Animation Addicts Podcast, Disney, Podcasts

Animation Addicts Podcast #168: ‘Pocahontas’ – It’s the Magical Leaves

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We finally finished reviewing the Disney Renaissance! Morgan and Chelsea take on Walt Disney Feature Animation’s Pocahontas!

Highlights

  • Main discussion: Pocahontas (1995)
  • It wasn’t Lion King.
  • “How do we win another Academy Award for Best Picture?”
  • “Choose the smoothest course.”
  • Let’s talk Kocoum.
  • #HairGoals
  • Glen Keane needs to draw “the most idealized and finest woman ever made.”
  • Making friends with raccoons. Not smart.
  • The Disney Playlist: What songs from this movie will you always/never skip?
  • A modern American attitude started with John Smith.
  • That really is an impressive wind.
  • Historical accuracy
  • We rate it!
  • Voicemails: Alex, Rose, Bethany, & Sol
  • Don’t forget to use the hashtags #AnimationAddicts and #AnimationAddicts168 when talking about this episode on Twitter!

Runtime: 01:26:17, 63.2 MB

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About Chelsea Robson

Chelsea Robson, Co-host of the Animation Addicts Podcast, studied studio engineering and is a singer/songwriter and is know as "The World Traveler of the Podcast." She speaks fluent Portuguese, loves being outdoors, hiking small mountains, riding horses, and talking about human nature.
  • Jordan Briskin

    I grew up with POCAHONTAS, and even though I’ve come to be frustrated with how the story was handled, and the way that the Powhatan Nation was portrayed, it remains of my favorite Disney Animated Classics; I’d go so far as to rate it 3.75/5.

    On the subject of the depiction of First Americans, I feel that you guys could have stood to cover that a little more in the podcast. For my money, I think that, although it’s infinitely better than the way Indigenous people were treated in previous efforts (PETER PAN leaps to mind), there are still some serious problems with it. For one thing, the Powhatan people seem to exemplify the racist notion of the so-called “innocents in Eden,” having had no previous contact with Europeans at all, when in reality, it’s possible that they may have interacted with the settlers of the Roanoke Colony. For another, the basic costuming of the characters seems a little too generic, and not specific to the Eastern Woodlands peoples. Compare Pocahontas’ costume in the film, for example, to this more historically (and culturally) accurate design that I found on DeviantArt: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6fafef0e399e3b28d52414e0551383ee045c7771032b334ee525a69c07baafcc.jpg

    And finally, I think that reviewer Paul Astell hits the nail right on the head in his review of the film for his “Feeling Animated Blog” (you can view it here: https://feelinganimatedblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/31/film-review-pocahontas-1995/), when he says, “[U]nless you’re dealing specifically in myths and legends, Native Americans themselves are not “magical.” While harmony with nature and the seasons is a big part of most Native American cultures, the filmmakers take this concept to ludicrous lengths by presenting them almost as deities, able to do any number of foolhardy things (like jumping off hundred-foot cliffs and stealing bear cubs from their mothers) with no consequences whatsoever.” In trying to create an empowering portrayal of the First Nations, they wound up mythologizing them, by mistake.

    All in all, POCAHONTAS had good intentions, and is to be commended for that, but ultimately, it could have been a whole lot better…

    • racy1285

      If Disney was historically accurate with the costume the movie would have been rated R. The costume is the least of the Films problems.

  • Eli Sanza

    Pocahontas was the least interesting of all the Disney Renaissance films. Characters were all weak. Seriously can’t think of a single character I really liked. It was watchable enough not to be terrible (So are most animated Disney films) and the music was the best part of the movie, so that helped, but it was extremely average, especially when compared to Mermaid, Beast, Aladdin and Lion King.

  • Eli Sanza

    You guys are absolutely right. The reason why Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame don’t work as well as the others is because they didn’t have a clear enough vision for what kind of movies they wanted to be. I’m with Morgan on the gargoyles.

  • Chelsea Warner

    I was obsessed with Flit when this movie first came out. I have a Christmas ornament of him that is still hanging on the wall in my bedroom. Other than that I don’t really remember being into this movie that much as a kid. I think it’s the worst Disney movie of the ‘90’s. It wasn’t so much bad as it was bland and uninteresting.

  • Ellie

    I know it’s fiction, but the media has the power to shape how real people and events are perceived in the real world. The real John Smith was a murderous perverted creep who terrorized Pocahontas’ tribe. Pocahontas hated the real John Smith. I know it isn’t the 90s anymore, but Disney continues to use Pocahontas’ character to sell toys today. (Relevant video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqMcrfHRYDQ) Also P. T. Barnum purchased and exhibited of a blind and almost completely paralyzed slave woman, worked her for 10 to 12 hours a day, hosted a live autopsy of her body in a New York Saloon and after her death. That’s why people were upset, it would be like making a musical about Anne Frank’s tragedy or some crap.

  • Sol Carlos

    yes chelsea! Russel Crowe was a terrible Javert!

  • Guys, I’ve gotta say… I enjoy the sequel way more than the original. Dead serious.

  • Like Chelsea I remember liking this film when it came out but thinking, “Not as good as Lion King”. The Disney Adventures magazine still had a pretty sweet cover story about the movie! And like Morgan, I also have watched episodes of “The Crown” (and “Turn: Washington’s Spies) and accept that there will be “artistic liberties” when you’re recreating parts of history.The vibrant colors make it one of the most beautiful Disney movies to me and the soundtrack is beautiful. But like others, the film feels “preachy” at times and basing it on a sensitive part of American history that people aren’t proud of doesn’t help either. For better or for worse, Disney strayed from the fairy-tale formula and the Disney Renaissance started to putter downwards after “The Lion King”.

    Maybe you two can answer this question for your next Nerdy Couch Discussion: why do you think “Pocahontas” gets more criticism for not being historically accurate while I don’t hear much backlash about “Anastasia”? I have two suggestions: One, “Pocahontas” is based on a American-Western saga so the facts hit closer to home as opposed to the Russian revolution. Two, “Anastasia” feels more like a fairy tale with Rasputin’s magic constantly interfering with Anastasia’s quest. “Pocahontas” looks more realistic with a bit of tree/nature magic thrown in so we expected it to take itself more seriously. “Anastasia” has that advantage where audiences can accept from the start that it’s a fictional film loosely inspired by real-life events.