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Analysis of Disney's Pocahontas Film Adaptation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 991 words Published: 4th Sep 2017

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The White Man’s Indian

Pocahontas is the 33rd movie that was produced by the Walt Disney Animation on 1995. The Disney Pocahontas focuses about the Native American culture and how the American settled in their village Powhatan which is now known as Virginia. In fact, the Pocahontas movie is based on a true story of a brave Powhatan woman who is whose original name was Matoaka who helped brought peace to her people and to the colonists who tried to settle in their land. The Disney movies was inspired by Matoaka’s story so, they made an animated version of it. The movie was praised because of the great animation and music but aside from that, it was also criticized because of historical inaccuracy. Roy Disney’s who’s the partner and co-founder of Walt Disney’s Company answered that their film was responsible, accurate and respectful. However, the Powhatan Nation wasn’t happy about the result of the movie because some part of the real story was altered in the name of entertainment. They also mentioned that they offered assist to Disney for cultural and historical accuracy but they were rejected. How Disney movie changed the real story of Pocahontas for entertainment and to make it more appropriate for all audiences. The changes that has been made in the story are clear. As an example of that is the age and appearance of Pocahontas and John Smith. Also, the love story that only existed in the Disney movies. And, how the Disney production never showed the part where Pocahontas died.

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Firstly, Pocahontas’ age and appearance was changed same as John Smith in the Disney’s version of Pocahontas. In the real story, Pocahontas was only 11 years old when she met John Smith who was already 28 years old by that time. John Smith is supposed to be a short man with a little bit of a chubby body. However, in the Disney movie, Pocahontas looked like she’s almost on the same age as John Smith who appears to be 22 years old. Furthermore, they created John Smith who looked like a common Disney prince charming that is tall, muscular, and handsome. They made this changes to make the two characters more relevant to each other and to make the story more romantic. Disney production did changed Pocahontas’ and John Smith’s character to make their roles more pleasing to watch and for them to build a story between the two of them.

Secondly, the love story that existed in the movies between Pocahontas and John Smith was only made up. In the Disney movie, Pocahontas fell in love by the bravery and kindness of John Smith by knowing her more and helped her brought peace to stop his people and Powhatan’s nation from fighting. Well in fact, the real story doesn’t say anything about Pocahontas and Smith being in love. Since Pocahontas was only 11 years old, and John Smith is 28 years old, it is impossible for them to fall in love. It is also confirmed that it is common for Powhatan Indian children to wear little or no clothing. So, they believed that Pocahontas was naked when she met John Smith. And John Smith would have seen her as a normal Indian child at that time. The real story only confirmed that Pocahontas saved John Smith from being beheaded by the Chief Powhatan and nothing deeper goes beyond that. It is a clear example that Disney’s production wanted to give the story enjoyable and entertaining for the audience.

Lastly, the Disney animation changed the part where Pocahontas went to England and eliminates the part where Pocahontas died. They excluded that part of the story to make the scene light for the audience to take in. An example of that was when Pocahontas volunteered to go to England to see the King and to stop them from fighting with Powhatan’s people. This is also the time where she met John Rolfe. She was imprisoned because of accusing the King. But was eventually saved by Smith and Rolfe. It was corrupted because the real story doesn’t tell this. The real story is that Pocahontas visited the England where she was held hostage and imprisoned. John Rolfe saw Pocahontas as attractive and took a special interest in her. As a condition of Pocahontas’ release she has to marry Rolfe who was commercializing tobacco. Moreover, Pocahontas died later as she planned to go back to Virginia with John Rolfe and their Son. But she got sick because she has no immunity in European diseases and died. However, the part where she died was never included because it would not fit to their previous Disney animation movies that have happy conclusions.

The changes that the Disney animations made in the story of Pocahontas like the age and appearance of Pocahontas and John Smith. Also, the love story that only existed in the Disney movies and how the Disney production never showed the part where Pocahontas died. But, they are more historical inaccuracy in the movies. That’s also the reason until now, it is still a big issue not only to Powhatan’s Nation but also the Native American people. All Disney movies are created with a happy conclusion to make us believe that which doesn’t likely to happen in real life. Disney movies only proves that their altered story was meant to entertain us.

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