Pocahontas {1995}

*EDIT*  I now understand that this movie has been harmful to some members of the Indigenous American community.  I had always thought of this movie as a gorgeous exploration of race relations and racism, and I'd always loved it because of the animation and the music.  That is still why I enjoy it.  Nevertheless, I understand that I have the luxury of interpreting the movie in that way since I am not a member of the community that could be/has been impacted by this film and therefore cannot have any conception of its potential negative effects.

The discussion on this movie appears to be ongoing and multi-faceted, with Indigenous Americans on various sides of the issue.  As such, I simply wanted to state for the record that, while I still (for now, at least) love this film, I never want to be endorsing or enjoying something that is inherently racist.

For a good introduction to this topic, I recommend this video (strong language).  It was educational for me and prompted the addition of this caveat.

- Original Review - 

I LOVE THIS MOVIE.  This movie is a very good movie and it is a movie that deserves much more respect than it receives and that is all I have to say about that.  (Not.)  


I'm not sure precisely where Pocahontas falls on my "top ten Disney movies" list (which I may compile and post sometime ;)), but it is on there, and it means a lot to me, even though the characters aren't really my favorite.  (I'm not entirely sure why it's so important to me, but probably for the music and the animation.)  Anyhow, I'm going to review it from my perspective, which is one of great affinity for it, and I shall waste no time on defending it from the critics' silly fiddle-faddle.

Though the story is not wholly accurate to historical fact, it is movingly told and deals with what are probably the most mature themes Disney had yet explored: racism, conquest, loyalty, diplomacy, and love complicated by legitimate external concerns.  As with practically any classic Disney movie, there are some very cheesy, sappy romantic parts that I could definitely do without, but beyond that, it's good.

Pocahontas is probably the most beautiful Disney princess I have ever seen.  She has great dignity and great strength of character, brave enough to give new people a chance in the beginning and yet brave enough to stay behind and help facilitate better relations between the two races in the end.  



John Smith is frankly pretty pasty and bland, but he's okay.  (I do like Kocoum. ;))  Powhatan is strong and compassionate, sincerely desiring what's best for his people, stubborn but also humble.  Ratcliffe is a satisfactory villain with some killer lines.  

[Also, Wiggins is A Highlight.  He's absolutely fabulous.  ("We shall be sure to give them a proper English greeting." "Ooh, gift baskets!" ~ "Why do you think those insolent heathens attacked us?" "Because we invaded their land and cut down their trees and dug up their earth?" ~ "I like gruel.")]

1600s Virginia is gorgeously portrayed in a meticulous blend of detail and vagueness. Some shots are basic and close to featureless, focusing on the big picture, and some are intricately beautiful. The nature vistas are confined to a consistent color palette of mid- to light greens and blues, misty whites and greys, the occasional blacks or browns, mauvy purples, and tendrils of pink bleeding into orange and red. IT IS STUNNING.



THE MUSIC IS EVERYTHING.  I cannot.  Without doubt the best thing about this movie.  I've loved this soundtrack for years, and my affection hasn't diminished.  It is glorious with a special glory.  One of Menken's best, in my humble opinion. *coughs affectedly*  Every lyric is thoughtfully written and the themes are soaring and stirring.  It's fantastic.  Specifically:
  • "Mine, Mine, Mine" - The lyrics are everything in this one.  ("I'd help you to dig, boys, but I've got this crick in me spine . . . ")
  • "Colors of the Wind" - HERE'S MY OSCAR-WINNING BEAUTY. <3  Judy Kuhn's voice is gorgeous and I will defy anyone who says differently.  ("You can own the earth and still, all you'll own is earth until . . . ")
  • "Savages" - Oh my goodness.  This is phenomenal.  Chilling and telling and just, agh.  (The line, "I wonder if they even bleed"--gaaahhhh.)  Plus, when Pocahontas comes in and is singing on top of the chorus . . . GOOSEBUMPS EVERY TIME, I TELL YOU.  The whole scene, actually, is absolutely incredible.  The colors, the way it's animated, the emotion, the music, the lyrics . . . 
^^ LOOK AT THAT.

  • "If I Never Knew You" - Sometimes I'm in the mood for this and sometimes I'm not, but it is beautiful and melancholy and all that.
  • The score in general - Absolutely wonderful.  I love it.  The "Farewell" track kind of destroys me. 

The ending is probably the most breathtaking Disney ending I've ever experienced, with The Lion King a possible exception.  As I said, the music at the end is unparalleled and overwhelming and it Does Things to my heart. 


Overall, Pocahontas is sweeping, wistful, rich, and dramatic.  It's not flawless, but it is by no means worthless.  I love it, and I'm glad Disney made it. <3

What do you think of this movie?


Comments

  1. Gah, I seriously love this movie! I remember as a young child though I thought it was historically accurate and was seriously confused as to WHERE IN THE WORLD GRANDMOTHER WILLOW WAS when it came time to read about the real Pocahontas in history. But childish antics aside, this is also one of my all-time favorite disney movies. But don't get me started on the second one
    -_-

    ~ Ceci

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    1. Awwww! Haha, I've had things like that with other childhood stories, too. Yes, it's a good movie! I'm glad you agree. :) <3

      Haha, I actually like the second one! Or, at least, I remember liking it when I was younger . . . I might not if I were to re-watch it.

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  2. Such a great movie! The music is still some of the best from Disney too. I love your new blog look!

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    1. Yes! I knew you'd be on my side here. ;) Thanks!

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  3. Ah, I haven't seen this in such a long time!! Yes, the animation can argue to be the best in any Disney film... just sayin'. I know a lot of people who find Wiggins annoying, but he was always one of my favorites! XD Ah, the music!!!!!!!!!!! So gorgeous!!

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    1. Quite right, sista. Hey, he's awesome! You're right. ;) Yes!!!!!

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  4. Hey . . . remember THIS GEM?!?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtN16zejWkE

    (you're welcome for the feelz. :-P)

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    1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I do remember!! Feewings. <3

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  5. Never actually seen this movie, but your review sure makes me want to! It does, like you said, look like a beautifully animated movie and a fun watch!

    Also love your new blog look. :)

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    1. Eeee, yay! I mean, personally, I feel like it's watching for the animation and the music alone, even if you don't like the story (which would be fair :-P).

      Thank you!!! :D <3

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  6. Oh Pocahontas. I love this movie so much, as a child and now. The music is some of the finest. Excuse me well I go break into singing Colours of the Wind.

    Lindsey

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    1. Linsey, glad you agree! Hehe, I'll join you in singing CotW. ;)

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  7. THIS! I didn't know I had such strong feelings (still!) for this movie but apparently I do. Totally agree re the music, the beautiful animation, the MOST beautiful Disney heroine <3, and the fact that while not historically accurate, at least detail-wise, this movie is one of Disney's first mature forays into racism, conquest, colonialism, etc.

    And the Ending!!!!!! #tears #myheart

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    1. Yaysies!! :D

      Colonialism, that was the concept I was thinking of . . . Anyway, yes! To all you said. ;)

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  8. I actually don't remember what I think of it! It's been so long since I watched it I have no memory of this movie. My mother never liked it much because it was historically inaccurate (perhaps among other things) but I'd really like to see it again. I do love a lot of the songs from it. And I've always loved the story of Pocahontas. <3
    Maybe I'll have to get it out from the library... :)

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    1. Yes, give it another shot! The love story is pretty weak, and it kind of takes over the rest of the story, BUT the music and animation and other themes make up for it. I think, at least. ;)

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  9. You just made me love this movie even MORE and I already love it wow. <3

    (I GET CHILLS AT THAT PART OF SAVAGES REPRISE TOO!!! Especially her last line with the high note. *dies*)

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    1. I didn't know you were a fellow Pocahontas fan!!! How did that happen?? Anyway, YAY! :D <3

      (RIGHT LIKE FOR REAL. Ugh. It's so good.)

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  10. I love this. It's in my top five Disney animated films list. So, so gorgeous to watch. I don't care that it's inaccurate, it's stunning. And the music is AMAZING. Especially "Savages."

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    1. I'm so glad you agree, Charity! It's really so worthwhile even just for the animation and the music. "Savages" is SO good. I actually thought yesterday that I might write a post soon dedicated to crazily epic songs from animated movies . . . "Savages" would definitely be in it. ;)

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