This Project Disney is all about Pocahontas. This time around there is no book to compare the movie to exactly. This movie is one I enjoy.. but don't love. The ones based on real life events aren't my favorite movies, plus the research on those are harder then just reading a book for it. So for this Project Disney I have looked through the internet, I did check out some books from the library for it but Pocahontas has different stories from different writers. In this Project Disney instead of really comparing book to movie, we look at historical accuracy. This movie of course brings up a lot of controversy especially with Native Americans. There is not a lot of first hand information about Pocahontas. A lot of information came from John Smith's accounts of the time A True Relation in 1607 and The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles in 1624. It is hard to take Smith's story though as fact because England was at war with the Powhatan when his texts were published.
|The real Pocahontas
There is one account of what John Smith looks like and it's not like the film at all. In real life Smith had a dark hair, a full beard, and 5'4. He was known for being thuggish, though he was known for having great communication skills to help deal with natives. The villain of the film is Captain John Ratcliff. Interesting that he was chosen for the villain since he really has nothing to do with the story. He was a member of the counsel to oversee Jamestown.
On to the adventures of getting to America. the English men do leave England in search of gold and riches. They are also sent to see what happened to the failed colony at Roanoke and they were told not to offend the natives. Disney of course changed this and makes it seem like the English were really there to just kill the natives. Historically Pocahontas does get married to Kocoum. Some historians even say the two had a child together.
Now the film covers the time spent between Pocahontas and John Smith. They hold hands and chit chat. He tells her he is there to help her people use their land better and she tells him all he is missing when he looks at the land. This is when historians start to disagree on history. All sources say though there was no romantic link between Pocahontas and Smith. Though people disagree when they met some saying they met when she saved him from being killed. In the movie Pocahontas and John tell each other that they are going to talk to their people and try to get them to calm down. During this time they kiss and one of the British (Thomas) shoots Kocoum and kills him. John gets blamed and the Powhatan decide to kill him. Historically Smith was already captured by them before he even meets Pocahontas. In the movie this is where the big battle scene happens and Pocahontas throws herself on John Smith and declares that she loves him.
|Pocahontas and John Smith meet
The scene where Smith is going to be killed is debated amount scholars. Some think it happened like Disney shows, while others think it was all for show.. a play type of ritual to add Smith to the tribe. Some say this didn't even happen at all. And now for some of the big differences in the film vs history. Smith was injured, but it is thought to have been by some gun powder in his pants that went off. So he heads back to England. There is no evidence that Pocahontas or her tribe even knew he left. Disney actually does give us a sad ending. Pocahontas and John Smith do not end up together. She stays with her people (Pocahontas II is a whole different movie and well totally TOTALLY incorrect).
Later in Pocahontas story (after the Disney movie time frame) she was captured and put on an English ship by Captain Argall. She was in captivity for a while during this time her name was changed to Rebecca and married and English colonist John Rolfe. Next up ... there are many point of views about what happened to Pocahontas at this time. Some say that Pocahontas was happy and treated well. She even converted to Christianity. Some say she was raped and became pregnant and that is why she married Rolfe to cover it up. We do know for a fact that Pocahontas left for England and was shown around as a savage that could be made pretty. It would get more investments into the Virginia colonies. Pocahontas died on her return to Virginia though here again it is disagreed upon how she died. Some say poison, some say the London smoke, she was buried in England though her bones are now lost.
I hadn't seen this move for a while so I had a lot of fun re-watching it. One thing that has always stood out to me with this movie is the music. Such beautiful songs. There is a song that was not included in the original version called If I Never Knew You (you do hear it during the credits). You hear little bits of the harmony at the end of the movie but don't actually see it until the 10th anniversary release. I think this song should've been included in the original and am surprised they took it out. Of course the song Colors of the Wing is fabulous. I also find the animation to be amazing. The leaves and colors of the wind.
Here is the Annie Leibovitz Pocahontas picture. I always like to post these in my Project Disney when there is one that she has taken. I would like to say that I think that deer is Bambi. LOL! I will say though that I wish she would've had a Native American girl, though maybe Biel has some Indian in her that I don't know about.
This was another long Project Disney and I hope you stuck around for all the drama. There is so much more to this story and I didn't want to type it all up here since this got long enough. If you have time and are interested looking into Pocahontas real life you should since it is quite fascinating. Do you know any stories about Pocahontas that is different then what I wrote here? Let us know! Be sure to check out my other Project Disney:
The Great Mouse Detective
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Princess and the Frog
Beauty and the Beast
Lady and the Tramp
Alice in Wonderland
The Rescuers Down Under
Oliver and Company
The Little Mermaid
The Jungle Book
The Emperor's New Groove
The Sword in the Stone
The Lion King
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
The Black Cauldron
Lilo and Stitch
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Make Mine Music
Fox and the Hound