First off, I’d like to thank Chip for letting me review this one. ‘Pocahontas’ has always had a super special place in my heart. When I was 3 1/2 my parents and I won a trip to New York City for the release of the film. I’ve loved the film pretty much my entire life. Having the chance to watch it remastered in Blu-Ray was so exciting for me and I’m glad I had the opportunity.
If you haven’t seen ‘Pocahontas’ in a long time, here’s a (very quick) refresher: The film tells the story of free-spirited Native American Pocahontas and her tribe’s encounter with settlers from England. Pocahontas falls for white-skinned settler Captain John Smith, helping the English and Native Americans set aside their differences.
I had actually never seen ‘Pocahontas II’ until I got to review the films. I was a little nervous watching it since I hadn’t heard the best things about it, but it actually wasn’t as awful as I was told. It wasn’t nearly as good as the original film, but it wasn’t completely un-watchable.
In ‘Pocahontas II’, Pocahontas journeys to London with John Rolfe on behalf of the King. There, she tries to create peace between the Native Americans and the new English civilization of Jamestown in America, but Governor Ratcliffe interferes.
The original film on Blu-Ray — gorgeous. I love the way animation looks on Blu-Ray and this is no exception. The sound is crisp and the movie is just as amazing as I remember it as a child. The bonus features for the film were a nice addition but I didn’t spend too much time with them. I was more concerned with moving onto the next film. The quality of ‘Pocahontas II’ isn’t amazing, since it was released by Disney Toon Studios, but it’s not completely awful. That being said, I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase this film (and I’m sure many others wouldn’t either), so it makes sense that it’s bundled with the original ‘Pocahontas’.
I was really excited to get to explore the special features that Disney brought to ‘Pocahontas’. Their track record with many of the animated features is pretty great across the board, and I’m happy to say that they didn’t skimp here. There is really interesting commentary track, featuring the directors of the film Eric Goldberg and Mike Gabriel, and producer James Pentecost. It’s standard, but I learned quite a few things I didn’t know, which I can’t complain about it. It’s a very fun listen, and fans will very much enjoy it. The best feature on the disc though is ‘Drawing Inspiration: The Lost Story of Hiawatha’. This feature has Eric Goldberg narrating the original storyboards of the scrapped Walt Disney animated Hiawatha film. It’s an incredible behind the scenes look that shows a beautiful behind the scenes look at a history that almost was. As a Disney geek, there is nothing more amazing than getting to see something like this, and this feature, while only about twelve minutes long, is just incredible. To see a lost piece of Disney history brought to life, in a new way of sorts, is a truly surreal experience. There is also fifteen minutes of deleted scenes, plus another deleted song ‘If I Never Knew You’, for about twenty minutes altogether of deleted content from the film. The song is good, and so are many of the scenes, but they don’t add too much to the overall story, and I could see why they were taken out. And of course, if you have internet, you can go into the virtual vault which lets you access even more special features, many from previous versions of the movie that have been released, that weren’t brought over to this disc. While I wish Disney would have ported them over, I’m glad I can access them at all, and the virtual vault is perfect for that.
Regardless of how you feel about ‘Pocahontas II’ it’s definitely worth picking up the Blu-Ray for the original film alone. This classic needs to be in your Blu-Ray collection!
Jessica lives in Orange County and practically lives at Disneyland when she isn’t at work or school. Her favorite princess is Belle and loves drinking “apple drank” (AKA Red’s Apple Freeze) in CarsLand.
- Pocahontas and Pocahontas II Arrive on Blu-Ray August 21! (chipandco.com)
- Amazon and BestBuy.com: $10 off 2 Select Disney Blu-Rays (couponingtodisney.com)