This was grabbed from rec.arts.disney on May 8, 1995. The author was not
mentioned. From its style, I assume it's from some Disney press release.
One or two tiny spelling mistakes suggest professional scanning from
The year is 1607 and a new age of exploration has begun. A group of
British adventurers that includes the greedy governor of the Virginia
Company, John Ratcliffe, and a handsome sea captain named John Smith, have
set sail for the New World aboard The Susan Constant, seeking gold and
Meanwhile, in Virginia, a beautiful young Native American girl named
Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, ponders her path in life and
dreams what lies "just around the river bend". Should she marry Kocoum,
the stern warrior her father has selected for her, or does destiny have
something else planned for her? Searching for answers, Pocahontas visits
the Enchanted Forest where Grandmother Willow, a 400-year-old mystical
spirit residing in an ancient tree, provides advice and comfort. She also
receives support from her two forest friends--a mischievous raccoon named
Meeko and a feisty hummingbird named Flit.
Upon their arrival, the British settlers follow Ratcliffe's orders to dig
for gold, creating havoc and devastation in their wake. Charged with
protecting the colony, John Smith scouts the area and meets Pocahontas.
Despite their initial apprehensions and conflicts, they are attracted to
one another and she introduces him to a world unlike any he has ever known
before. Pocahontas teaches him that every rock, tree and creature has a
living spirit and explains how to "paint with all the colors of the wind".
Contrary to the friendship between Smith and Pocahontas, relations between
the British and the Native Americans have reached a crisis point with fear
and hatred mounting daily. When Smith is captured by Powhatan and set to
be executed, Pocahontas bravely places her own life on the line by
declaring that he must kill her first. Smith reciprocates the sacrifice
by saving Powhatan's life from a British bullet, but is wounded in the
process. In a powerful and moving finale, he and Pocahontas must part,
knowing that their spirits will be joined forever on a path that never
- Pocahontas is Disney's 33rd full-length animated feature and the
studio's first to be inspired by a real-life figure. Combining historical
fact with popular folklore and legend, the filmmakers have constructed a
compelling and romanticized tale of the famous Native American heroine and
her exciting encounters with famed British soldier, Captain John Smith.
With its emphasis on realistic human characters and the story's deeply
moving dramatic tone, the film presented a unique set of challenges for
the animation team and marked a significant departure from the studio's
- The film is directed by Mike Gabriel, a veteran Disney animator
who made his directing debut on the 1990 feature The Rescuers Down
Under, and Eric Goldberg, a multitalented animator/director who
previously operated his own commercial studio in London and joined Disney
in 1990 to create and supervise the animation of the Genie in Aladdin.
Making his feature debut as producer of the film is James Pentecost, an
accomplished stage manager, director and producer with numerous credits on
major Broadway productions.
- The look and style of the film was inspired by the filmmaker's
numerous visits to Jamestown, Virginia as well as by extensive research
into the Colonial period. These historical elements were stylized under
the guidance of art director Michael Giaimo, working in collaboration with
the directors and the film's other artistic supervisors. The tall,
vertical shapes of the Virginian pine forests set against the vast
horizontal landscapes provided a critical design element which was
incorporated into the layout aspect of the film in its use of strong
vertical and horizontal imagery.
- At various stages of the production, the creative team consulted
with Native American historians and storytellers to incorporate authentic
aspects of the Powhatan culture into the film.
- The release of Pocahontas follows the unprecedented success of
Disney's 1994 animated offering, The Lion King, which has already become
one of Hollywood's most popular films. The Lion King shattered all
previous boxoffice records for the studio and for an animated film and now
ranks among the top four films of all time.
Pocahontas brings together the musical genius of Academy Award-winning
composer Alan Menken and the lyrical magic of renowned Broadway veteran
Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Godspell,
The Magic Show, The Baker's
Wife. Here, in their first major collaboration, the songwriting duo
have created an integrated song score which musicalizes many of the
film's most important dramatic and emotional moments while providing a
classic theatrical element of entertainment.
Menken has received six Academy Awards for his contributions to The
Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin and
(with his late partner, lyricist Howard Ashman) is
credited with bringing new excitement
to the film musical. Menken and Schwartz are following up this assignment
by collaborating on Disney's next animated feature -- The Hunchback of
Notre Dame -- which is currently in production for a 1996 release.
The seven songs featured in the film run the gamut from the buoyant Just
Around the River Bend, in which Pocahontas expresses her dreams for the
future, to the captivating ballad, Colors of the Wind, which stands out
as one of the high points of the film as the beautiful heroine offers her
new acquaintance, John Smith, a musical lesson on the Native American
philosophy towards life. Other musical moments in the film include: The
Virginia Company, Steady as a Beating Drum, Listen with your
Heart, Mine, Mine, Mine and Savages.
The Cast of Characters
- Pocahontas -- Native American actress Irene Bedard,
who recently made her film debut in Lakota Woman (on TNT)
and also appears in Walt Disney Pictures' family adventure film,
Squanto, A Warrior's Tale, provides the spirit, emotion
and vitality for the title character through her lively vocal
performance. Pocahontas' singing voice is provided by Judy
Kuhn (who most recently starred as Betty opposite
Glenn Close in the Los Angeles production of Sunset Boulevard).
Overseeing the character of Pocahontas is supervising animator
Glen Keane, who is widely regarded as one of the top
talents working in the field today. His previous work at the
studio includes supervision of Ariel in The Little Mermaid,
the magnificent Golden Eagle, Marahute, in The Rescuers Down
Under, the complex charismatic Beast in Beauty in the Beast
and the title character in the film Aladdin.
- Captain John Smith -- The vibrant, virile voice behind this
fearless soldier belongs to actor Mel Gibson, who brings great
energy and empathy to the role. Returning to the studio to supervise
the animation is John Pomeroy, a major talent in the world
of animation, who brings great believability and strength to this
- John Ratcliffe -- David Ogden Stiers, who delighted
audiences with his vocal "timing" as Cogsworth in Beauty and the
Beast and doubled as narrator for that film, demonstrates his
vocal versatility yet again in this film as the voice of the greedy
Governor. Veteran Disney animator, Duncan Marjoribanks
(who supervised Sebastian the Crab, Abu the Monkey and the
Rescuers' nemesis, McLeach) heads up the team of artists
responsible for this character's deliciously nasty performance.
- Chief Powhatan -- Actor Russell Means, a major figure in
contemporary Native American affairs and a distinguished performer
in his own right, lends dignity and power to the vocalization of
Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas' father and a mighty leader torn between
two cultures. Supervising animator Ruben Aquino (a talented
Disney veteran who helped to create Ursula for The Little
Mermaid and the performance of Adult Simba in The Lion
King) is responsible for overseeing this dynamic personality.
- Meeko -- This masked mischief-maker is Pocahontas' pal who
serves as her constant companion through thick and thin. Overseeing
the animated antics of this raccoon rascal is supervising animator
Nik Ranieri, who previously put the shine in Lumiere's
performance in Beauty and the Beast.
- Flit -- Undaunted by his diminutive size, this busy bird
serves as Pocahontas' protector and is ready, willing and able
to defend his friend. Communicating with buzzes and hums, this
happy hummingbird is always there to lend a wing. Supervising
animator Dave Pruiksma, who oversaw the performances of
Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast) and the Sultan
(Aladdin), is the actor-with-a-pencil behind this
- Percy -- Ratcliffe's pampered pet pooch is full of distemper
towards his New World surroundings but ends up learning a few new
tricks about getting along with others by the film's finale.
Supervising animator Chris Buck and his team were
responsible for putting the snap into this comical canine.
- Grandmother Willow -- This 400-year-old mystical spirit,
residing in an ancient, gnarled willow tree located in the
Enchanted Glade, provides Pocahontas with comfort and guidance.
Academy Award-winning actress Linda Hunt (The Year of Living
Dangerously) adds a feisty-but-funny "bark" to this wonderful
character, who offers visions of peace and understanding rooted
deep in wisdom. Chris Buck does double duty as supervising
animator on this character as well.
- Thomas -- Captain Smith's devoted friend is a young working
class English soldier who is "unsettled" by the behavior of
Ratcliffe and his fellow settlers but caught between opposing
worlds. Actor Christian Bale gives this character strength
and sincerity as he struggles to look at things differently while
Ken Duncan provides the appropriate actions and personality.
- Ben and Lon -- The familiar voices behind two of the Jamestown
settlers belong to multitalented Scottish comedian/comic actor
Billy Connolly (Ben) and popular English actor/comedian
Joe Baker (Lon).
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Last modified: Mon May 8 18:57:37 1995