Making the Grades
First, forget about history. Like the original Disney Pocahontas, you need to consider the merits of this movie independent from the real world. If you want to teach children about British colonization of the Americas, pull out an encyclopedia or find a good documentary, because in Pocahontas, all characters are fictional (even if their names have not been changed to protect their identity).
The movie opens presumably a few years after the last one closed. There is a cute little village on the shore where Ratcliff's original crew landed and rumor has it that John Smith is dead. A new ship has just pulled in with the dashing John Rolfe (voice of Billy Zane) at the helm. Rolfe, more of a 90's guy than Smith was, is seeking to bring the "great chief" Pocahontas back to England to meet King James. He reluctantly returns with our heroine who, upon her arrival in London, discovers the King's plan to send an armada to her continent with the intentions of defeating the "savages" and claiming their gold.
The usual moral lessons are included in this version. While Pocahontas teaches about appreciating nature and loving animals, Rolfe helps her to understand honor and what it means to "give your word". Later Pocahontas chooses to risk her life by appealing to King James and imploring him not to wage war on her people.
One of the better Disney direct-to-video releases, Pocahontas II has some interesting songs (although none of the tunes were memorable a few hours later) and writing that is a nice blend of comedy and drama. Mrs. Jenkins (voice of Jean Stapleton), Rolfe's nearsighted housekeeper, is especially fun as is Pocahontas's bodyguard Uttamatomakin -- a native who is long on stature but short on words. And of course the sidekicks Meeko and Percy accompany Pocahontas for additional humor relief aimed directly at young viewers.
Just in case your children think all is well, you may want to explain the tragic reality of Pocahontas. This movie is a fun tale, but parents need to be cautious that Disney's stories aren't mistaken for anything but fiction.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Pocahontas II: Journey To The New World.
To learn more about the real life of Pocahontas, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocahontas