[Review • DVD/Blu-ray] POCAHONTAS & POCAHONTAS II
Pocahontas follows a British ship coming to the new world with the adventurous Captain John Smith. Governor Ratcliffe (the bad guy) goes on the assumption that he will find gold in the New World. What they find is Pocahontas and her father’s tribe. Pocahontas is a free-spirit whose side-kicks are Meeko, an ever-hungry raccoon and Flit, the straight-laced hummingbird. She must choose between protecting her tribe and love as the British come into conflict with the tribe.
The story of Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World happens a year or so after the characters first met. After John Smith returns to England and is rumored to be dead, Pocahontas is left unsure of where life will take her. A new character, John Rolfe is introduced and he takes Pocahontas back to England to meet King James as a representative of her people.
Pocahontas, the 1995 Disney animation film, is impressive with the clarity that Blu-Ray offers. It was released from the Disney vault in a combo-pack with Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. The first film offers the classic Disney animation style with the wonderful music and lyrics of Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Pocahontas won an Oscar for Best Original Song with “Colors of the Wind” and the other memorable songs all add to the magic of the film. The film is funny but also has the touching moments that the audience expects from a Disney film.
A few notable actors are the voices of characters in Pocahontas. Irene Bedard voices Pocahontas with Judy Kuhn as the singing voice. John Smith is voiced by Mel Gibson. Surprisingly, before he was Batman, Christian Bale voiced one of the characters. Bale is the voice of Thomas, the young naive man with bad aim. Billy Connolly also voices a fellow explorer in the film.
The story of Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World is entertaining. Governor Ratcliffe is back as the bad guy responsible for trying to make Pocahontas look uncivilised and general bad-guy debauchery. Flit, Meeko and Percy have larger roles as the comedic relief with physical comedy.
Disney seems to reign supreme in making straight to video releases for sequels of their popular films. These sequels feature smaller budgets; characters are not necessarily voiced by the original actors and lesser-known songs. Pocahontas II is no exception. Without the Oscar-winning duo of Menken and Schwartz behind the music, it falls a little flat.
I feel like many will purchase this Blu-Ray more for the original than the sequel just in terms of popularity. Though many will also probably appreciate the original Pocahontas more, I looked at it more like a film with the added bonus feature of the lesser-known sequel: not a bad deal.
The combo pack comes with a few bonus features; including a deleted song from the original film and a short documentary on the music.