Why a ‘Pocahontas’ remake could work

'Pocahontas' as she appears in the 1995 Disney film (Image via Disney)

Disney has already canned a live-action remake of the 1995 film Pocahontas. However, that doesn’t mean a remake couldn’t work with all the love and respect for the rich history that inspired it.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the views and opinions of the author.

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The live-action remakes have had a lot of undeserved mockery from critics and audiences. They have been described as soulless and inferior, but reinventing Pocahontas might change all of that.

Pocahontas is one of the most iconic historical figures to be associated with the Jamestown colony. She was also known for saving the life of John Smith and only lived until her early 20s.

Many scholars and fans believe that a remake would be impossible because of the racial sensitivity and subject matter. However, a bit of refining and detailing when making live-action remakes could change this belief.


What the Pocahontas remake needs

More historically accurate

Pocahontas and John Smith talking to Grandmother Willow (Image via Disney)
Pocahontas and John Smith talking to Grandmother Willow (Image via Disney)

The remake could do something that the other remakes haven’t. It could go by the real-life story more faithfully. With that in mind, the film may need a rating of PG-13 to be truly faithful to the source material while at the same time making it suitable for the Disney audience.

Moreover, if Disney decides to cast Native Americans rather than people in brown makeup, it should be a good fit for the kind of project they are trying to produce. This historically accurate depiction would mean letting the zany elements of the original go. It would involve respecting the history of the culture. Disney is great, but the 1995 Pocahontas didn’t seem to live up to the source material.


Lose the Songs

The 1995 film (Image via Disney)
The 1995 film (Image via Disney)

Mulan did the same thing, and people relentlessly ridiculed the film for it. However, if the filmmakers are looking for a more historically accurate depiction of the figure, ditching the songs might work in their favor. Songs and musicals can be seen in a more fantastical setting. The remake wouldn’t call for that if the filmmakers decide to take this seriously.

A more faithful Pocahontas wouldn’t casually be singing Just Around the Riverbend while floating around her boat. Furthermore, it seems off-putting to have a historical drama and have the colonists and Native Americans singing Savages as they sharpen their knives and load their guns. The songs may be more of a distraction than an addition. That’s how it seemed for the Mulan remake.


The sidekicks are unnecessary

The raccoon sidekick (Image via Disney)
The raccoon sidekick (Image via Disney)

Meeko, the raccoon and Flit, the hummingbird, might have been funny, but that’s the only thing they amounted to - comic relief. In every single film, a scene and/or character must be used to push the film’s plot forward. These characters, including Ratcliffe’s dog, don’t do that.

Mushu was cut from the Mulan remake because the remake had a more serious tone and direction. Also, nobody could replace Eddie Murphy in that role. If a remake of the 1995 film were to occur, a similar detail would be done with the characters, or they would be traded for a more prominent character with purpose.


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Edited by Shreya Das