Dissecting the Disquels: Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World

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Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Due to Ratcliffe’s lies about what happened in the previous movie, the King has decided to send out an armada and declare war on the natives. Ratcliffe has supposedly killed John Smith to keep him from talking and now it’s up to John Rolfe to try and mend bridges by bringing the chief of Pocahontas’s tribe to England as an ambassador. Pocahontas decides to go in his place, but London is a much stranger world than what she’s used to. She’ll have to learn to dress and act accordingly or else she’ll have no chance of stopping the attack. Meanwhile, she develops a closer relationship with John Rolfe.

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The original Pocahontas movie was both greatly loved and greatly ridiculed for being so far off from the original story of Pocahontas. Pocahontas was around 11 or 12 years old in the actual story, and John Smith was merely a friend. There’s nothing implying any sort of romantic entanglement between him and Pocahontas. That as well as various other aspects, like John Smith wasn’t nearly that attractive in real life. Oh and magic leaves/trees/wind.

This movie, shockingly enough, is closer to the original story. However, there are still numerous changes in order to fuse properly with the first movie.

Though it is mentioned that “several” years have passed since the events of the first movie, no actual number of years is given. However, the original story states she was about 21 when she went to England. Since Pocahontas was 16 in the original movie and about 11 in the actual story, she’s probably around 26 in this movie, which is actually supposed to be a few years after her death.

John Rolfe goes to Jamestown to talk to Pocahontas and her tribe. She decides to go with him as an ambassador to stop war on her people and to take the place of her father since he refused to go. In the actual story, she was already married to John Rolfe and had a kid with him before going to England. Also, I believe she just went to England simply to live there. There was no great mission, though her marriage to Rolfe did create a nice period of peace between the settlers and her tribe. She also changed her name to Rebecca somewhere between Smith and Rolfe.

The thing about John Smith faking his death and not contacting Pocahontas is accurate. The circumstances behind it may be different, but it did happen.

Okay, so “closer to the original story” does not mean “entirely accurate.” This is Disney; you have to give them quite a bit of elbow room.

Now onto the movie. I wasn’t in love with original movie, but I watched it several times as kid. I liked the songs and art more than anything. The actual story and characters were mostly okay to me. Really preachy and cheesy, though. And this sequel……is surprisingly decent. It’s nothing amazing, but it seems like a decent sequel to the original movie at least for a direct-to-video sequel. And it’s a decent closing to Pocahontas’s story……….beyond all the genocide and dying at age 22 and whatnot. People who really shipped Pocasmith © were pretty damn pissed at this movie, though. But let’s get to that later.

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The movie starts out in London where we see John Smith running away from a bunch of soldiers on the rooftops. He eventually slips and Ratcliffe appears and slams his foot down on Smith’s hand sending him into the waters below. Oh no! John Smith died by falling into the water and we never see him surface nor do we see his body. That must mean he is dead! There is absolutely no chance that they are screwing with us. This is 4 reelz!

I should mention that the only voice change in the entire movie is here. I actually thought the VA for Pocahontas had changed since she actually sounds younger here, but it’s the same one. Mel Gibson decided not to return to this movie. Maybe he was too busy being a crazy anti-semite. But they did hire his brother, Donal, to do the voice work instead. To his credit, he does sound very similar to Mel, but not quite similar enough to go unnoticed.

Ratcliffe appears in front of the king and basically tells a bunch of lies about what happened in the original movie. He says John Smith was a traitor plotting with the Powhatan tribe to start a war and save his own skin. In order to prevent an attack from the tribe, King James sends out John Rolfe to speak with the chief and bring him back for negotiations.

We then cut to Jamestown where it’s winter, which means the animators really didn’t want to even try to match the landscapes and great art of the original movie. They just splashed white all over everything, put a few bare trees around and boom, Carnation instant landscape. Now with 95% less creativity.

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Many new colonists have settled in. We discover that it has been “several” years since the events of the last movie and at least a few years since John Smith’s “death.” Pocahontas’ best friend whose name escapes me as she was only in two minutes of this movie and had about as many lines as Meeko tells her that she needs to move on. And, after a song break, she does. Yay! She buries his compass in the snow (because snow never melts, right?) and moves on.

I must say that, while the songs aren’t that good, they’re at least several degrees better than the trash I’ve been listening to with Cinderella 2 and Hunchback 2. ‘Where do I go from Here?’ Is actually pretty good and memorable as well.

A new ship has arrived at the dock and Pocahontas goes to investigate. She has a run in with a racist merchant which prompts an attack by the warriors of her tribe and a retaliation from the guards on the boat. However, she steps in before anyone starts attacking. John Rolfe then steps in and says basically the same thing that Pocahontas says, which causes them to stand down. While John Rolfe is pleased with himself for stopping the attack, Pocahontas is enraged that John Rolfe butted in. DAMN YOU PALE SKINS AND YOUR NEED TO INTERRUPT PEACEMAKING WITH MORE PEACEMAKING!

He overhears some women talking about Pocahontas preventing war and he believes Pocahontas is the name of the tribe leader. When he meets the tribe leader and offers a horse as a gift for him, the chief reveals that Pocahontas is the name of his daughter and Rolfe is shocked to see that it’s the same girl from before. He begrudgingly gives the horse to Pocahontas and starts speaking with the chief.

He asks the chief to go back to England with him to negotiate with the king, but the chief refuses to go with him due to distrust of his people. Pocahontas decides to go in his place. Though John Rolfe doesn’t like the idea, he decides that it’s the only way to prevent war and that it is a viable option since she is royalty.

They embark on their journey with her bodyguard Uttamatomakkin, also known as Uti, who is arguably the funniest new character. His stone face and deadpan responses are just great. Uti is voiced by Brad Garret of Everybody Loves Raymond, which is odd because Uti barely says one line in this movie. Must’ve been the easiest paycheck he ever got. Also, what is up with Brad Garret and Disquels? He was in Tarzan 2 as well.

He is based on a real person of the same name who was also Pocahontas’ actual bodyguard. In real life, he was told by the chief to put a notch in a stick for every pale face that he saw in England to understand their numbers and strength, but eventually he gave up since there were simply too many people. He does the same exact thing in the movie, throwing away a tiny toothpick sized stick in the middle of a song about London as he was making notches during the entire song.

Flit, Meeko and Ratcliffe’s dog, Percy, who stayed behind with Pocahontas in the last movie, stowaway on the ship.

Percy actually gets drunk from drinking rum on the ship, which shocked the living crap out of me. They even put RUM in giant words on the barrels.

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Well, now we know why the rum’s always gone.

They arrive in London and aforementioned London song happens since Pocahontas is so fascinated by how different London is to her home. I’m surprised she isn’t flabbergasted at the complete lack of any nature there.

They arrive at John Rolfe’s home where we’re introduced to another funny character, Mrs. Jenkins. Who is very nice, nearly to a fault, and is blind as a bat without her glasses. She also constantly makes tea. Despite her lame blindness gags, she’s a very likable grandmother-like character. She’s voiced by Jean Stapleton, whom you may remember as Edith from All in the Family.

John Rolfe goes off to meet with the king, and King James tells him that unless he’s impressed by Pocahontas as a civilized princess, he will let the armada sail and war will erupt. Ratcliffe suggests that he invite her to an upcoming ball to get a good understanding of her. The king agrees and sends Rolfe off.

Rolfe is stressed out because of this sudden turn of events. Acting accordingly at a ball and not crossing any of the numerous boundaries that are set in royal surroundings is incredibly difficult even for people who live there, let alone a person who doesn’t even know the slightest about their culture. However, Pocahontas agrees to try her best to be presentable and proper during the ball for the sake of her tribe.

We get a scene of Pocahontas in her underwear entering Rolfe’s room. Get your mind out of the gutter. The only reason I’m even bringing this up is because Rolfe gets very embarrassed at her clothes and I found this very odd. I get that it’s “underwear”, but it’s oldtimey underwear. Ya know, that stuff that’s like a damn jumpsuit? I know, being a gentleman and given the time period, it’s still not out of the question that he’d be embarrassed, but it just seems so weird because it’s actually covering way more than her original clothes were.

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Pictured Left: A streaker – Pictured Right: Modesty in the 17th century

We get a musical montage which I guess is supposed to be a mix between a love song and a makeover song. Oh well, it’s much less painful than the one in Cinderella 2.

She comes out looking great, even has white powder on her face. I know that massive amounts of makeup were quite common in 17th century England, but is this kinda….white face? Is that a thing?

She and Rolfe have a slight ‘moment’ when he gives her a necklace to wear and she removes the one that her mother gave her.

They go to the ball and despite some initial awkwardness, the king seems to like her just fine and the more likable queen also enjoys her presence.

During this ball we see a drunk man. Well, I just don’t know. Is Disney trying to throw off their new rep or something and get back to their old one?

Anyway, we get to dinner and a show where Ratcliffe squeezes in what I guess is his villain song, but is basically “Pocahontas can’t be trusted, but I’m not gonna outright say that” Then we get to a bear-baiting scene, which is basically where a couple of guys poke at a trapped bear with spears and that’s supposed to be hilarious.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Pocahontas is obviously appalled by this and stops the show to protect the bear. As the king shrugs off the bear as a mere animal and nothing more, Pocahontas calls them the real savages and the king has her and Uti imprisoned. Would it be redundant to say that this movie makes English people look really bad? It does. Later Ratcliffe even slashes up the flag of England with his sword.

John Rolfe paces in his courtyard trying to decide what to do when a cloaked man approaches him. Gee I wonder who that could be. John Smith’s totes dead, so I guess it’s a mystery.

John Rolfe and mystery man enter the tower with the mystery man acting as Rolfe’s prisoner. The mystery man distracts the guards by running away while Rolfe rescues Pocahontas and Uti.

They share a hug when the mystery man reappears and shows himself to be JOHN SMITH!?

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They escape the tower and we head back to Rolfe’s place because….they’d never look there? Pocahontas and John Smith have a less-than-touching reunion. They hug and say that they missed each other. John Smith explains that Ratcliffe lied about his death, but he used that to his advantage. Pocahontas asked why he never wrote to her and he basically says “I started a bunch of letters, but I never sent any because…well, no reason really. Just felt like being a prick.”

Pocahontas decides that she must go off to save her people from the impending attack. John Smith wants her to go into hiding and let the war happen while John Rolfe wants her to stand up for herself and her people by going. Boy, Smith turned into a bit of a jerk since he left didn’t he? Yeah, let all of your people die and protect yourself. Afterall, I maybe still care about you a bit. This is probably to simplify the love triangle….angle as much as humanly possible. Wouldn’t want any question as to who she’s going to end up with. Then she runs off into the forest.

Pocahontas reprises her Where Do I Go from Here? Song, wipes the white powder from her face and returns to the boys after Smith and Rolfe determine that Rolfe’s in love with her.

Rolfe, Smith and Pocahontas have a weird dynamic. Rolfe and Smith play off of each other well, acting like only slight romantic rivals and more like buddies. John Smith’s acting like a bit of a jerk in this movie, so I can’t much root for Pocahontas and him here, though I guess that’s the point. I will admit that Pocahontas and Rolfe have an interesting relationship just in terms of how it came to be. Initially they hated each other, albeit for a dumb reason, but they did. This is very uncommon in Disney movies in general. Most Disney romances involve love at first or love at second sight. This one actually took a bit of time.

This romance is also weird because I believe it’s Disney’s first ever rebound romance. I can’t think of any other instance in a Disney movie where the main character had a love triangle or even another romantic interest….Maybe Pirates of the Caribbean, but you always knew she’d go with Will. However, there’s not much romance involved here. They only sing a duet at the end of the movie as a credits song and it’s more of an “our romance will unite our worlds” song instead of an outright love song. They never really share a big romantic moment. I guess I should say they have a very subtle love, but maybe it’s too subtle?

Pocahontas announces that she’s going to stop the armada and the boys follow her. As the king is having a meeting, Pocahontas intrudes and tells him that everything Ratcliffe told him was a lie. This is proven when John Smith shows himself as alive and claims that Ratcliffe lied about his death along with everything else. As a big stir starts in the crowd, Pocahontas tells the king to listen to his heart and his wife gives him a smile and a nod before he gives in. However, he states that Ratcliffe has already left with the armada, so Pocahontas, Smith and Rolfe go off to stop him.

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They manage to catch them just as they’re about to leave. They have a pretty well animated battle that leads to a sword battle between Ratcliffe and Smith. Smith wins out and stupidly gives Ratcliffe his sword back telling him to sheathe it. Boy, I hope that doesn’t bite him in the ass.

So it bites him in the ass as Ratcliffe uses the motion of him sheathing his sword to cover up his grabbing his gun. But Rolfe saves the day by knocking Ratcliffe overboard with the sail. He’s arrested and we cut to later on.

Pocahontas and Rolfe have a moment. Rolfe has been assigned to the King’s royal court or something and they skirt around what they want to say. They’re about to say it when Smith comes back and picks up Pocahontas saying that he’s been given a boat. Then he tells Pocahontas that they can sail the world and whatnot, but Pocahontas shows that she doesn’t want that. She tells him that they used to walk the same path, but now she’s found a different one. He quickly understands and they part ways. Pocahontas turns around and notices that Rolfe left as well.

Cut to her departure back home and she notices Rolfe is still gone, but says goodbye to Mrs. Jenkins. Uti also stays behind in London with Mrs. Jenkins and the bear from the show….Why? I don’t know. Maybe he liked her sandwiches so much he decided to stay. The boat departs and she sees Rolfe on the ship. He’s decided to give up the cushy job and head to her homeland where he’ll be shunned by the tribe and everyone will wonder what the hell is up with Pocahontas and white people.

They kiss and sail off into the sunset. This also didn’t happen. She stayed in England until she died, which was only about a year after she arrived. Also the stuff about changing her name to Rebecca. But I guess Disney wanted a happier ending.

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The art and animation are surprisingly pretty good for a Disney sequel, but there are some things that bug me. First, even though everyone is kinda off-model from the original movie, John Smith looks terribly off for some reason. Just something about him is wrong. Like his head is too thin or he’s malnourished or something. Second, all of the shots with the boats are CGI, which don’t look too bad, but it’s distracting a lot of the time. Finally, the background art is not nearly as vast and epic as the original movie. The King’s meeting room or whatever that was was beautiful, but not much else.

The movie is actually fairly funny as well. Uti and Mrs. Jenkins made me chuckle several times.

All in all, this is actually one of the better Disney sequels, and I applaud Disney for trying to be more historically accurate, to a degree anyway. I noticed that this movie does tend to get quite a bit of flak, even for a Disquel, and not surprisingly most of the complaints are about the fact that Pocahontas ended up with John Rolfe instead of John Smith, even though, like I said, that is what happened in real life. Some people were even calling her a SLUT in reviews and comments because she decided to go with him over Smith. Because, ya know, if you don’t end up with your first love, you’re a big ol’ whore. And ya know what, even if the real story did have her ending up with Smith, once she reached an appropriate age anyway, this story would still be just fine.

If you look at the ending of Pocahontas in a different light, you can actually take it as Pocahontas and Smith basically cutting off their romance since they know they’ll be apart for at least several months or even years. I guess a lot of people take the last shot of the movie as a kind of promise to wait for Smith to return to her, but you could interpret it as her saying goodbye to him.

Hell, for all we knew, Smith was never coming back. He never said such a thing. The chief just said he was always welcome in their tribe and Pocahontas said she’d always be with him (in his heart/spirit). They agreed to part ways. She didn’t want to leave her tribe to be with him (even though, that’s actually kinda cold considering he’s seriously wounded as he leaves. Hell, a festering gunshot wound and a several month boat trip; it’s a miracle he lived) and he couldn’t stay because they didn’t have the resources to treat Smith’s gunshot wound.

The fact that Smith didn’t write her or visit her after he got better is actually somewhat understandable. When you have a fleeting romance with someone and it ends up with you basically having to part ways, it can be really difficult to be the one who feels compelled to start the first lines of communication after that, especially if the ending truly was a goodbye. Pocahontas moving on to someone else that she’s grown to care for is healthy and completely understandable as well, especially considering how much time has supposedly gone by since Smith’s departure.

Even seeing him alive and well and finally reuniting after all that time, it makes perfect sense that their feelings changed. And let me remind everyone who thought or wrote ‘slut’ or the like in response to this; Pocahontas only ever pursued Rolfe romantically after properly breaking it off with Smith after finding out he was alive.

I actually felt kinda awkward when Smith basically expected Pocahontas to drop everything and sail around with him. Their romance didn’t blossom again after they reunited, outside of being happy to see him and knowing he’s alive; another thing that makes sense considering how long it’s been since they were romantically involved or spoken. Kinda just felt like he either had delusions of picking up where he left off with her after years of never saying a word to her or he felt entitled to their relationship or something.

The choice to have her go with Rolfe back to her tribe and live happily ever after was also a good one. Despite being nothing like the actual ending outside of her ending up with Rolfe, from a storytelling perspective and knowing this Pocahontas like we know her, it wouldn’t be a good choice to have her stay in London with Rolfe. This Pocahontas belongs back with her tribe enjoying the colors of the wind.

The other thing was that people actually seemed to seriously DISlike that Disney wanted to go down a more historically accurate route. Go to IMDB’s review page on this movie. You’ll see a bunch of comments like these:

“Yes, in reality she ended up with John Rolfe, but -bleep- reality. I don’t want reality. When I sit down to watch a Disney movie I want to get lost in a world where every princess gets her (ORIGINAL) Disney hero. I REALLY don’t like new dudes with ZERO personality coming in and nabbing the princess just because “that’s how it REALLY happened”. “

“So here is what I can tell you Disney: I do not CARE how it was in reality. I wanted to see how John Smith and Pocahontas get together again.”

“I understand that Disney felt it had to keep the story as historically correct as possible but Disney films are aimed at children and as a child i couldn’t care less about historical accuracy, i just wanted the love and magic between Pocahontas and Smith to finally be restored. If Disney are so worried about historical accuracy than why didn’t they end the Little Mermaid in Ariels suicide because thats more accurate to the original story isn’t it?”

In response to that last part, you’re confusing historical accuracy (something that actually happened) with fictional accuracy (the events of The Little Mermaid never happened). People get more pissed off when historical events are changed in movies and other media because it seems like you’re disrespecting real people and real events. People get pissed off when fictional accuracy is being played with since people have a great attachment and respect for artistic works, but considering it’s merely fictional it’s hard to feel as offended when Hollywood screws up these works as opposed to real stories of real people.

Is it a fantastic sequel? No. But I do believe it’s one of the stronger entries in the Disquel universe. If this movie really is just getting so much severe backlash for Pocahontas’ love life and for the fact that it was trying to be more historically accurate after being so ‘magic leaves’ in the first movie…..My God, people, get the hell over it. Disney movies, especially ones with Disney princesses, get so much crap for the typical ‘Disney romances’ that are always unrealistic and happily ever after. Yet no one’s happy when a more realistic ending is presented to them.

I’m not denying that there is a lot of legitimate criticism for this movie, but this is the main focus of a lot of reviewers and commenters. If I can compare this to another Disney classic and Disquel for a second, let’s take the Hunchback of Notre Dame. In that movie, Quasimodo doesn’t get the girl no matter how much a majority of the audience wanted it to happen, and instead Esmeralda marries Pheobos. They also didn’t end up together in the original novel, but at least the movie was kind enough to not have Esmeralda hanged and Quasimodo die in a tomb of starvation as he wept near her body.

And in the Disquel we all wish never happened, they don’t try to shove the two together through Disney magic because everyone wanted it; they make him best friends with her and Pheobos’ son, Zephyr, and give him a bland as stale unsalted crackers love interest.

Not to say HND2 is any decent at all. In fact this comparison was really only brought up because Pocahontas 2 and Hunchback 2 are seriously just 1% away from each other in their Rotten Tomatoes ratings and .1 away in their IMDB ratings. Are you people serious? Pocahontas 2 is far from a great movie, but to put it on the exact same shelf made of crap that Hunchback 2 is? Are you nuts? There’s much more to legitimately like about this movie than in Hunchback 2. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but in as much of an objective light as I can muster, the differences in quality in practically every regard are blindingly apparent. I’m really surprised at how much just fan response is making me defend this movie.

Let’s wrap it up, though. Unless you’re a hardcore Smith purist and/or don’t want any real world accuracy damaging your views on a movie in which a real life 27 year old man and a real life 11 year old girl are rewritten to be of-age lovers, I see no harm in giving this a watch. There are several funny moments, the story’s decent enough and it has a continuation with an actual story instead of just Adventures of Random Things that Happened After (movie). I will agree with some reviewers and say that the romance is quite shaky. They don’t build it up enough before they decide to send Rolfe and Pocahontas off to live together in her tribe, and they, admittedly, do make Smith out to be a bit of an asshole in order to nudge the love triangle away. While I definitely sympathize with the feeling of a beloved classic being ruined by a Disquel, this one, in my opinion, doesn’t do nearly as much damage as a lot of other Disquels.

Recommended Audience: You see a dog and a person get drunk and Pocahontas in underwear that covers more than her actual clothes do. Also a bear gets tortured, but you don’t really see anything happen to him. They rear up and then the bear reacts. 7+

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