Pocahontas – 10th Anniversary Edition

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Rating: G

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

Special Features:
Commentary by producer James Pentecost, directors Eric Goldberg & Mike Gabriel

Original Edition of the Film

10th Anniversary Edition Includes the song “If I Never Knew You”, with all-new animation

“Follow your Heart” & “Art Project” Set-Top Games

Music video

Sing-Along Songs

“The Making of Pocahontas” featurette

Production: Early Presentation Reels, Storyboards, Production Progression

Nine Deleted Scenes

“The Music of Pocahontas”

The Release: The Premiere, Trailers, Multi-Language Reel, Publicity Gallery

The Design Galleries

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.66:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
THX Certified
French and Spanish Language Tracks
Running Time: 84 Minutes

Synopsis:
Pocahontas was originally released in 1995. The following is from the DVD cover:

“All the music, adventure, and colorful fun of Disney’s Pocahontas come to life like never before in the 10th Anniversary Edition 2-Disc Set. Bursting with all the “Colors Of The Wind,” Pocahontas tells the story of a free-spirited girl who wonders what adventures await “Just Around The Riverbend.” Pocahontas — along with her playful pals Meeko and Flit — relies on the guidance of her loving and wise Grandmother Willow when English settlers arrive on the shores of their village. Her chance meeting with the courageous Captain John Smith leads to a beautiful friendship that bridges the gap between two cultures, and changes history. Now fully restored, Pocahontas includes the song “If I Never Knew You,” and never-before-seen animation seamlessly integrated into the original film. This 2-Disc 10th Anniversary Edition is loaded with spectacular bonus features, all-new games, and soaring Academy Award®-winning music (1995 Best Original Musical Score, Best Original Song, “Colors Of The Wind”). Disney’s Pocahontas is a fun-filled adventure your whole family will enjoy.”

Pocahontas is rated G.

The Movie:
Since this film has already been out 10 years, chances are you’ve probably already seen it. And if you’ve already seen it, then you already know if it’s worth buying or not. But if you haven’t seen it, then here are a few reasons why you may want to check it out.

First of all, it has a great soundtrack by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Most of the musical numbers are rousing pieces that will stay with you long after the film is over. “Colors of the Wind” is a stirring song that uses all sorts of interesting imagery to describe nature and man’s relationship with it. “Just Around The Riverbend” is an upbeat song that is your standard moment where a Disney character longs for something bigger in life. “Steady As The Beating Drum” is a great Native American inspired piece while “Mine, Mine, Mine” is an amusing song depicting the greed of the treasure hunters. If you liked any of Menken’s work in the other Disney films, then you’ll enjoy this.

Pocahontas also features a unique voice cast. You have Mel Gibson providing the voice of John Smith along with David Ogden Stiers doing double duty as Governor Ratcliffe and his servant Wiggins. Linda Hunt also has a minor role as Grandmother Willow. Also look for comedian Billy Connolly as Ben. The Native Americans in the film are also well voiced. Irene Bedard plays Pocahontas while Russell Means portrays her father Powhatan. All in all it’s a solid voice cast.

While the animation doesn’t particularly break any new ground, it is stylistically quite impressive. The backgrounds for the New World are quite beautiful and the designs for Pocahontas herself lean more towards realism than your typical Disney cartoon.

If you’ve already seen Pocahontas, then you’ll be interested to hear that a previously deleted song has been restored for this 10th Anniversary Edition. “If I Never Knew You” takes place when John Smith is captured by the Indians and Pocahontas comes to visit him. They sing this duet (which is reprised in the credits by Jon Secada and another singer). In the film Mel Gibson proves that he can really sing and it ends up being quite a beautiful tune. Too bad it was cut from the film.

If you’re a Disney animation fan or if you want to entertain some kids for a few hours, then this is one DVD you’ll definitely want to add to your collection. While Pocahontas is by no means the best Disney film, it is a decent effort. It has a little something for adults and children alike.

The Extras:
Like most of the Disney DVDs, this one is jam packed with bonus features. Here are some of the highlights:

Commentary by producer James Pentecost, directors Eric Goldberg & Mike Gabriel – This is your standard commentary with the creators discussing how the film compares with real history, the design choices, who is responsible for little touches here and there, and more. It’s a little dry, but still informative.

“Follow Your Heart” & “Art Project” Set-Top Games – For the art project “Lefty and Righty” show children how to make either drum or a dreamcatcher.

Music video – There are a couple of music videos included on the DVD. Vanessa Williams sings “Colors of the Wind” while Jon Secada sings “If I Never Knew You”. The second one is a little eerie because there are numerous shots of the still standing World Trade Center in the footage.

Sing-Along Songs – This is standard fare on the Disney DVDs now. You can sing along with a few of the musical selections from the film. Words appear at the bottom of the screen.

“The Making of Pocahontas” featurette – Irene Bedard hosts this vintage “making of” special. They talk about the real Pocahontas, the character designs, the voice casting, and more.

Production: Early Presentation Reels, Storyboards, Production Progression – This section has a few features on the production. The early presentation reel shows bits of artwork spliced together with music which was used to show fellow Disney employees what they were up to with the movie. Then the storyboards show certain sequences before they were completed. The Production Progression shows a certain scene from early storyboards all the way up to completed animation.

Nine Deleted Scenes – All of these deleted scenes are in rough format, but some of them surprisingly feature Mel Gibson and the other voices from the final film. There’s an extended sequence on the ship from the opening scenes. There’s also a scene of the entire Indiana village celebrating Pocahontas’ impending wedding. Another scene shows more clowning with the dog and Ratcliffe.

“The Music of Pocahontas” – This section details the writing of some of the songs as well as the inclusion of “If I Never Knew You” for this Special Edition DVD.

The Release: The Premiere, Trailers, Multi-Language Reel, Publicity Gallery – This section shows some of the interesting promotions that went with the opening of the film. There’s a long feature showing the premiere in Central Park on some massive outdoor screens. The art gallery shows some artwork from Harper’s Bazaar showing Pocahontas wearing modern fashions. You also have your standard multi-language demonstration from the film.

The Design Galleries – This section has a short feature on each of the characters. There’s a really funny bit for Pocahontas where Glen Keane shows how the character was designed. Another section shows a deleted turkey character and some early animation for him where he and the dog talked.

The Bottom Line:
Pocahontas will make a great addition to the collections of Disney animation fans and children alike. Fans of the movie should also be glad to see the song “If I Never Knew You” seamlessly added back into the picture.

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