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Pocahontas

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Pocahontas
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🎵Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?🎵
Genre: Musical
Historical
Romantic
Drama
Directed By: Mike Gabriel
Eric Goldberg
Written By: Carl Binder
Susannah Grant
Philip LaZebnik
Starring: Irene Bedard
Mel Gibson
David Ogden Stiers
Release Date: June 10, 1995 (New York City)
June 23, 1995 (Wide release)
Runtime: 81 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $55 million
Box Office: $346.1 million
Sequel: Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World


Pocahontas is a 1995 American animated musical romantic drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation for Walt Disney Pictures. The 33rd Disney animated feature film, it was directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg and is loosely inspired by the Native American woman, Pocahontas.

Plot

An English soldier and the daughter of an Algonquin chief share a romance when English colonists invade seventeenth-century Virginia.


Good Qualities

  1. Stunning animation, especially during the songs and the wind blowing through Pocahontas' hair.
  2. Amazing soundtrack and musical numbers, such as Savages (Governor Ratcliffe's villain song which features both the Indians and settlers expressing their disgust and hate towards one another as they prepare for war) and Colors of the Wind (a love song between Pocahontas and John Smith).
    • Speaking of Colors of the Wind, the song (to quote Disney Wiki) poetically represents the Native American viewpoint that the earth is a living entity where humankind is connected to everything in nature. This song is about Pocahontas' exhortation to John Smith about the wonders of the earth and nature, including the spirit within all living things, encouraging him not to think of them as things he can conquer or own, but rather as beings to respect and live with in harmony. She also urges him to accept humans who are different in appearance and culture and to learn from them. Which adds a large deal of symbolism and hidden meaning to an already beautiful song.
  3. Beautiful character designs with the Native Americans, especially with Pocahontas.
  4. Pocahontas, along with being a likable character, is also an interesting variant of the trope for the hero who seemingly has unlimited compassion and love for everyone (in most cases, even villains). Because (in the words of TV Tropes), On one hand, she's an animal lover who has a number of animal companions by her side (one of which used to be on the evil side, nonetheless), is very open-minded about encountering people from another culture and hardly ever resorts to violence. On the other hand, she's a lot more level-headed and shrewd than most examples of the archetype, And the main reason she fits the bill for the trope is that she knows that racism and violence between opposing races, namely the Native Americans and the English settlers, will only lead to each other becoming even more xenophobic than before, which effectively makes her the Only Sane Woman for much of the movie, and it's through her influence that other characters come to the same realization.
  5. Has some of its own creative adjustments to make the film more suitable for Disney’s target audience. Like Pocahontas' age change and the story being given a happy ending.
  6. Amazing voice acting (especially with Ratcliffe, Pocahontas and John Smith). And the fact that it's so good helps the already phenomenal songs pop a lot more.
  7. John Smith and Pocahontas share amazing chemistry. This is solidified and especially displayed when John Smith tells Pocahontas, "I'd rather die tomorrow than live a hundred years without have knowing you."
  8. Governor Ratcliffe is an entertaining villain with an original motivation and the late David Ogden Stiers did a pretty good job voicing him (as previously mentioned in WSOOTCOTW# 6).
  9. Pocahontas' pet raccoon, Meeko is an adorable animal sidekick (a recurring theme in Disney animated films as previously seen in Cinderella, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, and The Little Mermaid).
  10. Proper character and story development.
  11. It stays true to Pamunkey Indian culture. As while the historical events that the movie was based on are altered in certain places in order to make a film for young audiences, Pamunkey Indian culture is portrayed in a shockingly realistic and faithful way.
  12. The ending is very emotional and bittersweet. As John is nursed back to health by the tribe but in order for his sustained wounds to be able to fulyl heal, he must leave Pocahontas and return to England. Along with Ratcliffe, who's being sent there to face punishment for his crimes against the settlement. John asks Pocahontas to come with him, but she instead chooses to stay with her tribe to help keep peace with them and prevent any more wars or hate crimes among them. Meeko and Percy have now formed a friendship and give Pocahontas her mother's necklace, which has now been completely fixed. John leaves on his ship while leaving Pocahontas behind, Powhatan gives him his blessing to return anytime he likes. Pocahontas is last seen standing atop a cliff, watching the ship carrying John depart.

Bad Qualities

  1. Starting with the elephant in the room, due to changing a lot of things to make it more kid-friendly, the film doesn’t stay true to the actual historical event very well, and as such received controversy, although to be fair, it was done to get kids to watch it. For instance, Pocahontas was only a little girl in the real story.
  2. There was a continuity error where John Smith place his musket on the rock in the waterfall, but then it disappears when Pocahontas is running away from John Smith on the rocks.
  3. Kocoum's death is extremely disturbing for a kids film.
  4. In retrospect, this film is viewed as the weakest of the Disney Renaissance and marked the start of Disney's decline, as it did not perform as well as their early 1990s films (depending on your view).

Trivia

  • A majority of Disney's top animators opted to animate this movie over The Lion King, thinking that The Lion King would fail and not make enough of a profit as Pocahontas would.
    • Ironically, The Lion King would make three times more money in the box office compared to Pocahontas.

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