|1st Shot in the movie transforms from this picture to animated color characters|
The story starts off in London where the Virginia Company is getting ready to sail to the New World. The men sing the song "Virginia Company" while loading the ship and getting ready to set sail. Here we meet John Smith (Gibson) and learn that he is a veteran of many successful battles against the Indians/savages. The song tells us why the men are setting sail and going to the new world. "For glory, God & gold and the Virginia Company." They believe there will be tons of gold for every man to have some when they reach the new world. This expedition is overseen by Governor Radcliffe (Stiers) who is the "brains" of the operation per se. We jump to the ship sailing in the middle of a huge storm where we see Thomas (Bale) fall overboard and he is rescued by John. Radcliffe commends John as the storm passes and there is a reprise of "Virginia Company" that leads into the fog and we travel by the beat of a drum to the edge of the New World where the Natives are.
|Natives gathering food and carrying it|
The Main titles are shown during the song "Steady as the Beating Drum" and we watch Native Americans gather food, dance, sing and we see the arrival of the chief Powhatan (Means) back home from a battle in which they successfully beat the Massawomecks. After speaking to the people Powhatan turns to Kekata and asks where his daughter is. Kekata says, "You know Pocahontas. She has her mother's spirit. She goes wherever the wind takes her." We see leaves caught up by the wind and follow them to a cliff by a waterfall and reaching out over a lake where Pocahontas standing. We hear Nakoma (St. John) tell Pocahontas that her father has returned from a canoe down below the cliff. So Pocahontas jumps off the cliff and dives into the lake where she proceeds to knock the canoe with Nakoma in it over and they start splashing each other. Pocahontas is followed by her 2 animal companions, Meeko the raccoon and Flit the hummingbird. Nakoma asks Pocahontas about the dream she's been having and if she has figured out what it meant yet and then she suggests that Pocahontas ask her father.
|First shot of Pocahontas|
We jump ahead to their arrival at the village. A ceremony is taking place wherein Kocoum (Fall) is being honored for his bravery and anointed by Kekata who puts red paint in the shape of bear claws and paws on Kocoum's chest. After the ceremony Pocahontas greets her father and tells him of he dream she's been having and that she thinks it means something exciting is going to happen and her father tells her that Kocoum has asked for her hand in marriage. Pocahontas is upset by this because Kocoum is so "serious" and she believes her dream is leading somewhere else. Her father tells her it is time for her to take her place in their tribe and he gives her the necklace that her mother wore on her wedding day so that Pocahontas can wear it on hers. Powhatan tells her that she must be steady like the river. He starts the song "Just Around the Riverbend" and then leaves Pocahontas to her thoughts. Pocahontas disagrees about the water being steady and she continues the song as she canoes down the river and finally stops at a fork where one way is smooth and placid and the other is twisty and running fast over rocks.
|The fork in the river|
"Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as the beating drum? Should I marry Kocoum? Is all my dreaming at an end? Or do you still wait for me, dream giver? Just around the riverbend?" Then she takes the narrow and fast fork of the river and comes to a large willow tree whose leaves shield Pocahontas from the outside world and let her talk to Grandmother Willow (Hunt) in private, and since Grandmother Willow is actually a spirit living within the tree this is probably a good idea so no one thinks she's crazy. Pocahontas tells her that in her dream, "I'm running through the woods and then right there in front of me is an arrow. As I look at it, it starts to spin." Grandmother Willow, "A spinning arrow? How unusual!" Pocahontas, "Yes, it spins faster and faster and faster... until, suddenly, it stops." Grandmother Willow, "Well, it seems to me that this spinning arrow is pointing you down your path." Pocahontas, "But...what is my path? How am I ever going to find it?" Grandmother Willow, "Your mother asked me the very same question...and I told her to listen. All around you are spirits, child. They live in the earth, the water, the sky. If you listen, they will guide you." This leads into the song "Listen with Your Heart" in which Pocahontas listens to the wind and it tells her that "strange clouds" are coming. She climbs to the top of the tree and looks out and sees huge ship sails belonging to the VA Company and thinks they are strange clouds.
We leave Pocahontas and Grandmother Willow to see Radcliffe talking to his servant/attendant Wiggins (Stiers) as the ship sails up the river and he looks out of the windows of his cabin. His greed for gold is very apparent. When Wiggins asks, "Do you think we'll meet some savages?" Radcliffe replies, "If we do, we shall be sure to give them a proper English greeting." Wiggins, "Oh! Gift baskets!" Radcliffe turns aside and sighs, "And he came so highly recommended." Smith comes in and tells him that they've arrived and can pull the ship all the way up to the banks and everything is ready to go. Radcliffe tells Smith that he's counting on his help if they meet any savages and Smith reassures him that he can handle it. After Smith leaves the cabin Radcliffe whines that he is not the most popular guy at court but that once he shows everyone the gold he has gotten from the new world he will have success at last. WE watch the men getting off the ship and into rowboats as they go down the river and stare at everything because they are so amazed. Meanwhile Pocahontas is traveling towards them to find out who and what they are and so she spies on them as the anchor the ship and tie it to the banks. Smith leaves the other men to climb up to an outcropping to survey the area. Pocahontas watches him from behind a bush on that outcropping. Then Meeko almost causes Smith to find Pocahontas but Flit saves the day by attacking Smith so that Pocahontas can escape without being seen by them. Smith is called back down by his fellow crew members.
|Spying on Smith|
We find ourselves back in the village where Powhatan and Kekata are discussing the new arrivals in a longhouse. Kocoum volunteers to take their warriors and beat back the settlers but Powhatan wants to know more about these people before attacking them and so he sends men to observe the settlers from the trees as they make camp and hope that they do not intend to stay. We jump from here to Radcliffe setting a flag & its pole into the dirt and claiming the land for king and country and names the future settlement "Jamestown" in honor if King James the First. Percy, Radcliffe's small white pug-like dog, is taking a bath on the boat when Meeko comes in and steals his treats and runs off. Percy runs after Meeko who gets away when Percy falls into the dirt and mud. Radcliffe sends Smith off to locate where the savages might be since they haven't seen any since they got here. So Smith leaves, with Pocahontas shadowing him and Radcliffe breaks out the shovels and commands the men to start digging for gold. This is done during the song "Mine, Mine, Mine" where Radcliffe sings his dreams of glory whilst the men dig and Smith sings of how amazing this new world is to him and he has searched for a place like this from the beginning.
|Watching Smith get some water|
He is shocked and awed by her beauty as she stands there perfectly still but for her long black hair flowing around her in the gentle wind around them. Beautiful music is playing here. Smith steps off the rock into the water between them and sets his gun down and helmet down as he approaches her and then suddenly she runs away from him.
|Listen with your heart, you will understand.|
We go back to he indian village where Kekata is trying to heal the wounded warrior that Kocoum brought back but is unable to and says, "This wound is strange to me." Powhatan tells the others that they will fight the enemy but they will first call in every warrior in their nation so that they have a better chance at beating the settlers and driving them away form their land. He then steps out of the hut to address the gathering of all the natives in the village. He tells them, "These white men are dangerous. No one is to go near them.
Cut to Pocahontas and John Smith getting acquainted. They are talking about the names of things and how different they are from each other. Then Meeko dives into Smith's bag and starts eating his biscuits. Smith grabs him by the tail and holds him up to Pocahontas and says, "Hey! Is this bottomless pit a friend of yours?" Pocahontas takes Meeko and holds him in her lap and tells Smith his name. Then John Smith tries to give Meeko a handshake but Meeko thinks he's offering him food and turns his hand over to try and find it but gets mad when there is none. Then John has to explain a handshake to Pocahontas and she explains to him the way the natives say hello. Flit gets jealous and flies in between their hands to separate them. John Smith remembers Flit from before. Then Meeko steals John's compass. Pocahontas calls him to bring it back but John Smith says, "Don't worry. He can't hurt it." Then Meeko starts banging on a rock repeatedly and with strength. John then proceeds to chase him to try and save his compass. He is unsuccessful and gives up telling Meeko, "Call it a gift." He then tells Pocahontas what a compass does. "It tells you how to find your way when you get lost. But it's alright I'll get another one in London." Pocahontas asks about it and John Smith tells her what it's like and that they're going to build those type of buildings here. He then proceeds to insult the way their homes are made and tells Pocahontas that they'll show them how to make "decent" houses for them. Pocahontas is offended and tries to leave. John Smith calls to her, "Wait! There's so much we can teach you. We've improved the lives of savages all over the world." Pocahontas angrily exclaims, "Savages?" John Smith tries to back track by saying, "Not that you're a savage." Pocahontas, "Just my people." She tries to leave with her canoe but Smith holds it in place and she gives up and starts to climb the tree that's branches are hanging overhead. Smith tries to follow her and explain that the word savage means uncivilized and in essence keeps digging himself a hole until he ends up falling back down onto the ground trying to say what he means. Pocahontas jumps down and tells him, "What you mean is... not like you." This leads into the Oscar winning song "Colors of the Wind" wherein Pocahontas teaches him how to appreciate nature in it's natural beauty.
|"Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"|
"You can own the earth, and still all you'll own is earth until you can paint with all the colors of the wind." The song ends and they're back under the same tree they were under before, face to face, when Pocahontas hears the drums pounding from her village. She tells him she has to leave and he asks her to stay and then asks her if he could see her again. They look into each other eyes and John leans in towards Pocahontas as if to kiss her when she pulls away saying, "I have to go." Then she leaves and John stands watching her go.
Then we cut back to the men building the fort in the rain and mud. Smith is helping push a wall of logs up to add to the wall surrounding the fort, the one that keeps them all safe from the natives. The men are complaining to each other that they're slaving away while Radcliffe sits in his tent "happy as a clam."
|Radcliffe thinks the indians have the gold|
Cut to Radcliffe despairing in his tent that he's doomed. He can't understand why they haven't found any gold yet. Then when Wiggins comes in with a fake arrow-through-his-head Radcliffe has the idea that the indians are keeping it and that's why the settlers haven' found any. HE then goes out to find Smith who the men didn't see leave the fort so Radcliffe sends two men out to find and follow Smith and to shoot any indians. Cut to Percy chasing Meeko, who has stolen all of his dog treats, through the forest. Meeko hides and Percy goes the wrong direction. We cut to Flit who is being a lookout on the top of a cornstalk in a cornfield where Pocahontas and Nakoma are suppose to be picking corn. Powhatan comes and tells her she should be inside the village but the girls are picking corn for when the warriors arrive and instead Powhatan leaves and tells him that he'll send Kocoum to protect them. After he's gone Nakoma demands to be told what's going on. She knows Pocahontas is hiding something from her. Then Nakoma sees John Smith walk right into the same corn row that they are in and tries to warn her but instead Pocahontas runs over to Nakoma and puts her hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming for help. Then she and Smith run off after Pocahontas gets Nakoma to promise to not say anything about this. Kocoum arrives after they've left and Nakoma tells him that she hasn't seen Pocahontas. Kocoum tells her to tell Pocahontas to stop running off since Pocahontas listens to her. Nakoma scoffs as he walks away and says to herself, "Sure she does."
|Pocahontas keeps Nakoma from yelling when John Smith appears in the cornfield|
Cut to Grandmother Willow's tree where Meeko is lounging in his tree lair full of stolen items from the settlers and looking at a map while eating the dog treats he stole from Percy. Then we hear John Smith and Pocahontas talking and Meeko swings down on a vine to be with them. As they talk John Smith finds out that the only thing the indians have that looks like gold is corn and says the men won't be happy about that and some might leave. Pocahontas asks if he plans to leave but Smith assures her that, "it's not like I have much of a home to go back to. I've never really belonged anywhere." Pocahontas tells him, "You could belong here." Then we hear the wind echoing through the air and we hear voices singing the same melody of "Listen With Your Heart" but without singing any real words. John notices this and then sees Grandmother Willow's face looking at him for a moment but then he blinks his eyes and the face is gone. He's not sure if he really saw anything until Pocahontas tells him to look again. Then Grandmother Willow's face appears again and stays this time and tells him, "Hello, John Smith." Smith says, "Pocahontas, that tree is talking to me." Pocahontas, "Then you should talk back... say something." Smith, "What do you say to a tree?" Pocahontas, "Anything you want." Smith stand up and starts to say, "So..." when Grandmother Willow's vines push him closer to her face and she says, "Come closer, John Smith." She looks deep into his eyes then tells Pocahontas, "He has a good soul. And he's handsome, too!" Smith smiles and says, "Oh, I like her." Then they all hear the two men Radcliffe sent after John calling out and trying to find him. Grandmother Willow uses her tricks to scare the men away. John then takes his leave so that they won't send out the whole camp to find him but promises to meet Pocahontas back here later tonight. She talks with Grandmother Willow and makes a connection between her dream of the spinning arrow and thinks Smith is the one the arrow was pointing to.
|Talking to the tree|
We cut back to Smith walking through the forest being followed by Meeko. Meeko happens to pass the place where Percy ended up trapped in vines and then Percy breaks free and chases Meeko into a short hollow tree so that it looks like a weird creature with Meeko's head and front paw and Percy's back legs. They end up vertical and Meeko pulls himself out of the tree trunk and jumps onto Smith's shoulders. Percy stays stuck and falls down alone in the forest.
|Percy stuck in the tree log after Meeko escapes|
Cut to Smith arriving at the fort where Thomas almost shoots him. But Smith tells him that he wouldn't have hit him since he had one eye closed. He should use both eyes and that will help him see twice as well and hit whatever he's aiming at. Radcliffe comes out and demands to know where Smith's been and John says he's been scouting the terrain. Smith then finds out that Radcliffe plans to attack the indians and get the gold they're supposedly hoarding. John argues that there is no gold because Pocahontas told him. Radcliffe rolls his eyes and says that she was lying. John ends up yelling at Radcliffe and tells him that, "This is their land!" Radcliffe, "This is my land! I make the laws here. And I say anyone who so much as looks at an Indian without killing him on sight will be tried for treason and hanged."
Cut to Pocahontas running away from her village when she is stopped by Nakoma. Nakoma tells her, "Don't go out there. I lied for you once, don't ask me to do it again... If you go out there, you'll be turning your back on your own people." Pocahontas, "I'm trying to help my people." Nakoma, "Pocahontas, please, you're my best friend. I don't want you to get hurt."Pocahontas, "I won't. I know what I'm doing." And then Pocahontas runs off into the cornfield and away from the village.
|Nakoma tries to stop Pocahontas from leaving again and fails.|
Cut to Kocoum, who is sharpening a spear head when Nakoma comes up. She tells Kocoum that she's worried about Pocahontas and then he leaves to go after Pocahontas to make sure she's alright.
Cut to Pocahontas arriving at Grandmother Willow's tree and she tells her that the warriors are here and then John Smith comes up. He warns her that Radcliffe is planning to attack her people and that the men in the camp won't listen to him when he says there is no gold. He says, "Everything about this land has them spooked." Then we hear a howl coming from none other than Percy who is still stuck in that hollow log. Percy falls down the hill and ends up flying out of the log and into John's hands. From this position he sees Meeko and starts barking and chasing him. John remarks, "You see what I mean? Once two sides want to fight, nothing can stop them." Percy continues to chase Meeko until he ends up right in front of Grandmother Willow's face who tells him, "That's enough!" Percy then passes out and falls into the water. She pulls him out with one of her vines and Meeko and Percy sit there as Grandmother Willow speaks to the two humans. "There's something I want to show you. Look!" She uses a vine to poke the water and we see ripples come from that spot. Percy and Meeko look over into the water as well and she continues, "So small at first, then look how they grow. But someone has to start them." John, "They're not going to listen to us." Grandmother Willow, "Young man, sometimes the right path is not the easiest one. Don't you see? Only when the fighting stops can you be together." John takes both of Pocahontas's hands and says "All right. Let's go talk to your father." Pocahontas jumps and gives him a big hug which he returns. Grandmother Willow closes her vines so that the two have some privacy from the animals as they kiss.
Cut to a Point-of-View shot from Thomas's perspective of seeing the two of them kiss and then his shocked face. Cut back to Thomas's Point-of-View of John and Pocahontas. Then we see an extreme close up shot of Kocoum's chest with the red bear claws painted. The camera backs away so that we see his shocked and hurt face. Then we cut to his Point-of-View, seeing Pocahontas and John Smith kissing. It enrages him and he runs out from behind the bushes and attacks him. Pocahontas tries to stop him from killing John as Thomas loads his gun and runs closer to the fight in an effort to save John from Kocoum. John and Kocoum continue to struggle and Kocoum's knife gets closer and closer to Johns neck. So Thomas takes aim with one eye closed but before he shoots he remember's John's advice to keep both eyes open. So he opens his eyes, takes aim and shoots and kills Kocoum who staggers back and grabs Pocahontas's necklace as he falls into the pond, breaking it into many pieces. John yells at Thomas to leave while holding Pocahontas back from attacking him. Thomas leaves but sees other indian warriors come and capture Smith as he goes. The indians take John Smith away at spearpoint and Pocahontas kneels by Kocoum's head and helps to lift his body from the pond. We see a shot of Percy, Meeko and Flit hiding under Grandmother Willow's roots as they see what happens. Pocahontas follows the warriors and Meeko and Flit start to follow her but then turn back to Percy who is whimpering all by himself and silently communicate that he can come with them and so Percy and Meeko and Flit leave and the camera pans over to Pocahontas's mother's necklace lying on the ground broken into pieces.
|Pocahontas's broken necklace|
We see a warrior bring Kocoum's body before Powhatan and see John Smith taken captive. They believe he is the man who killed Kocoum and Powhatan declares that "At sunrise, he'll be the first to die!" Pocahontas runs up, "But Father!" He turns to her, "I told you to stay in the village. You disobeyed me. You have shamed your father!" Pocahontas, "I was only trying to help." Powhatan, "Because of your foolishness, Kocoum is dead! Take him away!" So the warriors take John Smith away and Powhatan leads the rest back to the village but Pocahontas does not go. Instead she falls to her knees on the ground. We see Nakoma come up to Pocahontas and tell her that she sent Kocoum after her because she was worried about her. Pocahontas says, "All this happened because of me. And now I'll never see John Smith again." Nakoma takes her hand and leads her to the tent where John Smith is tied to a pole inside. The warriors let her pass when Nakoma tells them that Pocahontas "wants to look into the eyes of the man who killed Kocoum," and tell her to be quick. So Pocahontas goes into the tent and tells John Smith, "I'm so sorry."There is beautiful music during this scene. Then she leans her head against his chest as he tries to comfort her even with his arms tied around a pole behind him. She says, "It would've been better if we'd never met. None of this would have happened." John tells her to, "Look at me. I'd rather die tomorrow than live a hundred years without knowing you." Nakoma calls Pocahontas who tells Smith, "I can't leave you." John, "You never will. No matter what happens to me, I'll always be with you. Forever." And then she reluctantly leaves.
Cut to Thomas arriving at the fort and telling them that the indians captured John Smith. Radcliffe uses this to propel the men to get ready for battle. He still thinks the indians have the gold. This is the start of the song "Savages Part I" in which we go back and forth between the two groups of men, the indians and the white men, who are all singing that the others are savages and that they will fight at dawn. The song ends as the smoke from the fire at the indians' village collides with the smoke from the settlers' fire and lighting strikes between them. We cut to Pocahontas sitting in front of Grandmother Willow and telling her what has happened. Pocahontas tells her that she must have been wrong about her dream and that she followed the wrong path. "I feel so lost." Meeko hears her say this and runs up to his lair and brings back down John Smith's compass and gives it to her. Percy sits beside Pocahontas and leans against her. Pocahontas really looks at the compass for the first time and sees "The spinning arrow." Grandmother Willow, "It's the arrow from your dream!" Pocahontas, "I was right. It was pointing to him!" Pocahontas stands as she looks but then see that sunrise has come. Grandmother Willow tells her, "It's not too late, child! Let the spirits of the earth guide you! You know your path, child. Now follow it!"
|I don't know what I can do, still I know I've got to try!|
|John uses his body to shield Chief Powhatan|
Then Radcliffe's men turn against him in a mutiny and have him chained and gagged. Thomas looks up and sees Pocahontas kneeling by Smith on the cliff with her father. Then we crossfade to a shot of the ship in the river and men loading it. We hear Thomas say, about John Smith, "The sooner he gets back to England, the better." As we see Radcliffe thrown into a rowboat and rowed to the ship we cut back to a shot of Wiggins saying, "And he came so highly recommended." (This is a reference to when Radcliffe said the same about Wiggins near the start of the film.)
We cut to John Smith lying on a stretcher/bed and when Pocahontas comes to say goodbye he asks her to come with him. Her father tells her to follow her own heart. So Pocahontas looks at John the at the two groups behind her and the gap between them. We see tears fall as she decides to sacrifice her happiness for the good of her people. She must stay to be the mediator between them since she started the ripples. As John is rowed out to the ship and loaded onto it Pocahontas runs to the very same cliff we saw her on at the very beginning of the movie. She stands and watches the ship leave while sending a farewell gesture with her arm and we see the wind go around her then to the ship where it goes around Smith and then fills up the sails and the ship sails further out to sea. We come back to a shot behind Pocahontas so that we see her standing on the cliff and the ship sailing out to sea. The picture freezes and goes back into a sepia toned painting like the one in the beginning, that started the movie. Then the credits roll.
|Scene before it changes into the sepia painting|
|The last scene in the movie.|
|A shot of Thomas after we see the couple from his POV|
The film techniques used in this film were very nicely done. I like the fact that the flow of the leaves through the wind carries us not only through the story but also between different scenes. Sometimes the camera would follow the wind to the next scene. I really liked the Point-of-View shots during the kiss scene. The points of view varied between Thomas and Kocoum. I liked the slow motion when John Smith jumps in front of Powhatan and takes a bullet in his side so that the chief wouldn't get hurt. There were a lot of wide shots showing the terrain and surrounding areas untouched by man's hands. There was a lot of color used to help emphasize the feelings of whoever was in the scene. There were dark blues and purples used during sad times and a lot of red used whenever there was a lot of anger going on. The music was superb in this film and really helped tie it all together. Of course it was great, Alan Menken wrote it. My very favorite Disney song of all time is the song played over the credits at the end of the movie called "If I Never Knew You." Originally it was in the film during the scene where Pocahontas goes to see John Smith in the hut where he is bound to a wood pole, but they had to cut it because of time constraints however you do hear the melody of the song during the scene and it just makes it that much more real and sad. It really helps you Identify with the characters.
|Rainbow of shots using color to set the mood in the film|
You should definitely go see this movie if you haven't already. It has wonderful music and interesting characters and very beautiful artistic backgrounds. Go see Disney's Pocahontas and you'll see a side of Disney showing something special.
|Screenshots from the movie in sequence|