Picks for Popcorn: Pocahontas


WARNING! Before proceeding any further on this post, please note that it contains recklessly speckled spoilers, so this post is labeled with a “SPOILER ALERT” seal. Proceed with known caution. And if we spoiled the movie for you, we are 0% responsible.

Hey guys it’s Sam, back with a review about not books, or games, but movies! If you’ve seen that I haven’t been releasing much movie reviews lately, raise your hand. ************* I bet everyone in the room just raised their hands. Anyway, I’m going to review a Disney classic that I’m lucky I got off of my “movies I’m embarrassed I haven’t seen yet” list. Why was the 20th century just that one collection of 100 years to start whipping up Disney classics? Snow White, Pinocchio, the list is just too big to name! Could this be a pick worth your popcorn? Let’s find out. Is it Beauty and the Beast? Nope. Peter Pan? No, not that classic. Cinderella? That’s just gross. Who couldn’t have guessed Pocahontas?

“If you kill him, you’ll have to kill me, too.”

- Pocahontas stands between her father and her true love.

Pocahontas was that super-old movie that became the first Disney movie to star a real historical character, Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, as well as the thirty-third Walt Disney Animated Classic. This movie was a 1995 flick that actually mixed true olden facts with humor, romance, and even sorrow. But hey—history was full of hard times. This movie was about indeed Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas who has been sentenced to marriage with the “extremely serious” Kocoum. She then finds love for the Englishman John Smith soon after he saves a young man’s life from a watery grave, who turns out to be from the people the Indians plan to attack. So it’s sort of like a Gnomeo and Juliet story. Or Alpha and Omega. This love gets accompanied by the hilarious acts of Percy the dog, Meeko the raccoon, and Flit the hummingbird. Seriously. My hats go off to these Three Stooges.

It’s a guilty pleasure kind of movie, since things slow down a bit throughout the movie. People break into song at unnecessary times without warning, the scene where Pocahontas talks with Grandmother “Tree Monster” Willow drags by unnecessarily, etc. etc. etc. Make sense? But still, it does teach you about Pocahontas, John Smith, and just how funny a menagerie of three completely different animals can make me laugh my shoes off. Pocahontas is pretty much a 81-minute social studies lesson. And what’s better? A soundtrack’s worth of amazing music, almost 30 tracks? Don’t mind if I do, folks!

 2 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  Some facts may be tattered over time and time again, but at least the movie gives a clear image of Pocahontas and John Smith, although they really did not find each other…it’s what was told in my social studies book. Historically inaccurate, yes. A clear telling of different stories, yes.

 2 out of 5 – Positive messages – Pocahontas has divine messages that educate John about the use of the word “savage”, assuming that Pocahontas’s people live simply for a lack of sophistication, when they really use communication in far more advance that John’s colleagues. The youngest of viewers might be confused with messages like, “A man is not a man unless he knows how to shoot.”

2 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Pocahontas is considered a headstrong daughter to her father, Chief Powhatan. He takes her words very seriously upon decisions, and the British leadership is not as kind or thoughtful.

3 out of 5 – Ease of view – Pocahontas is a good movie that suffers bland tempo decrease from time to time, with a hugely boring outcome once the credits roll. Good award-winning music? Yes. Romantically heartbreaking? Yes. All flash, no substance? Yessiree!

3 1/4 out of 5 – Violence – Two Native Americans get shot, one actually killed. Pocahontas’s father nearly kills John at the edge of a cliff if it hadn’t been for his daughter’s quick rescue. Much of the plot is about two warring sides: the British and the Indian natives. Expect to see sharpened and brandished knives, swords, muskets, and shootouts. There is one perilous scene with a ship on a stormy ocean where a man almost drowns. A song sang by the British ranting against savages, using phrases like “Their skin’s a hellish red”, “Dirty shrieking devils”, and “Killers at the core” will probably terrify younger audiences, and even audiences like me.

 2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Pocahontas and John share the main love of the movie, always taking time to look into each other’s eyes. The two even share passionate but steamy make-outs…twice! Another mature aspect is that the Pocahontas-John pair is quickly intimate with their body language.

1 out of 5 - Language – Lots of mean phrases like “dirty savages” and “filthy heathens” that are as mean as they get. The phrase “hellish” appears in one of the verses of “Savages” (“their skin’s a hellish red”), which somewhat says that H-E-double hockey sticks is a bad word.

3 1/2 out of 5 – Product Placement – Pocahontas is now the seventh-announced Disney Princess, whose brand reaches tall and wide. Expect to see branding on consumer’s merch, food, books, sites, and other media.

1 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – A ship scene features men filling their mugs with uncorked wine from a keg.

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Smarts: B- (3 points)

See-Again Ratio: B+ (3.5 points)

Fun: B+ (3.5 points)

Entertainment: A- (4 points)

Humor: A (4 points)

Style: A- (3.5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 21.5 out of 30 (ouch?), 3 stars out of 5, 70% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: It’s a beautiful story followed by impressive voice acting and realistic emotion, and it deserves its right as a Walt Disney Animated Classic, but Pocahontas takes way too long to progress from sequence to sequence, and that’s when the blandness begins to pour in…

RENT, BUY, OR SKIP?: Rent it. Please. If you’re probably 5 years old, you could skip this off the griddle. If you’re mature enough to maintain this violence, buy it for your own good. It’s a bit of everything, with different opinions.

PRICE: If you’re really willing to take the hit, Amazon sells the tenth-anniversary edition for an astounding 31 dollars. But hey—at least I didn’t fork over that huge $79 price. Some Instant Click method Amazon has sells the regular edition for a quick $15. The golden classic collection sells for 83 freaking dollars! But its used price of $30 doesn’t really improve things much. Blockbuster sells it for a weekly rental of $5.00. Pick your price and stay with it.

IS THIS A PICK WORTH YOUR POPCORN?: That’s the question you may have all been dying to hear the answer of. My answer is sorta, because it’s a great movie and all, but it’s terribly slow and bland, is its problem. Definitely a yes to those three animals, however.

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Well, that’s all for a Monday of Sammwak-ness! Come back next Monday for another sweet-as-sugar post here on Sammwak! And come back the Monday after that for our “2nd” annual Christmas special! Don’t miss it, or I’ll miss you when we celebrate hardcore!

Your friend,

Sam

p.s. Here’s our question of the day: These creepy things called Animorphs invented by a crazy lady from right here in Michigan named K.A. Applegate are now my most feared behemoths. What scares you the most? Respond in your comment below!