|Running Time||70:12 minutes|
Warner Home Video
David Ogden Stiers
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384
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|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
A very, very good video transfer.
A very, very good audio transfer.
A shockingly non-existent extras package.
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
24th September 2000
|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|