Behind the Fairy Tale: Pocahontas

pocahontas 1

Poooooooocanhontas, where the wind comes whistling down with colorssss!  Sorry about that.  I just can’t say that name without thinking of the musical Oklahoma.  It fits perfectly.  And frankly, Pocahontas starring in a production of  Oklahoma would be about as realistic as the Disney version, and involve a lot more hoe downs.

Okay, so story starts off with hunky Aryan explorer who can never convincingly reserve a hotel room, John Smith.  John Smith is manly, ya’ll, and you can tell by the way he hops on a cannon while singing.  All his crew have man crushes on him, including this one kid, Wesley Crusher I think, who he saves from drowning so he can later shoot Kokopuffs.  Oops, spoiler.

Could I be more awesome?

Could I be more awesome?

Next we have dramatic fog and Native American chanting and oh boy are we going to a reservation?  Oh, wait, this is before Our Hero so they are still merrily picking corn and rowing canoes and beating drums and stuff.  Pocahontas, or “Pokey” as I like to call her, is up on top of a cliff ready to jump like 500 feet into the water.  This should be a short story.  But no, she lives and oh we get how she’s like super brave and not at all stupid.  It helps that she’s beautiful (except for a missing nose) and has a great bod.

Weee, suicide is fun!

Weee, suicide is fun!

Next we get Pops, the chief and Pokey’s dad.  Mom’s dead of course, this is Disney.  Dad wants her to marry Kokopuffs (that was his name, right?) but Pokey doesn’t cause he’s like really hot and built and brave but hey, where is his sense of humor huh?  What the heck does her stupid dad expect, I mean jeez.  At least in this one, Dad is not a Weeble.

Pokey is upset about this so she talks to a tree that OMG A FACE!  How did her grandmother get in the Willow Tree?  Holy crap that was weird.  Anyway, she asks her for advice on her dream about a spinning arrow and like all “wise ones” she yammers some nonsense like “listen to your heart.”  Thanks for nothing, grams.

Oh okay so . . . ayeeeeee!!!!!

Oh okay so . . . ayeeeeee!!!!!

So mostly everything is going okay until the white people get there to screw everything up.  We’re good at that.  On the whitey side is the femmy head of the expedition, Ratface, er Ratcliffe (his actual name).  He has – oh boy, a cute little pug sidekick!  Let’s kick it to the side.  He also has an even girlier lackey who skips about helping him prepare.  This is meant to contrast John, who is like not fancy prancy but All Man.

All Man turns out to mean “suicidal”.  While Ratty immediately starts digging up the land for gold (destroying crap is a great way to make a good first impression), manly man Smith starts leaping around tall mountains and singing.  “The greatest adventure is mine!  Maybe I’ll meet a hot chick!”

While he’s doing this, Pokey is stalking him along with her sidekicks (why, just why) an irritating raccoon and a hummingbird.  Whatever.  Part of the movie is taken up with the pug and the raccoon running around so the kids won’t go to sleep during the romance junk.

The sidekicks.  I hate them.

The sidekicks. I hate them.

So John hears her and he gets his gun and then Pokey walks out of this fog in this awesome model pose and John’s all whoa I really wanna – get to know her.  But, oh no, they don’t speak the same language.  How will they . . . oh, right, they stand close and leaves blow around them and BANG automatic universal translator.  Convenient.

John calls her a “savage” (oh wait, I only meant your non-hot people!) so Pokey schools him by dragging him all over the wilderness while singing about blue corn moons and painting mountains and wind colors and I think maybe the Native Americans were growing more than corn.  She clearly has some sort of leaf blower power, cause leaves are always swirling around her body and in her Pert Plus hair.

She is really into those leaves.

She is really into those leaves.

Meanwhile Pokey’s dad sends some scouts to check out the new guys, and one of them gets shot and he gets this wild idea that these peeps might be dangerous.   He calls some of his friends over for backup.

John tells Ratty that there’s no gold so naturally he figures the Indians are hidin’ it and they should kill them all!  Perfectly logical plan there.

Let's go to war!  Cause war!

Let’s go to war! Cause war!

But that won’t stop our lovebirds!  Pokey gets caught by her pal, but hey, what’s the threat of war when you’re in luss . . . love!  John sneaks out too, and is followed by Wesley the brat he saved earlier.  John and Pokey make out, but turns out Pokey’s pal ratted her out and oh oh Kokopuffs is pissed, and tries to put a tomahawk in John’s skull but Wesley shoots him dead.  Whoops.  I never saw this coming, did you?

John is captured and waits execution while Ratty gets his men together to rescue John and retrieve the weapons of mass des- the gold.  Pokey is still confused, so she wastes time yammering to the willow tree before figuring out that she should maybe stop this.  At the last second, she flings herself over John, stopping the club.  She reasons with her Dad, who is suddenly like oh, okay, let’s all stop fighting and stuff, what was I thinking?

WTF with all these leaves?

WTF with all these leaves?

But too late cause Ratty tries to shoot him.  John plays the hero and takes the bullet (omg he is so manly).  The settlers turn on Ratty, but there’s no happy ending for John and Pokey cause John has to be taken home to be treated (the natives can’t pull out a bullet?) and Pokey must stay to keep peace (yeah that’s gonna work).  They make out in front of Dad a bit then John sails away while Pokey shoots some leaves his way in goodbye.  Aw.

Catch the sensation!

Taste the rainbow!

Now for the  “behind the fairy tale”.  If you think Disney goofed up fairy tales, that ain’t nothin’ compared to what they do to actual historical figures.  The real Pocahontas was roughly eleven when she met  the twenty-eight year old John Smith.  You can clearly see the romance potential here, but no, they were just friends, sorry Lolita fans.

John Smith (who was an explorer but hairier and not quite as hunky) did write that she saved his life when they were about to smack him in the head with a rock.  Others say he had a tendency to brag about women saving his life (totally macho there) and that possibly he misunderstood and this was really just a ritual, not an execution.  Either way a large blunt object was involved, so I’m not sure if it matters all that much.  At least it didn’t to John.

I can see where Disney got their inspiration!

I can see where Disney got their inspiration!

Disney does include several of the real people – well their names anyway, the actual setting, Jamestown, and the famous rock incident which was probably true.  They leave out the part where she later is kidnapped by the English she’d been feeding and held for ransom but Daddy didn’t want to give up his guns so she got to get all Christianized and married to an Englishman and her name changed to Rebecca and entire culture obliterated for a new one, oh and also how she was dragged to England to be paraded around like a monkey before catching smallpox and dying at about 21.  Fun stuff.  I can’t believe Disney left this out.

Stay tuned next time when Disney decides to lighten things up with The Hunchback of Notre Dame!

17 responses

  1. As I was a child, my greatest wish was to be Pocahontas. I even colored my hair with black watercolor an I wore chicken feathers on my head. But that was before the silly Disney thingy. I dislike all the sidekicks too, talking waterspouts, singing tea cups and whatnot…

    1. Yes, what IS it with the sidekicks? I guess it’s so they can market the cute plush toys, but it really starts getting ridiculous when like every character has one or two of them. Like, just make a movie about a dog and a wild animal – oh wait, that was Fox and the Hound. That one didn’t turn out so well . . .

      1. hahahaha yes… the worst is when they start to sing and to dance …. wonder what kind of sidekicks they would use for a Disney version of 50 shades… probably a dancing bullwhip with eyes…ewww..

  2. Back in the real old days, there were no happy endings. If you didn’t die of disease, you fell and scraped your knee , it got infected and then you died. Pretty slim fixings for a romance. That’s a bit Debbie Downer, but I’m not sure what else to say. Not a nice time and place.

    1. Yes, the “good old days” were super Debbie Downer. You know, back when we didn’t die of Cancer and heart disease so much cause we died so young of other crap. The scratch reminds me of that warrior in Game of Thrones – I saw a meme that said “Never lost a battle. Dies of infected boo boo.” Those were the days.

  3. I get such a kick out of these posts of yours. The biggest chuckles today came from Kokopuffs and Wesley Crusher 😀

    1. I’m glad you liked them (and recognized my Wesley reference). I owe Kokopuffs to my brother, actually. He also sang that Beach Boys song Kokomo that way “Take me to Cocoa Puffs . . . it’s a chocolately dreeeeeam . . . “

  4. The raccoon was my favorite character. I actually went out and bought a large plush toy of him – and I was in my 20s when that movie came out. He had a little biscuit attached to one of his paws.

    1. Okay, I did like it when he held up the biscuit and that stupid hummingbird got stuck in it. That was great.

  5. Not all Disney sidekicks are bad. I cite Sebastian the crab and…okay, see, there’s one.

    1. Poor Sebastian. Having to babysit both the king’s daughter AND his grand-daughter. That could not have been in his job description. Also, how long do crabs live?

      1. King crabs can live 20 to 30 years.

        1. Making elderly crabs work so long should be illegal. Sebastian should start a union.

  6. Gives new meaning to inspired by actual events. Only in Disney fantasy land/world.

  7. I’m not sure why Disney left this up in the air by separating the lovers. My first guess is that they were going to do a sequel, but then they opened a history book and realized that the sequel would be too depressing and no number of sidekicks could save it. And my second was that Disney tried to convey the message that it’s okay to hook up with native girls, but a line must be drawn at marriage.

    1. Oh, they totally did a sequel. No, really. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen scenes where she’s done up like a real Disney princess! No doubt there’s a musical number about the plague in it somewhere.

  8. Now I don’t feel bad for having never seen this one!

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