Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
YMMV: Pocahontas
  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: The lyrics to "Savages" had to be changed when concerns about racism toward the Indians came up. However, everyone seemed to be fine with the prejudice of the Indians toward the white settlers.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Kocoum: brave, strong, deeply concerned for Pocahontas' well being and unfairly dismissed by her? Or a xenophobic, aggressive idiot prone to violent solutions who couldn't take no for an answer?
    • Nakoma: a good and caring friend who deserves no blame for what happened, or meddlesome and ignorant to Pocahontas' true feelings?
  • Angst? What Angst?: "I've been through worse scrapes than this." Although he was probably just faking nonchalance to reassure Pocahontas.
  • Anvilicious: "They're not like you and me, which means they must be evil."
    • Given that the director of the film came up with the idea after seeing the 1992 LA Riots, one could argue Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
    • 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.
  • Awesome Music: Alan Menken scored the film, and boy did he deliver. "Farewell" is especially powerful. "Colors of the Wind" may be a Base Breaker but it's still pretty darn awesome. "Steady As The Beating Drum" is also quite underrated.
  • 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.
  • Critical Research Failure: While the first movie at least admitted to being a straight up legend rather than incredibly accurate, the sequel has its fair share of unintentional goofs. For example, in one of the musical numbers, William Shakespeare is seen being writing the script for Hamlet....except that in the movie's timeline, Hamlet was already written and performed at least half a decade by then. There's also the fact that the King and his subjects are enjoying a bear bating, which, instead of pitting dogs against a bear tied up to a stake, is replaced with two jesters poking a bear with pitch forks.
  • Designated Hero: Simply being the heroine's pet makes Meeko a "good guy" despite his downright sadistic actions toward Percy and, to an extent, Our Man Flit.
  • Designated Villain:
    • 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/history doesn't exist and keep shipping John Smith/Pocahontas.
  • Ear Worm: Three words: Mine, Mine, Mine.
    • Que, que, natora, you will understand.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: If there's one character everybody loves, it's Grandmother Willow.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Never before has there been a Disney movie that's received more fangirl hate than the sequel, for obvious reasons. Disney has unfortunately made it harder for fans to disregard the sequel by releasing it and its predecessor on the same Blu-ray Disc.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Ratcliffe's little pink bows and pigtails. And let's not get started on the solid gold outfit he wears in his Dream Sequence.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In America this movie was mostly met with So Okay, It's Average. Meanwhile in Norway this was one of the most successful movies of the Disney Renaissance, rivaling The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and has only clearly beaten by The Lion King and Aladdin in terms of popularity. It did quite well in the rest of Europe too.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • 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.
    • Ratcliffe and Wiggins both seem to have an Ambiguously Gay status. Both characters were voiced by David Ogden Stiers, who would later come out as being gay himself.
    • 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.
    • Also about Christian Bale, the Memetic Mutation "BATMAN SHOT KOCOUM"
    • Thomas is the hero Jamestown deserves.
  • Ho Yay: John and Thomas, for a certain section of the fandom.
    • Pocahontas and Nakoma.
  • 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.
  • Love It or Hate It: 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.
  • 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.
  • Narm:
    • During the song, "Savages", it gets a bit too dramatic when Ratcliffe and the settlers are seen projected on a waterfall.
      • And the random entourage of birds and animals, including a deer, that follow Pocahontas as she races to save John Smith.
    • The way Thomas says "You shot him!" when Ratcliffe shoots John Smith.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Christian Bale as Thomas.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Pocahontas herself gets this a lot with regards to Kocoum. While it can be argued that she didn't give him much interest, people treat her as some manipulative harlot and portray Kocoum as the Dogged Nice Guy. They call Pocahontas kissing John Smith as "stabbing him in the back". This is ignoring that Pocahontas had no romantic interest in Kocoum at all and she was just told she would be marrying him - she had no say in it at all. And Kocoum most likely only wanted to marry her because she was The Chief's Daughter.
  • The Scrappy:
  • Signature Song: "Colors of the Wind". Helped along by the earliest trailers for the film consisting of nothing but this song (and Pocahontas introducing herself to John).
  • So Okay, It's Average: A more common reception nowadays, while not very many people are able to claim that this is a masterpiece, there are thousands of people who agree that it's no where near Disney's worst offering.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Yes, it was probably the weakest of the Disney Animated Canon entries of the 90s, but it also had to follow up on The Lion King.
  • 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).
  • Vindicated by History: Not to the extent of some other Renaissance movies like The Rescuers Down Under, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules but reception to this movie has warmed slightly. This is due to a variation of Seinfeld Is Unfunny - this was one of the first animated films to fictionalise actual historical events and other films would later do similar things such as Anastasia. It is also received better by the children who were fans of it when it first came out and still embrace it now they're older.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Pocahontas herself. She had 55 animators involved in designing her and is regarded as one of the most beautifully and realistically animated Disney characters. Her movements were helped by Rotoscoping.
  • What an Idiot:
    • "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!

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy