Who doesn’t want a talking tree, a raccoon and a hummingbird as pets? Who doesn't want to be able an able to paint with all the colours of the wind? And don’t lie, you just sang that last bit! June 23rd marked the 20th anniversary of Disney’s 33rd animated feature film, that trickled through the globe. That film was Pocahontas. The songs were gorgeous and the story was fun, giving a few teachable moments, as per usual with Disney. While the film wasn’t entirely historically accurate (come on now, this is Disney), it was one of the studios artistically best.
While the film received mixed reviews, it was a success with audiences. Pocahontas was highly praised for its stunning animation and visuals and the music whilst being highly criticized. Pocahontas ended up winning two Academy Awards (Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Colours of the Wind), and a sequel, entitled Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World was released several years later. Pocahontas was one of the first films to use a big named star (Mel Gibson) to voice an animated character, potentially to attract audience, following on from films such as Aladdin (Robin Williams) and The Great Mouse Detective (Vincent Price). Several attractions were created at the Disney Parks, including meet and greets with the characters of the film and shows centering around nature and animals.
We all know what Mel Gibson is (or isn’t) up to these days, but what about the rest of the cast? Irene Bedard (speaking voice of Pocahontas) voiced Pocahontas again in the sequel. She has appeared in other films including The New World (coincidentally playing Pocahontas’s mother) and several television shows. Judy Kuhn (singing voice of Pocahontas) recently received her fourth Tony nomination for Fun Home. She has appeared in numerous films, television and stage shows since Pocahontas, including Enchanted, Law & Order: SVU, and more. Judy also originated the role of Cosette in Les Miserables on Broadway.
David Ogden Stiers (Ratcliffe & Wiggins) is primarily known to TV watchers for his role in the television show M*A*S*H as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III. However, to film fans, he’s primarily known as the voice of numerous animated characters. These include Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast, the Archdeacon in Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Jumba Jookiba in Lilo & Stitch. Perhaps the most famous cast member, aside from Gibson, is Christian Bale, who provided the voice of Thomas. Christian has appeared in a variety of films since Pocahontas was initially won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his role as Dicky Eklund in 2010’s The Fighter.
Pocahontas taught us to paint with the colours of the wind and to listen with our hearts. It is considered, artistically, one of Disney's best. It’s funny how fast time flies.
Almost like colours of the wind.