Recently released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is Disney’s Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to the New World.

Pocahontas originally released 17 years ago theatrically and was Disney’s 33rd feature length animated film.  Watching it on Blu-ray was like seeing it all over again for the first time.  I’ll admit that when I watched it, it was difficult at first accepting that Pocahontas learned to speak English so quickly, but being that this is an animated feature they had to do something there, otherwise it would be about 6 hours long and no kid (and most adults) would sit through that.

There’s been many versions over the years of Pocahontas’s story, for this one, Disney chose to focus mostly on the romance between John Smith and Pocahontas.  There’s plenty of comic relief from Meeko, Flit and Percy and the film looks absolutely stunning in HD.  This is most evident by the animators good use of color throughout the movie. Even using color to set the mood of of scene (like when Kocoum discovered Smith and Pocahontas kissing).

The “Savages” song is very reminiscent of the musical number “Kill the beast” from Beauty and the Beast, but this shouldn’t be too surprising given that Alan Menken was half of the musical team involved in both of these songs.

As many people have ripped apart this film for its historical inaccuracies, Pocahontas did save Smith from execution from Chief Powhatan just as history tells us. However, Kocoum is killed and Disney’s story never has the two of them married.  Although, watching the deleted scenes in the bonus features seems to hint that Pocahontas’s marriage to Kocoum was originally planned for the film but got cut.

There’s some real stand out voice acting from Mel Gibson as John Smith.  All in all, a very enjoyable, musical, colorful film.

Talent/Cast:

Irene Bedard – Pocahontas (voice)
Judy Kuhn – Pocahontas (singing voice)
Mel Gibson – John Smith (voice)
David Ogden Stiers – Governor Ratcliffe / Wiggins (voice)
John Kassir – Meeko (voice)
Russell Means – Powhatan (voice)
Christian Bale – Thomas (voice)
Linda Hunt – Grandmother Willow (voice)
Danny Mann – Percy (voice)
Billy Connolly – Ben (voice)
Joe Baker – Lon (voice)
Frank Welker – Flit (voice)
Michelle St. John – Nakoma (voice)
James Apaumut Fall – Kocoum (voice)
Gordon Tootoosis – Kekata (voice)

Rated: G
Run Time: 81 minutes

Pocahontas II: Journey to the New World was released three years after the original Pocahontas,  during Disney’s direct-to-video sequel frenzy.  Sadly, I feel it’s only on this release so Disney can remind us not to forget about some of these.

There’s no Disney logo on the intro before this one. Hit “play” and it just starts. While this may seem a bit odd, if you look at the Blu-ray’s main menu all scenes and music are from the original Pocahontas film. I think we can tell where the real focus on this release is!

We open to the end of John Smith (in London) and get our introduction to John Rolfe (who was Pocahontas’s real-life 2nd husband after Kocoum).

This story focuses mainly on Pocahontas’s eventual journey to London, Ratcliffe setting her up for failure (leading to his own demise) and the romance between Pocahontas and John Rolfe.  I won’t go too much into detail on plot or story on this one, but suffice it to say, it’s there if you want to watch it for yourself.

Talent/Cast:

Irene Bedard – Pocahontas (voice)
Jim Cummings – King James (voice)
Donal Gibson – John Smith (voice)
Linda Hunt – Grandmother Willow (voice)
Russell Means – Powhatan (voice)
David Ogden Stiers – Ratcliffe (voice)
Jean Stapleton – Mrs. Jenkins (voice)
Billy Zane – John Rolfe (voice)

Rated:
(no rating)
Run Time: 73 minutes
Blu-ray Bonus features:

  • Drawing Inspiration: The Lost Story of Hiawatha – During the 1940’s, Walt Disney and his team were developing a full-length animated feature called “Hiawatha.” During the early stages of development for “Pocahontas,” the directors found the “Hiawatha” storyboards and were amazed at what they saw. It directly influenced their development of “Pocahontas.” Now, for the first time ever, the full story of Walt Disney’s “Hiawatha” will be presented by “Pocahontas” co-director Eric Goldberg and animation historian Charles Solomon.
  • Deleted Song: “If I Never Knew You” – Pocahontas co-director Eric Goldberg introduces this fully animated deleted song, now in hi def. Optional audio commentary with co-directors Eric Goldberg & Mike Gabriel and producer James Pentecost.
  • The Music of Pocahontas
  • “Little Hiawatha” Cartoon Short
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “Pocahontas” Audio Commentary – with co-directors Eric Goldberg, Mike Gabriel and producer James Pentecost
  • Virtual Vault- a collection of past bonus features, offered via online streaming