|Is this... is this what joy feels like?|
I know! I know!!!! Pocahontas is one of the most widely criticized Disney movies, hell, maybe THE most widely criticized Disney movie. And I think that Pocahontas is one of the least liked Disney princesses - half the time she doesn't even make it into pictures of the main cast.
|"Sorry bitch, this tea party's full!"|
Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World is interesting because I think Disney might have made it solely to try to silence their critics. If that was the case, it didn't work: all Disney sequels have ever done is make the company look bad. But that might be undeserved in this one instance. This is a solid movie with good writing and construction. Its only downside is some not-so-stellar animation, but there's nothing the makers of this movie could do about that.
Much like its predecessor, there's a few interesting tidbits surrounding the making of Pocahontas II. While Mel Gibson didn't reprise his goal as John Smith's voice, his younger brother Donal Gibson did. Mmkay? Then there's the historical stuff. In the movie, Ratcliffe is restored to his former glory upon to return to England, and convinces the King that there is really for sure this time gold in America. He kills John Smith, and the Queen forces her husband to send an envoy to America. John Rolfe shows up and takes Pocahontas back with him because someone Pocahontas will be able to prove whether or not there's gold in her country.
In real life, Pocahontas did travel to England in that year, but she was called Rebecca by then: she'd been baptized a Christian, married John Rolfe, and had a son with him. It's pretty evident from letters that John Rolfe was in love with Pocahontas, but there's no telling whether or not Pocahontas herself saw it as a political alliance. By the time Pocahontas reached England Ratcliffe had been dead for three years. She did see John Smith while she was there, but it wasn't a happy reunion; Pocahontas felt betrayed by Smith because he wouldn't let her call him father... I don't know guys, history is weird.
On to the movie!
Two seconds in and you can tell this is not the John Smith of the first movie. The old John Smith… well, I guess he had a sense of humor? He laughed at things occasionally? This one punts goons off balconies and says things like, "Thanks for dropping by!" He's kind of annoying, which is probably intentional. Anyway, Ratcliffe shows up on the roof with him after the fight (on the roof... do you remember what this guy looks like? How did he get up there?) and oh no John Smith is clearly dead forever.
Back in Cannibal City, Amurrica, a ship is arriving.
|Good thing she always happens to be standing there|
when ships come in, right?
|WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE|
|Why do you look scared?|
|Yes good plan RIDE your horse off the ship.|
Rolfe: I was trying to help!
Pocahontas: I didn't ask for your help!
Rolfe: You didn't say thank you either. Whatever happened to manners and etiquette?
Pocahontas: Well, since you are new here, I don't expect you to have them yet.
Yessssss I love it (although I'm amused that his initial reaction isn't OMG YOU ARE BROWN). Anyway, the relationship between John Rolfe and Pocahontas is really what's so fantastic about this movie, for two reasons:
A) John Rolfe is the first and really only atypical hero that comes as a matched set with a Disney princess. He's a stylish courtier concerned with manners and etiquette, not a warrior.
|Look at that adorable pout.|
One of the Indians protests any involvement with the white man: "They only want our land! They mean to destroy us!" Since this is 100% true, I'm deeply amused at how Pocahontas is treated like a hero by the movie for chastising him.
Pocahontas decides to go to England after consulting her freaky tree demon that really does not fit with the tone of this movie. The tree says, "I told you to listen with your heart. Now it is time to listen to your heart," aka "Remember Ariel? TIME TO GET A MAN."
Another note: I really like that this movie continues her friendship from the first movie. Solid female friendships in kid's movies are vanishingly rare.
|Emotion! Ladies allowed to display emotion for each other!|
|This guy is my everything-spiration.|
|Now that is a man that doesn't even need the garters he so|
stylishly wears, am I right my friends?
|My but you're looking neat and clean, London.|
|Dun dun DUN.|
What does this call for? A MAKEOVER MONTAGE. But the fun part of this one is that the hero gets to take part, because what are his skills? Etiquette! In all honesty this is a pretty brilliant use of this trope.
|Pocahontas do not assault his eyes with your underthings|
|This movie really does have funny moments.|
|0 points for efficiency, but as ever, full marks for style.|
|This is Utta's face when they show up at the prison.|
Just so you know.
|"All this time you were alive... Why didn't you write to me?"|
Uhh, because you can't read English?
And then there's Utta.
Also Utta can run over exploding bridges because Utta is the man.
|In a love triangle between John Smith and John Rolfe, I|
Smith: "If she goes back there, they'll hang her!"
Rolfe: "Are you suggesting she turn her back on them?"
Smith: "Are you suggesting she die for them?"
Rolfe: "Well, she can't just sit and watch."
Smith: "She has no choice!"
Rolfe: "Of course she has a choice!"
And then of course Pocahontas goes running off. John Smith goes running after her, but...
Rolfe: "Let her go."
Smith: "You may not care about her safety..."
Rolfe: "Don't you DARE tell me I don't care about her!"
Which is exactly the point, of course. Rolfe cares about Pocahontas enough to respect her as a person. If she was a man, everyone would expect Pocahontas to be willing to die for her people. Why should he expect anything less of her?
|Utta can run with a dog on his head.|
|GUYS YOU WIN|
|"I'll just... be going."|
John Rolfe goes with Pocahontas, and Utta stays with John Rolfe's absent-minded housekeeper. Because the moral of this review is that Utta is perfect.