What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the dreamy, music-laden love-story might be engaging to certain fans of the mid-90's Disney heroine, but the violence is something for parents to keep an eye out for. Furthermore, the historical inaccuracy might confuse viewers who think that the historical figure Pocahontas fell in love with John Smith. She did not: she was a 10-year old child when John Smith's ship landed.
What's the story?
Disney's animated POCAHONTAS centers on the titular daughter of Algonquin chief Powhatan, who isn't happy with her upcoming arranged marriage to Kocoum. British settlers arrive in the area, and Pocahontas (voiced by Irene Bedard) falls for John Smith (Mel Gibson). Meanwhile, greedy Governor Ratcliffe (David Ogden Stiers) is certain the Native Americans have access to gold riches and is determined to get his hands on the treasure. Pocahontas and John Smith meet in secret, and when they're discovered it creates a dangerous tension between the Europeans and the Algonquians. The only hope for preventing war lies with Smith and Pocahontas.
Is it any good?
Given a choice, children will lean toward The Lion King's menagerie of cute talking animals before embracing this history-based tale from Disney, but that doesn't mean you should pass it up. Sensing a hard sell, the Disney folks dropped in a couple of merchandising lures, a frisky raccoon, and a scene-stealing hummingbird who contribute nothing of import to the story, but succeed in livening up what might otherwise have been a fairly somber tale.
This is a movie less concerned with booing the bad guys as it is with cheering on the heroes. The villain isn't a single entity; Governor Ratcliffe embodies the greed, ignorance, and hostility that still haunts our world four hundred years later. Children will sense that, and learn that peace and tolerance are goals well worth striving for.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the film's historical inaccuracies. For example, the Union Jack hadn't yet been adopted in the early seventeenth century. Do such details bother you?