Friday, May 31, 2013

Disney's "Pocahontas"

Just like any other American girl, I love Disney Princess movies. But rather than talk about all of them here, I'll just go one by one (come on, I've still got about 200 blog posts to write!).

I recently saw that Pocahontas was on Netflix, so naturally I had to stop whatever I was doing and immediately watch it. There are many reasons I love this movie: I like the story, Mel Gibson does a great job as the voice of John Smith, and it's just a pretty film to watch. But the #1 reason I like Pocahontas is the soundtrack. Of course that goes for many Disney films, so I'll break it down for you.

I like how the songs in this film aren't about love (I hear enough of those on the radio, thank you very much). Songs like "Steady as the Beating Drum" and "Just Around the River Bend" are songs about how to lead to your life. Are you steady and stable, resisting change because you know what works for you? Or are you always waiting for what's next, seeking out new and different experiences? From my previous blog posts I'm sure you can peg me into one category (ahem). "Listen with Your Heart" is about being true to yourself, doing what feels right; that will lead you to your destiny. I frequently contemplate my life choices, what my future holds for me, etc., and songs like this are a fun way to ponder these serious thoughts.

Many of the songs are quite political. "Mine, Mine, Mine" is about the Europeans' greed for gold in the New World (love the play-on-words, as "mine" can be the possessive or the verb). "Colors of the Wind" (arguably the most famous song of the movie) exemplifies the parallels between the two cultures and their view of Nature (yes, Nature with a capital N). I took a class in college called "Wilderness, Culture and Environmental Conservation," and it was easily the best course I ever took. We read about how the Native Americans adapted to Nature, and while using its resources, continued to respect Mother Earth. Europeans on the other hand were of the "Judeo-Christian" ethic. Genesis in the Bible pretty much says that God created Earth for mankind to procreate and prosper; they believed the land was theirs and could do what they wanted with (or to) it. "Savages" continues with the dichotomy of the two cultures. The Europeans saw the Native Americans as wild beasts to be tamed (or hunted); the Native Americas saw the Europeans as unnatural, like machines, even stating "I wonder if they even bleed."

This difference in cultures is both a blessing and a curse for the human race. While it's fascinating to learn about other societies (i.e. Anthropology, and I'm not talking about the store), and discover their worldviews and how they celebrate humanity, the fact that we are different scares us. This is especially true in America: we fear Muslims, we fear Communists, we fear illegal immigrants. I'm not saying these fears aren't valid. But I think it's fair to say that these differences between us are what lead to war and death, and I believe will be the cause for human annihilation (if global warming doesn't get to us first. But that's for another post...).

Sorry for the tangent. But it's it amazing how an innocent Disney movie can bring to the forefront such deep, political, and serious issues?

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