diego's Review of Pocahontas
I think it would have been a given that Disney would, uh, "alter" the real Pocahontas' story. They did the same with many of their films, and they were fantastic. But is Pocahontas, based on an actual person and actual historic event, too much? Has (or had) Disney gone too far, changing actual people's lives so drastically? Well, it depends on the viewer. I personally loved it.
Before I go on to tell more about the film and why I liked it, I'm going to quickly review the real Pocahontas, who's name means "mischievous one".
Pocahontas was actually ten years to thirteen years old when John Smith met her, and they did not fall in love. Pocahontas DID marry Kocoum though nothing more is known about it. Later, after she was captured by the British, she married John Rolfe. She then moved to England.
As to John Smith's almost execution, some historians believe John Smith mistook it for a tribal ritual. He expanded upon the story many times, about how Chief Powhatan was going to kill him and then Pocahontas intervened.
Now, here's Disney's Pocahontas:
Pocahontas is a woman in her early twenties or late teens who is the daughter of Chief Powhatan. She is to be married to Kocoum by her father's wishes but she doesn't really want to. Then English settlers arrive on their land led by Governor Ratcliffe in a search for gold. Pocahontas meets John Smith and their romance blossoms, but its threatened to be destroyed by the prejudice of both groups of people.
Disney got much criticism from Native Americans for 'Pocahontas' and its highly understandable. They completely changed this person!
But the good part about 'Pocahontas', as many Disney tales, is the message. People are people. We need to accept each other for who we are no matter what color skin, or what religion. Unfortunately this will fly over children's heads because this film is rather boring to them compared to all other Disney films. I remember being a child and skipping the channel 'Pocahontas' was being shown on because I thought it was boring. However, I've decided to watch it now that I'm older and have a bigger attention span and I love it! Disney should've aimed this more at teenagers and young adults rather than little children. This is why its more popular amongst teens.
Of course the animation is wonderful, need I say it? this is Disney! But the most impressive part is how the movements look, how fluid they are. The characters have an almost realistic look to them. Its pretty damn good! Especially during the "Colors of the Wind" segment. The song was the best of the entire movie, and the animation in it made it magical. And that fits with my next point.
Most of the songs in the film were pretty good. I don't remember the first John Smith song very well, to tell the truth. I remember the song "Savages" very well though. And, of course, I remember "Colors of the Wind". But, there is a song that wasn't in the theatrical release that ties with a cut scene. It was put back in with the 10th anniversary DVD. This song is called, "If I Never Knew You" and it makes a BIG difference in the film. Without it, we knew that John and Pocahontas loved each other but that was the extent of it. With the song and scene we better understood their love and their connection to each other. It changed the experience all together and made 'Pocahontas' one of the okays of Disney to one of the best.
'Pocahontas' is a highly fictional account of this historical figure's life. But Disney manages to bring a wonderful film filled with heart, beautiful animation, and wonderful songs. It might not be a good movie for small kids who might grow up thinking that its 100% true, but its a delight for teenagers who should already know the true story from their schooling.