Critic Consensus: Pocahontas means well, and has moments of startling beauty, but it's largely a bland, uninspired effort, with uneven plotting and an unfortunate lack of fun.
History gets the Disney kiddie treatment and a politically correct interpretation in the studio's 33rd feature-length animated movie, the first to be based on actual events and people. Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) is the daughter of Algonquin chief Powhatan (Russell Means), who promises her in marriage to Kocoum, a brave whom she doesn't love. Pocahontas would rather be paddling in her canoe or wandering in the forest, communing with nature and her animal pals, Meeko, a raccoon, and the hummingbird Flit. When European settlers arrive, she becomes enamored of handsome John Smith (Mel Gibson). Their attraction is encouraged by Grandmother Willow (Linda Hunt), a talking tree. The situation between their peoples is tense, however, as the settlers, led by Governor Ratcliffe (David Ogden Stiers) desperately want the gold that they're sure the natives are concealing. When a dutiful sentry, Thomas (Christian Bale) follows Smith into the woods on one of his secret meetings with Pocahontas, a tragic mistake leads both groups to the brink of war. Only the love of Pocahontas and Smith can prevent bloodshed. Pocahontas (1995) was awarded two Oscars, for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score and Best Original Song for "Colors of the Wind." ~ Karl Williams, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Pocahontas
Just about everything in this lavish, animated feature is for the pigtail set.
[A] handsome, deeply felt, even more deeply reverent animated musical.
All Disney has really done in its disappointing 33rd animated feature is revive the stereotype of the Noble Savage.
Audience Reviews for Pocahontas
I do not share the negative criticism that this well-intentioned (yet naive) animation is racist and offensive to American Indians, and it is actually quite more serious in theme and mood than the average Disney film, with also gorgeous visuals and a beautiful Oscar-winning song.
For the past two years, I've had a hankering to rewatch "Pocahontas" to see if my childhood love for it still stands, and despite its glaring historical inaccuracies with Pocahontas's and John Smith's love plot, boy does it truly hold up in terms of animation, score, and message.
People are all praising millennial Disney princesses for not wanting to get married (Merida, Elsa, Anna), but they forget that 90s Disney heroines could be strong while still having love interests too. Mulan didn't want to get married at first; after fighting and winning the war, she sensibly invites Shang over for dinner. Pocahontas didn't want to get married at first; she falls in love with a perceived enemy but ultimately chooses to stay with her tribe.
The bold hues and watercolor effects are still captivating; "Just Around the River Bend" and "Colors of the Wind" are still sweeping and mature orchestral masterpieces; and the themes of interpersonal peace, ecological sustainability, and cultural understanding are still relevant and moving. So freakin' good!
One of the most powerful films in the Disney collection, Pocahontas suffers from a weak villain and some throw-away characters, but features raw emotions and tension, a haunting, beautiful score, and some of the best songs ever written for film.
|Powhatan:||When I see you wear that necklace, you look just like your mother.|
|Pocahontas:||I miss her.|
|Powhatan:||But she is still with us. Whenever the wind blows through the trees, I feel her presence. Our people looked to her for wisdom and strength. Someday, they will look to you as well.|
|Pocahontas [Singing]:||Should I choose the smoothest course? Steady as the beating drum. Should I marry Kocoum? Is all my dreaming at an end? Or do you still wait for me, dream giver, just around the riverbend?|
|Pocahontas:||The tree is talking to me...|
|Pocahontas:||It would have been better if we never met, none of this would have happened.|
|John Smith:||I'd rather die tomorrow than live a hundred years without knowing you.|
|Pocahontas:||I can't leave you.|
|John Smith:||You never will, no matter what happens to me, I'll always be with you, forever.|
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