Pocahontas Blu-ray Review
Pocahontas may not be the most
faithful telling of the story imaginable (for some that follow history
books" and expect filmmakers to entirely follow suite that might even
seem a gigantic understatement) but it is a
creative, visionary, and beautiful film about the discovery of the "new
in America by Spanish explorers and the emotional unity of Pocahontas
many Disney productions, there is a cast of acclaimed actors portraying
characters, represented through this version of the Pocahontas legend. Irene Bedard voices Pocahontas magnificently
by providing adequate warmth and compassion, as one would hope to find
genuinely peaceful and compassionate character.
songs are performed by Broadway actress Judy Kuhn. John Smith was
Mel Gibson. David Ogden Stiers voiced Ratcliffe. Meanwhile, a
(or is it the "Dark Knight"?) voiced
one of the crew members: Christian Bale was the voice of Thomas.
voice-work is constantly present and it represents a significant boost
audiences with this special filmmaking.
film begins with the diabolical Governor Ratcliffe bringing his group
into Virginia in the hopes of finding gold and endless riches. Unlike
the ambitions for exploration that are held by certain crew members (mainly... just John Smith!) the wicked
Governor is another cut-and-dry Disney villain with only his own
mind. Upon arriving in the new world of America, John Smith stumbles
brave, beautiful, and energetic Pocahontas. He admires her and begins
recognize that the "native people" that everyone from his land seem to
not as "uncivilized" as he initially believed. In fact, Pocahontas is a
kind-hearted spirit who wants only peace between the people and in this
recognizes something that awes him and his heart.
story brings forward the tragic element of death, anger, and blind
the immediate forefront of the second-act. Pocahontas attempts to
father and all her other loved ones that to murder John Smith is wrong.
Smith takes all the blame for a murder he didn't commit. Pocahontas and
Smith continue to have a close connection, both romantic and also
This carries into the concluding act of the story and the bittersweet,
uplifting conclusion to the film.
was the first major animated Disney film to be created around
figures and real events. Because it has
a real foundation in people who actually existed, it is something quite
different as a Disney experience. For serious history buffs who know
material, I expect to find some not enjoying this version much. Yet Pocahontas essentially accomplishes what
you would expect from Disney with their telling of the legend. To
sounds historically sound about a raccoon and bird befriending
cheerily tagging along while she is singing joyous songs in the English
language while floating downstream in a relatively smallish canoe that
glides off of gigantic cliffs. This film is a blend of fantasy and
attempts to bring historical fact into some of Disney's storytelling.
are many wonderful things about the film. I would be remiss to not
mention the songs
used in the film. The score and the heartfelt song Colors of the Wind
nominated for a major award and they help carry the film in classic
musical fashion. The voice-acting was quite convincing for the roles.
animation has some of the most lush background art in any Disney
The actual character animation has some inconsistent moments, but the
scenery amazes at every turn of the picture. The character design for
Pocahontas is special, though. It is certainly iconic as a Disney
characterization and a good portion of this has to do with the way
drawn and brought to life by the animators.
favorite thing about the film is how it portrays a hopeful message of
between people. This film proclaims the stupidity of rage, of anger, of
It instead sends a message that says loving others and respecting the
differences between cultures is a key to understanding how we can
together a better tomorrow as people. It presents this as a definite. This is a profound message to send.
Disney has also included Pocahontas 2:
Journey to a New World on this release. This does nothing
story is given a much worse Disney treatment and the characters do not
me of the first film's characters much at all. To make matters worse,
at presenting messages of peace and instead turns itself to silly
morning cartoon action. It disregards almost entirely the point of
Amazingly, to make matters even more disappointing in this awful
direct-to-video sequel, Native Americans are treated disrespectfully.
especially cringe-worthy to see the way the Native American bodyguard
as a muscled and monotone for-hire without a personality. Pocahontas is
quick to forget her roots in the film, and the ending doesn't make up
for it. I
could see some kids enjoying this once, but most adults will be
saddened to see
the greatness of Pocahontas seemingly completely ignored.
the inclusion of Pocahontas 2: Journey to
a New World, Pocahontas is well
worth the purchase to own on Blu-ray as it is another Disney gem. Share
family and friends. And remember the beauty that is always "Just Around
images featured in this review are from the DVD edition in this
in the 1.78:1 framed transfer that accurately preserves the original
aspect ratio. The film features a clean, crisp, and magnificent digital
which presents the film with sparkling clarity that I do not recall
with Pocahontas before. The film
looks better than it did theatrically - of course, I haven't seen the
film in a
theater in years but I can't recall it looking as impressive as it does
colors are lush. The art is breathtaking. The animation, especially the
background art, is some of the best in any Disney production and it
the AVC encoded 1080p transfer.
delivers the goods as well. The songs and score sound remarkable with
clarity. The songs in Pocahontas
of the reason the film is so effective, and hearing both The
Colors of the Wind and Just
Around the Riverbend in lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio was an
of the Blu-ray release.
is also available in Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles
provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), Spanish,
Pocahontas 2: Journey to
a New World
a few extras on this release that might be pleasant experiences for
fans of Pocahontas. There is a commentary
with one of the producers and the film's two directors.
information is also included on what was a scrapped Disney project
entitled Hiawatha. The storyboards for that
unfinished project are included.
also included on this release: deleted
scenes, a deleted song, a making
of featurette covering the music in Pocahontas,
and a bonus cartoon short entitled Little
Hiawatha. It isn't probably as extensive a collection as some were
for but it isn't altogether dismissible either.
to state that Disney should have included the sequel, Pocahontas
2: Journey to a New World as a supplemental feature and
not as a main draw towards a purchase of this release. It is not
promoted as an
"extra" but it essentially amounts to being one.
one of Disney's
best and most under-rated films of the 1990's. It shares a message of
understanding of others and it does so in a profound way. The songs are
too, as is the animation. Fans of Disney should definitely purchase Pocahontas. You might want to skip the
inferior sequel. Just experience Pocahontas
as the beautiful animated classic that it is.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.