie.
Out-of-context, I give it an 8/10 because everything up till the ending was completely magical, and had some of the best moments in all of Disney history, but the ending fell flat. I still want to watch it over and over again, because the rest of the movie really was fantastic. With a proper dramatic ending, I really do think that it could have been nominated for "Best Picture" like the Disney people thought it would. As is, it's a great entry into the animated classics canon. Definitely recommended even though it falls well short of the greatness achieved by the early 90's films.
What can I say... When I was a kid, I didn't like Pocahontas. In fact, I was disappointed with this movie. Because, to me, they HAD to be happy ever after! The years have passed, and I'm 19, and I felt really stupid because I didn't like this movie. Oh my god. This movie wasn't made for children, It was made for grow ups. It's language... a child would never understand the message. A child would just enjoy the animation, Meeko and the songs. When I saw that movie again, 2 years ago, I understood why they couldn't be together, I understood the message of the songs and I understood the fact that this movie is one of the most brilliants animations crated. When I saw "Colors of the wind" I cried. When I heard "Savages!" I got chills. How Disney did that? Kids, don't watch this movie. Grow-ups, GO NOW AND WATCH. This movie teaches values that this world forgot, and we need more movies like that. 10/10
I read the poster's comments (the one from Paris) and had to laugh,
because I completely understand him. I went away for school in Europe
in '95 when the film came out, and when I came back Pocahontas was the
rage. You know, the way all Disney films were back then-there were
commercials, songs on the radio, stuffed animals, etc....until the NEXT
Disney movie came to dwarf it until a lame sequel or TV series came
out. So let me tell you, I was skeptical about Pocahontas.
I saw this a year after it came out and instantly fell in love with it. It's a mature Disney animated feature- (in my opinion) even more mature than Japanime films I have seen. The love story seems very real-there is a sort of chemistry between the leads that you can feel.
The soundtrack is one of my favourite parts about the movie. Every song matches perfectly with the spirit of the time and place..a new world in the 1600's.
Finally..whoever had the idea to cast Mel Gibson(and Christian Bale) is a genius. Love those voices!
One aspect of this movie often overlooked is its dreamy editing. It is so consistent throughout and rivals many critically acclaimed films with great editing.
See it again, and remember: "You can own the earth and still, all you'll own is Earth until you can paint with all the colors of the wind."
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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