Pocahontas (1995 film)

Pocahontas (1995 film)
Pocahontas

Promotional poster
Directed by Mike Gabriel
Eric Goldberg
Produced by James Pentecost
Written by Carl Binder
Susannah Grant
Philip LaZebnik
Starring Irene Bedard
Mel Gibson
David Ogden Stiers
John Kassir
Billy Connolly
Frank Welker
Christian Bale
Linda Hunt
Music by Alan Menken
Stephen Schwartz
Studio Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Buena Vista Distribution
Release date(s) June 23, 1995 (1995-06-23)
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million
Box office $346,079,773[1]

Pocahontas is the 33rd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and was originally released to selected theaters on June 16, 1995 by Walt Disney Pictures. It belongs to the era known as the Disney Renaissance that began in 1989 and ended in 1999.

The film is the first animated feature Disney film to be based on a real historic character, based on the known history and also the folklore and legend that surround the Native American woman Pocahontas, and features a fictionalized account of her encounter with Englishman John Smith and the settlers that arrived from the Virginia Company.

A video game based on the film was released across various platforms shortly after the film's theatrical release, and the film itself was followed by a direct-to-video sequel, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World in 1998.

Contents

Plot

In 1607, a ship of British settlers of the Virginia Company sets sail to the "New World". Onboard the ship are Captain John Smith and the voyage's leader Governor Ratcliffe, who believes the local Native Americans are hiding a vast collection of gold and seeks to gain it for his own. The ship gets caught in a storm, and Smith saves a young, inexperienced man named Thomas from drowning, Smith later admitting his lack of interest for the "New World". In the local tribe in the New World, Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, dreads being possibly wed to Kocoum, a brave warrior whom she sees as too "serious" when conflicting with her spirited personality. Chief Powhatan gives Pocahonatas her mother's necklace as a present. Pocahontas, along with her friends, the gluttonous raccoon Meeko and hummingbird Flit, visit Grandmother Willow, a spiritual talking willow tree who alerts her to the presence of the Englishmen.

Governor Ratcliffe has a fortress built in a wooded clearing, naming it James Town, and quickly has the crewmen begin digging for gold. Smith departs to explore the wilderness, and eventually encounters Pocahontas. They quickly bond, fascinated by each other's worlds. The two end up falling in love, countermanding Chief Powhatan's orders to keep away from the Englishmen after Kocoum and other warriors engage them in a fight. Meanwhile, Meeko meets Percy, Ratcliffe's spoilt dog, and becomes the bane of his existence. Pocahontas introduces Smith to Grandmother Willow and avoids two other crewmen; however, Pocahontas' friend Nakoma discovers her relationship with Smith and warns Kocoum. Thomas also follows Smith, and both he and Kocoum witness the two kissing. In a jealous rage, Kocoum attacks and tries to kill Smith but is himself killed by Thomas. An enraged Chief Powhatan declares war on the crewmen, and Smith is to be executed at sunrise.

Thomas warns the crewmen of Smith's capture, and Ratcliffe rallies the men to battle as an excuse to remove the tribe and find their non-existent gold. Pocahontas goes to Grandmother Willow, but Meeko hands her a compass which points her in the direction of Smith, leading to her destiny. She successfully stops Smith's execution, but Ratcliffe tries to shoot Chief Powhatan in anger with Smith taking the bullet. The governor is captured and arrested by the crewmen. In the end, Smith is forced to return home to get treatment, with Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan's blessing to return in the future.

Voice cast

  • Irene Bedard (Judy Kuhn, singing) as Pocahontas, the daughter of the Chief Powhatan that manages to stop an armed conflict between the Powhatans and the British settlers. She is an adventurous woman who violates her father's forbidding of meeting white people and even falls in love with Captain John Smith.
  • Mel Gibson as John Smith, the love interest of Pocahontas. He is the only one of the English settlers in the Jamestown Settlement willing to befriend the natives due to his love and learning to accept other cultures from Pocahontas.
  • David Ogden Stiers as Governor Ratcliffe, the primary antagonist of the film who leads an expedition to Virginia to find gold and other riches (which he wants to keep for himself). Unlike other Disney Villains, he is based upon a combination of actual historical figures: while the captain of The Discovery, John Ratcliffe, was the governor of the Jamestown Settlement at one point, he was not the first, nor was he the captain of the ship that John Smith and the rest of the Virginia Company arrived on. He also provided the voice of Wiggins, Ratcliffe's manservant.
  • John Kassir as Meeko, Pocahontas's pet raccoon who is friendly to John Smith and loves eating.
  • Russell Means as Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas's father and chief of the Powhatan. Jim Cummings did the singing parts of the character.
  • Christian Bale as Thomas, a friend of John Smith and one of the British settlers.
  • Linda Hunt as Grandmother Willow, a speaking willow tree that acts as Pocahontas's guide.
  • Danny Mann as Percy, Governor Ratcliffe's pet pug.
  • Billy Connolly as Ben, a settler.
  • Joe Baker as Lon, another settler.
  • Frank Welker as Flit, Pocahontas's xenophobic pet hummingbird who prefers Kocoum to John Smith, but eventually warms up to him.
  • Michelle St. John as Nakoma, Pocahontas's best friend who secretly adores Kocoum.
  • James Apaumut Fall as Kocoum, a brave Powhatan warrior who desires to marry Pocahontas.
  • Gordon Tootoosis as Kekata, the shaman of the Powhatan. Jim Cummings did the singing parts of the character.

At least three actors in this film have been involved in other Pocahontas-related projects. Gordon Tootoosis, who voiced Kekata the medicine man, acted as Chief Powhatan in Pocahontas: The Legend, which was released the same year as this film. Christian Bale, who voiced Thomas, would ten years later portray John Rolfe in The New World. Irene Bedard, who was the speaking voice of Pocahontas, portrayed Pocahontas' mother in a flashback sequence also in The New World.

Soundtrack

Release and response

The film was a box-office success, earning $141,579,773 in the United States and $346,079,773 worldwide.[2]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 56% based on reviews from 50 critics and reports a rating average of 6 out of 10.[3] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 58 based on 23 reviews.[4] The film was harshly criticized by Chief Roy Crazy Horse as historically inaccurate and offensive for glossing over more negative treatment of Pocahontas and her tribe by the English. He claims that Roy Disney refused the tribe's offers to help create a more culturally and historically accurate film.[5]

The musical score by Alan Menken, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz received two Academy Awards, including one for the song "Colors of the Wind".[6] The film's soundtrack was also successful, reaching number-one on the Billboard 200 during the week of July 22, 1995.[7] It ended up with a triple platinum certification.[8]

Awards

Ceremony Recipient Category Result
Academy Awards "Colors of the Wind" Best Original Song Won
Alan Menken (Composer)
Stephen Schwartz (Lyricist)
Best Original Music Score Won
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Won
Nik Ranieri (Supervising Animator for "Meeko") Individual Achievement for Animation Won
Chris Buck (Supervising Animator for "Grandmother Willow") Nominated
David Pruiksma (Supervising Animator for "Flit") Nominated
Alan Menken (Composer)
Stephen Schwartz (Lyricist)
Best Individual Achievement for Music in the Field of Animation Won
Michael Giamo (Art Director) Best Individual Achievement for Production Design in Animation Won
Rasoul Azadani (Layout Artistic Supervisor) Nominated
Artios Awards Best Casting for Animated Voiceover Brian Chavanne
Ruth Lambert
Won
ASCAP Awards Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures "Colors of the Wind" Won
Top Box Office Films Won
BMI Film Music Awards Alan Menken (Composer) Won
Environmental Media Awards Best Feature Film Won
Golden Globe Awards "Colors of the Wind" Best Original Song Won
Alan Menken (Composer) Best Original Score Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing - Music Animation Won
Grammy Awards Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media "Colors of the Wind" Won
Young Artist Awards Best Family Feature - Musical or Comedy Nominated
American Film Institute Lists
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
    • Colors of the Wind - Nominated[9]
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Animated Film[10]

Home video release

Pocahontas was released on VHS in 1996 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. February 20, 1996 prototype copies of the VHS release used the 1989 Walt Disney Classics logo, while copies produced from February 28 onwards used the standard Masterpiece logo.

The film first appeared on DVD in 2000 as part of the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection; Pocahontas II was released on DVD at the same time. In 2005, a 10th Anniversary 2-disc Special Edition DVD set was released, which featured a new extended cut of the film (adding two performances of "If I Never Knew You") and numerous bonus features.

Video game

Cover of the Sega Genesis video game.

A video game based on the movie with the same title, Pocahontas, was released on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive on January 1, 1996. The Sega title was developed by Funcom on contract with Disney. It was followed by a later release for the Game Boy and PlayStation on June 10, 1996, nearly a year after the film's premiere. A Super NES version of the game was under development around the same time as the Genesis version, but was canceled due to development being too far behind to coincide with the Genesis release.[11]

In the game, the player plays as Pocahontas and Meeko, switching between the two frequently to overcome various obstacles, with the help of NPC Flit. Along the way, as Pocahontas, the player gains various new abilities from various animal spirits by helping them. The game, like most film-based games, follows the plot of the movie, but with many variations in situations and events.

References

External links


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