Forget the humongous hype; it's the only thing about this picture that doesn't work.
Disney's 33rd animated feature is so good that it deserves to follow in the beautiful
footsteps of "Beauty and the Beast" and earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Loosely
based on the tale of the Powhatan princess (speaking voice by Irene Bedard; singing voice
by Judy Kuhn) and the 17th century English explorer, Captain John Smith (Mel Gibson does
the voice and gamely tries a few songs), "Pocohantas" has just about everything going for
it, from the wondrous score and gorgeous forest-primeval palette to the subtle character
animation and not-so-subtle (but certainly welcome) message of racial tolerance and
ecological good behavior. The real surprise is how romantic the darn thing is; when
Pocohantas and John Smith finally kiss, it's the most sensual meeting of animated lips
since Lady and the Tramp collided over a strand of spaghetti. As for the supposed
historical liberties taken, well, yes, Pocohantas looks like a Native American "Baywatch"
babe and not a 12-year-old and, yes, there's no historical basis for a romance. But I'll
bet wart hogs and lions don't hang out together on the Serengeti either, as they do in "The