Pocahontas (1995)

pocahontas-1995-walt-disney-poster
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 10/10

Some of Disney's best animation

Very weak story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pocahontas

Studio:  Walt Disney Feature Animation

Genre(s):  Animated/Musical/Romance/Family

Release Date(s):  June 23, 1995

MPAA Rating:  G

pocahontas-1995-john-smith-meets-pocahontas-at-waterfall

Who hasn’t fallen in love with someone who pointed a rifle at them?

Pocahontas dreams something big is coming.  With the arrival of ships led by Governor Ratcliffe, explorers have come to the land in search of gold and riches.  With explorer John Smith leading his way, the men prepare to face the savages of the land.  When Smith meets Pocahontas, he learns that there is more to the New World than just gold and riches.  Can Pocahontas and Smith get their people to recognize peace before it is too late?

Directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, Pocahontas is the thirty-third film in the Walt Disney Animated Classic series.  Following the wildly popular film The Lion King released in 1994, the movie received moderate reviews and was criticized for the portrayal of Pocahontas and her people.  The film was nominated and won Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“Colors of the Wind”) and Best Original Music Score.

pocahontas-1995-grandmother-willow

Remember all the history lessons about those talking willow trees that weren’t even native to North America…neither do I…

The story of Pocahontas is rather new ground for Disney.  While most of their animated films have been based on books and stories, this film is based on historical events and real people.  This provides a trick for the screenwriters in attempts to keep things accurate and interesting…Disney decided to throw a lot of the accuracy out the window.

Most historical films have a lot of inaccuracies in them, but they aren’t aimed at kids.  If adults see a historical film, they can recognize that the story is probably altered, but here most of the audience probably don’t know much about Pocahontas and are more apt to believe what they see.  I have a bit of a problem with this since Disney as an established institution might have more accountability.  They also allegedly turned down offers from Native American groups to better sculpt the characters in an accurate manner.

pocahontas-1995-pocahontas-protects-john-smith

And then they all did a musical number…

The movie’s story is probably the worst part of the film.  With these inaccuracies, you’d expect a better story.  Instead, you get a magical talking tree that teaches Pocahontas how to speak English immediately…It’s better than Rosetta Stone.  You get an underdeveloped love story with an anti-climatic ending…it is a poor attempt.

What Pocahontas does do right is the animation.  I feel that the film has some of the best animation in Disney’s history much like the also weak-story film Sleeping Beauty.  The land looks lush and makes you wish you could see the New World as explorers saw it…untouched and clean.

pocahontas-1995-colors-of-the-wind

Another reason that this is some of the best Disney animation

The movie also has a pretty good soundtrack.  ”Colors of the Wind” is a strong main theme song that is both catchy and has some great lyrics.  Other songs in the movie aren’t as singable but feel more like musical numbers.  It feels like Pocahontas is a true musical in this aspect.

Pocahontas is a sad case for me.  I love the animation of the film and the music is quite good, but the story is poor.  I can’t get past the glaring historical inaccuracies (especially in a film aimed toward kids) and this can’t overcome the look and sound…ok, that talking tree probably did happen.  Pocahontas had a direct-to-video sequel Pocahontas II:  Voyage to a New World in 1998 which attempted to fix some of the historical aspects of this film.  Disney followed Pocahontas with The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996.

Related Links:

Pocahontas II:  Voyage to a New World (1998)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response