Every now and then, there comes a time when all is right with the world, a time when it seems like all of your dreams are coming true. For me, August was one of those times, all because of my favorite Native American princess, Pocahontas.
I was born in 1994, less than a year before Walt Disney’s thirty-third animated feature, Pocahontas, came out in 1995. Since the beginning, my favorite Disney heroine and I were on the same path. This was my most-watched film growing up, and the only princess dress I wanted to wear was hers.
After the new millenium, this movie wasn’t often promoted. It’s hard to find Pocahontas characters in the parks or merchandise in the stores. That’s why when my parents and I flew out to California for D23’s Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animation, I wasn’t expecting much more than hearing “Pocahontas” mentioned only a few times. She ultimately ended up with more than just a mention, though. In the presentation, “The Greatest Disney Animation You Never Saw,” Pocahontas had her own segment that explained Walt Disney’s adaptation of another Native American story, Hiawatha. (The video is found in the Bonus Features on the Pocahontas 3-Disc Combo Pack.) This segment made me appreciate Pocahontas even more because I knew Walt Disney himself was interested in a similar story.
The next night was the event I was most excited for: Alan Menken’s concert. All of his music is a great inspiration in my life, and I knew that even if he didn’t play a single song from Pocahontas, I wouldn’t be too disappointed. As it turned out, he performed songs from nearly every show and movie in his career, including Pocahontas. He performed a deleted song called “Middle of the River” that featured Native American lyrics, and continued with “Colors of the Wind,” the first song written for the film that inspired its entire direction. The whole concert was surreal, beautiful, and inspiring. I was even lucky enough to share it sitting between one of my best friends, Nicole Siscaretti, and my mom. But what made this concert so unbelievable and unforgettable was the encore. Alan Menken returned to the stage, and a new slide on the projector appeared with images from Pocahontas. His final song was the love theme, “If I Never Knew You.” This was one of the most emotional moments of my life. My favorite movie, composer, love song, and people were all living in this one perfect moment. I left Destination D with a smile on my face and in my heart. For a Walt Disney Animation fan, there is nothing better than seeing one’s favorite film honored in such a historic way.
Less than two weeks later, I found myself rushing to Target with only one goal in mind: to purchase the rereleased version of Pocahontas on Blu-Ray. I wasn’t even aware this was happening anytime soon until a great friend, Suzannah DiMarzio, informed me at Destination D.
For one of Pocahontas’ greatest fans, this month was perfect. It reminded me of not only how moving Disney animation in general can be, but also how important the themes in Pocahontas are for all of us to remember. We must listen with our hearts, let the spirits of the earth guide us, and paint with all the colors of the wind. There is so much more to life than being comfortable and staying on the smoothest course. I cherish these renewed lessons of truth above all the wonderful moments of this month. Like a compass, may these memories and this film be a guide in the months ahead.
If you think Pocahontas is a film that needs greater representation throughout the Disney company, make it known by commenting below, tweeting me @MickeyWaffle71, and most importantly, buying the DVD or Blu-Ray while it’s out in stores. The quality is stunning, and it has some great extra features than any Disney or animation lover will enjoy.Share