These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Acceptable Ethnic Targets: The lyrics to Savages had to be changed when concerns about racism toward the Indians came up (see Unfortunate Implications below). However, everyone seemed to be fine with the prejudice of the Indians toward the white settlers.
One ad for the film consisted of nothing but the song "Colors of the Wind" in its entirety. Out of context, it comes across as even more preachy.
Broken Base: The movie itself is one, moreso than any other entry in the Disney Renaissance: one side will paint it as a beautiful, Scenery Porn-laden fable with a love story worthy of a live action film and simply had the bad luck to directly follow The Lion King. The other will paint it as a pretentious, preachy and boring movie with a lame villain, dull protagonists and an unmemorable story.
Contested Sequel: Some fans may like that this movie attempts to be historically accurate by pairing Pocahontas up with John Rolfe and having her go to England. Others are of the opinion that, if the first movie was going to be historically accurate, it would never have paired Pocahontas and John Smith up in the first place, and that Disney should have left the shippers alone.
Because he was originally Ratcliffe's dog, Percy is expected to be viewed as a villain, even though he's really just a victim bystander along for the ride. Meeko started all of the conflicts.
Ratcliffe himself could be seen as this for most of the movie, where he's mostly a greedy, xenophobic Jerkass who isn't any more unreasonable than Powhatan, until the very end when he crosses the line by trying to shoot the Indians when they've already agreed to peace.
Die for Our Ship: The Disney fanbase bashes John Rolfe for ending up with Pocahontas instead of Smith. Either that, or they act as if the sequel doesn't exist and keep shipping John Smith/Pocahontas.
Fanon Discontinuity: Never before has there been a Disney movie that's received more fangirl hate than the sequel, for obviousreasons. Disney has unfortunately made it harder for fans to disregard the sequel by releasing it and its predecesor on the same Blu-Ray Disc.
Hate Dumb: A lot of people criticising the movie purely for the historical inaccuracies forget that a) it's a Disney film and b) the filmmakers stressed that they were adapting the legend of Pocahontas rather than actual facts.
Mel Gibson voices someone who reconciles two warring races and falls in love with a woman of another ethnicity, and Christian Bale plays a meek, gentle and not-exactly-prone-to-violence-or-anger sailor. Fast-forward ten-fifteen years and Mel Gibson is yelling racial slurs at a certain race in general and his girlfriend in particular, and Christian Bale has become infamous for an on-set rant at the director of photography.
The line "The ladies at court will be all a-twitter" in "Mine, Mine, Mine" has become a lot funnier with the ascension of Twitter.
Christian Bale would also go on to play Pocahontas' husband John Rolfe ten years later in The New World. Also Irene Bedard's Pocahontas has a Missing Mom as motivation. Irene Bedard would also play Pocahontas's mother in that same film.
Inferred Holocaust: Kind of. The film ends with a "happy ending" in which the settlers and natives come to terms with each other. Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of history knows this will last about three seconds before relations go south for about 300 years.
Unless you count the film as complete fiction and interpret the ending as the settlers permanently returning to England. After all, there was no gold in Virginia, so why would they stay? Again, only if you regard the film as fiction.
The sequel does address this as there's now a proper British settlement in Virginia but tensions between the settlers and natives are still high. Not to mention Pocahontas has to attempt to stop an Armada led against her people.
Moral Event Horizon: Ratcliffe wasn't well liked as mentioned being The Scrappy among the Disney Villains below, but he crossed it when he still decides to attack the natives even after Powhatan spares John Smith.
Ratcliffe is an unusual example in that, as a villain, he's meant to be disliked. However, he's disliked for a different reason than most other Disney Villains - he just isn't cool enough or menacing enough. Like the rest of the movie, he had the bad luck to be following The Lion King, which had Scar, who not only was more effective and menacing as a villain, but far cooler. To add insult to injury, Ratcliffe was followed by a villain who was even MORE evil than Scar: Frollo, who was succeeded by the genuinely likeable and coolHades, who was followed by Shan Yu, Plus, the Disney Renaissance had previously given us Faux Affably Evil villains like McLeach and Jafar, the absolutely terrifyingUrsula, and the Memetic Badass that is Gaston. Ratcliffe just couldn't cut it compared to the otherwise-stellar track record of Disney Renaissance villains.
And in the end, Ratcliffe ended up the most hated villain of all Renaissance villains to a lot of kids who grew up in the 90s and 00s. Why, you ask? Because he ruined a perfectly good happy ending and wasn't likeable/cool enough to make up for it.
Ratcliffe is Rescued from the Scrappy Heap for some in the DTV sequel of all things due to being a more competent threat there as opposed to just a greedy buffoon.
This version of the song can be heard on the soundtrack, however...
You can argue that this was kind of the point, they wanted to make it so that it was obvious that both sides' actions were based on ridiculous prejudices, and a few negative occurrences. It was supposed to be racist.
The intentionally-just-as-racist lines from the other side were all apparently fine though.
Have you ever heard of a false dichotomy?
How is it false to want both sides to be fair? Either both should get to be equally racist or neither should. It isn't about whether it's all right to slur Native Americans, but about whether in the context of the film either side had a right to be prejudiced—and they didn't. Suspicious, concerned, wary, yes, but not prejudiced. Certainly not against a race as a whole.
When John Smith says "See? When those two wanna fight there's no stopping them", which refers to both Meeko's and Percy's conflict and the conflict between the English and Native Americans. Um, no: The reason why the Native Americans fought was to protect their land, families, and entire way of life. The reason why the English fought was because they wanted land. John Smith couldn't have said anything more inaccurate and insensitive if he tried.
The whole "Meeko and Percy" metaphor also has several flaws. Throughout the entire movie, Meeko (who represents the Native Americans) steals things from Percy (who represents the English). Um, shouldn't it be the other way around? Oops.
And he does things like... steal his bowl of cherries. That bastard!
To be fair, in real life Powhatan's tribe actually started the conflict by attacking the English because Powhatan thought they were a threat to him spoken of in a prophecy. This is most likely the one incident where the Native Americans actually were the instigators of the fight, so if Smith's comment is to be taken as the conflict between Native Americans and settlers as a whole, then it doesn't really work.
One? Try at least five.
Then again, Smith is (at least in the context of the movie) ultimately proved wrong, as both fights end up being peacefully resolved.
And said resolution, being different from how things actually turned out, in a movie that was promoted by Disney as their first "movie based on history" (as opposed to an Alternate History) and viewed by many children before actually learning the real history, could be considered an unfortunate implication in and of itself.
The movie features Disney's first interracial couple...who are also their only couple who end up apart.
Values Dissonance: The clash of cultures was inevitable. However, it's played up a lot more in the sequel, where Pocahontas is shocked that a bear is chained up, and calls the Europeans "Savages" for torturing an animal for personal entertainment (which naturally resonates with modern audiences).
"The rest of you, take out your shovels! It's time to start digging!" In Virginia. For gold. At a random spot in the middle of the woods. Yeah, great plan, Ratcliffe!
No gold is found. The natives inform the invaders gold isn't a known thing in their land. What is Ratcliffe's "logical" reaction? "THE INDIANS ARE HIDING THE GOLD LET'S ATTACK THEM!"
Kocoum was told the white men were dangerous and carried sticks that could shoot fire - he saw the effect of it himself when his friend Nanuteck was shot in the leg. So what does he do when he sees John Smith kiss Pocahontas? Charge screaming.
Oh, no! John Smith has just been shot! What will you do, O great leader Thomas? Why, send him back on a five-month-long voyage to England with inadequate medical care! What a wise and just leader!