Pocahontas II

Journey To A New World

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Details At A Glance

Category Family None
Year Released 1998
Running Time 70:12 minutes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Bradley Raymond
Tom Ellery
Walt Disney Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring Irene Bedard 
Jim Cummings
Donal Gibson
Finola Hughes
Linda Hunt
Russell Means
David Ogden Stiers
Jean Stapleton
Billy Zane
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Lennie Niehaus

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Hebrew (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Greek (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Icelandic (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.33:1
Macrovision ?Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    In the worst traditions of Buena Vista, we once again see the infinitely inferior sequel released first up rather than the vastly more preferable original. In this instance, though, it is less of a problem since the original, Pocahontas, was not one of the best to have come out of the Disney studios. Indeed, the voters on the Internet Movie Database have rated the two films as being of reasonably equal worth. Still, this is a straight to video effort, which is usually a good indication of the worth of the film.

    This effort picks up after the return of John Smith to England from the New World. Although broadly based upon the true story of Pocahontas, this takes far more than the usual liberties that Disney force upon such stories. John Smith is wanted for treason following the false claims made by one Ratcliffe to King James, and is presumed to be dead after a chase across the roof tops of London. As a result of the lies of Ratcliffe, an armada is being raised to venture to the New World to take the gold supposedly there in abundance - and to rid the colonies of the savages. At the same time, one John Rolfe is in the New World to seek the chief to return to England to meet King James. He thinks the chief's name is Pocahontas and so when she agrees to return to England as an envoy, he has little choice but to accept. In England she attempts to meet the expectations of King James by attending the Hunt Ball as a lady. But when the savage court uses a baited bear as entertainment, she jumps to protect the bear thereby earning her arrest and incarceration in the Tower of London. Naturally, John Rolfe seeks to get her out, and does so with the aid of the now reappeared John Smith (you really did not think the hero would die in the first five minutes of a Disney film do you?). Pocahontas then goes before King James as herself to argue her case, and then returns to the New World - with John Rolfe at her side.

    We will not worry about the fact that the real story was that Pocahontas converted to Christianity in 1612, married John Rolfe in the colonies in 1613 and returned to London with him in 1616, where she was received by royalty as royalty, and where she died of smallpox in 1617. Disney never let the truth get in the way of a good story! Whilst most of the cast from Pocahontas returns for this effort, the notable exception is in the role of John Smith, where the very unique voice of Mel Gibson is replaced by his younger brother Donal Gibson. A minor change it may be but an obvious one it is to try and cover! Still, with material as weak as this it probably does not make that much difference. Totally formulaic in approach - some great animation, a few decent songs and a happy ever after ending - this effort really suffers because of it. So much so, that even the obvious bits where cute animals do funny things to keep everyone amused really come across as contrived attempts to insert bits with cute animals doing funny things to keep us amused. In other words, this is so obvious that you can see the whole thing coming five pages of the script before it actually happens. Still, the animation is generally very good (although I do have a problem with the rather simplistic snow covering on the trees) and demonstrates why Disney still do it better than anyone else in the main.

    This is certainly not a Disney classic, but I suppose that it serves some purpose - I just fail to understand at the moment what that purpose actually is. Add this to the ever growing pile of Buena Vista releases that can be cheerfully ignored until they appear in a budget price range.

Transfer Quality


    Since this is a straight to video effort, the transfer is presented in a Full Frame format and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    I may have some qualms about the story content but there are certainly no qualms about the video transfer quality. This is a superb effort which, barring a glaring sequence between 28:30 and 29:30 that is decidedly out of focus, is as wonderfully sharp and detailed a transfer as we could wish for. That sequence of one minute really does let the whole thing down badly, though. I really thought my eyesight had gone for good when I got to it, but it was soon apparent that the sequence was subtly out of focus and rather noticeably so. This is a great pity as everything else is so good otherwise. The transfer is very clear and there is no problem with grain at all in the transfer. There was no problem with low level noise in the transfer.

    This is a wonderful looking transfer from a colour point of view. Some wonderfully lush colours are on offer here, wonderfully vibrant and well up with the quality we expect from recent Disney animated films. This really does look very good indeed. There is no hint of oversaturation nor colour bleed here at all.

    There are no MPEG artefacts in the transfers. There are no film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There are no film artefacts in the transfer. It really is that well done.

    The packaging claims that this is an RSDL formatted disc. The packaging is in error, as this is most definitely a single layer, single sided disc.

    Even by the mediocre standards of Buena Vista, just one subtitle option is a weak effort.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are a multitude of soundtracks on this DVD - seven to be precise. There is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and six Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded efforts in Portuguese, Hungarian, Czech, Hebrew, Greek and Icelandic. I naturally stuck to the English default.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout. The usual animation audio sync problems exist.

    The musical score comes from Lennie Niehaus and is a decidedly average, in-house-sounding effort. It is acceptable enough, but not really distinctive. The songs come from the pens of Marty Panzer and Larry Grossman, and they are again decently acceptable and nothing more.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is, however, something very, very good indeed, especially early on with some quite wonderful rear channel use providing a lot of ambience to the film. Surround channel use in general was very good, and as is typical for these sorts of releases, the bass channel was suitably restrained so as not to upset the kiddies. Other than that, this soundtrack provides a nice open, spacious sound that is quite distinctly better than most soundtracks that come from this source.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The packaging claims that there is an extra on this DVD. Shock, horror, gasp...get me my heart tablets. Unfortunately, what the packaging claims and the reality of the situation are distinctly different things. There is no theatrical trailer on this DVD, despite the claims made by Buena Vista on the packaging.


    Yes it has one but there is no need to worry about it.

R4 vs R1

    The only apparent difference between the Region 1 version and the Region 4 version is that the Region 1 version has a Disney DVD book on it, whatever that may be. I would doubt that it would be anything to really rave over, especially as the general video quality of the NTSC releases in the Region 1 Disney Gold Collection have by all accounts been not too hot. If you really want this film, I would think that sticking with the Region 4 release may be the best option.


    Pocahontas II is another inferior sequel from Buena Vista to appear on DVD first, and another Buena Vista DVD that can be left languishing on the shelf until it drops in price. $36 for just over seventy minutes of film (and six and a half minutes of that is the end credits) and no extras is not value for money, and this effort takes just a few too many liberties with the original story than I would like.

    A very, very good video transfer.

    A very, very good audio transfer.

    A shockingly non-existent extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
24th September 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL