For a studio that made a lot of movies featuring dogs, including one with 101 of one of them playing an integral role in the plot, there haven’t been a lot of memorable Disney dogs. For my money, the best out of all of them is this sassy, cherry eating pug. He’s cute, has personality, and, despite never saying a word, actually goes through a full character arc. Also, though morally questionable, his traditional Native American garb at the end is absolutely adorable.
2. Meeko is cute as hell too
To balance out it’s darker themes, Pocahontas has not one adorable animal sidekick, but two. (Well, actually there are three, but that little bird thing can get fucked as far as I’m concerned.) The raccoon Meeko is not only adorable, but his desire for food provides a great foil for Percy, and together, their antics lighten the movie enough that they can still talk about racism and shit for the rest of the movie, and it’s still palatable for the young ones.
3. Ratcliffe’s design is secretly great
Ratcliffe is a pretty forgettable villain as far as Disney goes. (Let’s be real, the real villain of this movie is racism.) That said, what he lacks in personality, he more than makes up for in design. He’s like….HELLA GROSS. He’s viscerally upsetting to look at. As far as a symbol of the greed of colonialism goes, you’re not gonna find anything better than this ugly fuck.
4. Wiggins is a gay icon
Like Meeko and Percy, Ratcliffe’s flamboyant assistant Wiggins provides some levity to to the otherwise heavy film. He doesn’t serve much purpose to the plot, but I love him.
5. Christian Bale gives a star making performance
Can you project charisma by only using your voice? I wouldn’t have thought so until I saw Christian Bale play Thomas in this movie. He doesn’t do a whole lot (besides kill a guy) but he manages to be an oddly compelling character. Without just a brief amount of screen time, he manages to show everyone why he’d one day become a huge star.
6. The grandma is a tree Which is cool as hell
This is badass. Does it make sense? Not particularly. That said, it does provide a nice touch of magic to the movie in a way that makes it feel special and uniquely Disney. It’s also an easy thing to point to when people try to tell you that the movie is not an accurate depiction of Pocahontas’s actual life, because it shows that Disney was clearly just trying to tell a good story.
One of my great joys in life is impossibly delicious looking food from animated films, and this biscuit ranks up there with that loaf of bread that Aladdin gives those orphans. I’m sure it isn’t as delicious as I’ve built it up in my head, but I still wish I could try it.
8. The soundtrack has some hits
Now for some more substantial stuff. Let’s start with the film’s soundtrack which is good as hell. I know it’s good because even dummies who try to write Pocahontas off as a lesser Disney movie probably know at least one of them. Name a song from Brother Bear, dicks. Hell, even the song about how everyone who looks different from you is a savage bops if you ignore the lyrics.
9. The animation is GORGEOUS
Whoever made this movie sure as shit knew how to paint with all the colors of the wind. From the lush color palette to the repeated use of leaves blowing in the wind, this movie is beautiful and looks like nothing else in the Disney canon.
10. Shit gets REAL
I think the movies greatest strength is also the reason that it turns a lot of people of: It’s pretty intense. People are shot. Fiances die. Racial epithets are thrown around with reckless abandon. The movie has something to say and it says it in a way that doesn’t compromise it’s message in favor of being palatable. It takes an unflinching look at problems that still plague us to this day, and though it has a conclusion, it doesn’t try to pedal easy answers. You can’t say that about a lot of kids movies.
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