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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 29: Pocahontas

Have you ever painted with the colors of the wind?: Our 29th Movie!

Jessica Biel as Pocahontas- Sorry!

1. What movie did you watch?
Pocahontas. The film is based on the history and folklore surrounding the Native woman Pocahontas and the English settler John Smith. After the critical, award winning success of Beauty and the Beast, Disney studio chairman of the time Jeffrey Katzenberg opted to produce another animated sweeping romantic epic in hopes of replicating another Best Picture nomination. The music was done by Alan Menken, and received two Academy award nominations for Best Original Song and Best Original Score. The film ended up receiving mixed reviews from critics overall, but was a box office success. Fun fact: "Pocahontas' real name was Matoaka. "Pocahontas" was only a nickname, and it can variously be translated to "little wanton", "playful one", "little brat" or "the naughty one."

2. Have you seen it before/ how long has it been since you last saw it?
Maddie: It hasn't been very long- I saw the last third maybe a month ago.
Alexis: I watched the second half of it a month ago with one of our other roommates.

3. What memories did it recall?
Maddie: It largely makes me think of seeing World of Color at California Adventure for the first time and so loving the Pocahontas section. It's absolutely beautiful and I like that they chose "Just Around the Riverbend" instead of the expected "Colors of the Wind." The way they create the river in the fountains is amazing. Also, what fun songs to sing along to!

Alexis: I have a very specific memory associated with this movie! Story time: When I was in 3rd grade, all the classes participated in a music program, and that year the program was "At the Movies". One of the songs we were performing was Colors of the Wind, and being a big fan of the movie and Disney songs in general, I went for one of the solos. Now, it's important to note that this is the only vocal solo I've ever had in my entire life (I am not the best singer, I'm not tone deaf, but I'm definitely no Celine Dion). On the night of the show, I stepped up to the mic, dressed as Pocahontas, holding my small animal companion in my arms, and sung the first two lines of the song. And then nothing. Apparently I was clutching the mic so tightly that I turned the switch off. My parents have video of it, and you hear me sing for all of 3 seconds before it goes silent. So there we go, my only singing solo was silenced. I can't listen to Colors of the Wind without thinking of my lost glory (maybe it was for the best).

4. What did you think of it?
Maddie: I liked it. It's not one of my all time favorites, but definitely one I enjoy. As a kid I cared a lot more about the animals in the movie than the humans! Meeko was my particular favorite. 
I also loved the way nature was portrayed through the whole movie, and I got very upset as a child when the settlers "hurt" nature. Grandmother Wllow was another favorite. Re-watching it now I so appreciate how Pocahontas is encouraged by many (except for her father and Kocoum) to explore her loves and be adventurous. She's one of the more proactive and empowering Disney Princesses. 

Alexis: I really enjoyed it, and although it doesn't make my top 5, I think it's a really well done movie. I love the music and all the nature imagery. I know some people have problems with the historical accuracy, but I like to think of it as its own story, and leave out the context of what really happened (I mean, Pocahontas was like 12 in reality, and that makes everything creepy). I also really like Pocahontas as a character. I think she's a strong, interesting Princess, and I wish she were featured in more Disney things!

5. Favorite moment:
Maddie: This is totally cliched but my favorite part is Colors of the Wind. Who wouldn't love that part?? The song is so beautiful and has such a great conservationist message. In addition, the animation that goes along with the song is simply amazing- the "watercolor" section gets me every time. 

Alexis: Possible unpopular opinion: my favorite song from the movie is actually Just Around the River bend. But my favorite part of the movie is the climatic scene with the Native Americans and settlers marching towards each other, and Pocahontas decides that she can be the one to stop it. I love the imagery of her running toward the cliff, and the whole scene after is so moving.  

6. Any other comments:
Maddie: Overall, I find this movie interesting because personally I feel the animation is uneven- it has beautiful moments and the rest of the movie is fairly simple animation. Some of this I'm sure is for effect- the more natural and mystical moments are more beautiful while the moments with the settlers are more plain. The best part of the animation overall is the depictions of nature throughout.
In addition, Pocahontas should have died from this jump at the beginning of the movie:

We must also appreciate the amazing meme this movie gave us, the Kocoum Scream:

Alexis: My favorite video:

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