Much like my old article where I compared Ariel and Merida, I decided to continue it after quite a few years. But this time it's me comparing movies that are similar, though not something I'm planning on making a habit of. So far, I'm just going to be doing Pocahontas vs Anastasia and Sleeping Beauty vs The Swan Princess. We'll see where it goes from there. We'll be starting with, by popular demand, Pocahontas vs Anastasia. First of all, I'm not going to bring up the historical inaccuracy of the two films because that's just really pointless. They're not meant to be educational, they're meant to be entertaining, which they definitely are. Besides, it's not like they're awful movies like the animated Titanic movies, which makes it harder to ignore the historical inaccuracies. Anastasia and Pocahontas have a lot more creativity to them that makes it VERY EASY to ignore the historical inaccuracies. Plus if anyone thinks an animated movie is supposed to be historically accurate and educate people, they must be really stupid if they're depending on an animated movie to educate people. These movies are meant for entertainment, keep the historical inaccuracies out of your minds because there's no point.
The reception I get with these two films is absolutely fascinating. I mean, Pocahontas gets a lot of criticism from critics and while it wasn't a financial disappointment, it didn't bring in that big numbers. But Anastasia was actually critically acclaimed and a huge financial success. It's actually considered Don Bluth's best movie. While Pocahontas isn't universally hated, it's definitely not as popular or critically successful as Anastasia. This is odd to me because usually when a Non-Disney film does something similar to a past Disney film it doesn't get received very well. However, just because something is more critically acclaimed and popular it doesn't mean it's a better movie. I mean, How To Train Your Dragon is more popular and critically acclaimed than Rise of The Guardians, despite being an inferior film to Rise of The Guardians. So is Anastasia actually really better than Pocahontas or is Pocahontas a better movie that was unfairly snubbed? Well, let's find out. But keep in mind that this is all opinion based and not pure fact because this is pretty subjective. Also, just warning the very few of you who haven't seen the movies, spoilers are to be expected.
Round 1: Best Protagonist
First of all, with both of these heroines, I would like to say that both are incredibly well-written and great representations of their historical figures. Their personalities are really spot on to their historical counterparts. However, which heroine is the better character? Pocahontas is wise, daring, curious, brave, dutiful, dedicated, follows her heart, and has a great balance of being childish and mature. I love how she does stay with her people because she knows she's needed and selflessly lets John Smith leave to save his life. Although, wouldn't being on a ship for months actually be the worse choice because he would most certainly be dead? Oh well, the sentiment is still well-meaning. So she's a well-written character that does develop, so where does she fall a little flat? Well, much like Merida from Brave, she doesn't really have much of a real goal for herself until the conflict actually arrives. One of the great things about characters like Ariel and Tiana is that they had established goals that they wanted to achieve but in the process discover something more in their story. With Pocahontas, it's that she has no goal to begin with but later discovers one because of the conflict. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but I prefer characters with established goals because it makes me more invested in them.
Now to look at Anastasia, or as she's known for most of the movie, Anya. Anastasia definitely has the more interesting backstory than Pocahontas, but that doesn't necessarily make her a better character. However, one improvement over Pocahontas is that Anya actually does have an established goal, to find her family and later her destiny. So I'm able to get more invested in her than I am with Pocahontas. Along with that, she has a very snarky and enjoyably cynical personality. She's definitely brutally honest and isn't afraid to speak her mind, kind of like an animated princess very of Dorothy from The Golden Girls. She may come across as rude, which I can understand why it would bother some people, I personally don't mind because I find it entertaining. Plus I'm a very brutally honest person that can come across as rude, so I relate to her. But her problem is that she leaves her grandmother, who she had been searching for her whole life, for a conman. That's a major problem but pretty much the only problem I have with her. But overall, I find Anastasia to be more interesting, entertaining, and fleshed out than Pocahontas. While I adore both of them, I'm going to have to give this point to Anastasia.
Round 2: Best Love Interest
Now I'm only judging John Smith and Dimitri based off their personalities, not off their relationships with the protagonists, we'll get to that part later. John Smith, unfortunately, gets a lot of hate for some reason. From what I gather it's that he's voiced by Mel Gibson and he killed a bunch of Native Americans in the past. So what if he's voiced by Mel Gibson? Yes, Mel Gibson is a horrible person, but that has nothing to do with John Smith. I judge him based off his personality and not the voice actor. Also, yes the historical John Smith was a horrible person but this is not the historical John Smith. Yes, he killed a bunch of Native Americans in the past but the point is that he changes. Is it incredibly well-done? No. It is poorly done? No. It's averagely good and good enough. I also hear that he's very vain and superficial and all that crap but I don't see it. Yes, he spared Pocahontas' life. But it's Disney! Love at first sight happens! GET OVER IT! But he's actually incredibly selfless because he willingly jumps into the ocean to save Thomas (who he barely knew at that time). So he should really be admired for that. Along with that, he saved Chief Powhantan from being shot by taking a bullet, he told Thomas to leave and took the blame for killing Kocoum, tried to help Pocahontas make peace, and did all he could to keep Pocahontas from feeling guilty about the situation he's in that she blames herself for. Plus, while it's minor, I love how when he sees Meeko for the first time (who is a creature he's never seen before and for all he could know be dangerous) he doesn't try to hurt him. Instead, he just gives him food and is kind to him. He's also a very engaging character that is smart, kind, brave, determined, daring, adventurous, and confident. Is he the most well-developed character? No, he probably could have been better but he's still a great character.
Then we have Dimitri. First, I would like to describe Dimitri in two words. HE SUCKS! I honestly never got the appeal of Dimtri or why he was so popular. Well, actually, that's not true. People (meaning women) only like him because of his good looks. To be fair, he is handsome and better looking than John Smith, but looks isn't going to help any character in these rounds. I know this is superficial and I'm probably clumping people together but from what I've seen, it's true. Whenever I name flaws over Dimtri, they always justify him because "he's so cute." Having good looks does not make a good character. He's rude, lies, is selfish, uses people for his own gain, is sexist towards women because he says he hates a woman who has a mind of her own, his development was done terribly, and he's just downright despicable. The only good thing about him are his looks but that's not going to give him any points because it's a very superficial and shallow reason to like someone. This wasn't even close! Dimitri is a horrible character and John Smith is a million bazillion times better. And if any of your Dimitri fan girls try to justify him because "he's cute," or because "he's hot," I'll freaking insult you until you're the size of a peanut.
Round 3: Best Villain
Ehhh.... This isn't going to take very long to talk about. Whether you love the movies or not, the villains are always considered one of the weak points of Pocahontas and Anastasia. However, Rasputin is definitely the FAR superior villain. Ratcliffe is just a one-dimensional, boring, lame, and greedy villain that wants money and nothing else. He's not charismatic, intimidating, or interesting. Rasputin, while not a very good villain, is definitely much better. He at least has an interesting design and the idea of his character is great, though the execution isn't very good. But I will give him points for the fact that he has his moments of being a great villain. At the beginning he's really awesome because of the lengths he'll go to just to get revenge of the Tsar and his family. He doesn't even show mercy for the children. Plus, one plan he has for destroying Anastasia is invading her dreams by using her deceased family to lure her to her doom. Unfortunately, what ruins him from becoming a great villain is how he always spazzes out when he loses like a big baby. I mean, when Team Rocket from Pokemon or Rita Repulsa from Power Rangers do that, it fits the style because the shows aren't very serious. But Anastasia is meant to be taken seriously (not to the point where it's historically accurate) and have the villain constantly be intimidating. But while Rasputin has his problems, he's not a bad villain because of all the badass things he does, while unfortunately is ruined by his many lame moments. So while neither are good villains, at least Rasputin isn't a bad villain like Ratcliffe, who is an a horrible and pathetic villain.
Round 4: Best Sidekicks
This one is definitely a no brainer. Pooka is a very cute character that you just can't dislike. What really makes me love him is how he's dedicated to Anastasia and also is mean to Dimitri, that gives him bonus points. However, unlike Meeko and Flit, he isn't that necessary to the story. Meeko and Flit help with the message that two different worlds can live in peace and be friends. At first, Meeko and Percy fight constantly, but that scene where Percy is hiding underneath the tree and both Meeko and Flit assure Percy that it's alright and become friends. That's a subtle way of keeping in with the message the film is sending. So while both are great, this is no contest. Plus Meeko and Flit have much more character to them than Pooka does.
Round 5: Best Side Characters
Before you say anything, this is not the same as sidekicks. The sidekicks are characters that help the protagonist throughout their story, while the side characters don't serve much purpose but can still be entertaining. Kind of hard to explain but oh well, I think (or at least hope) everyone gets the gist of this. Starting with the side characters in Pocahontas. We have Nakoma, Grandmother Willow, Chief Powhantan, Thomas, Kocoum, and a bunch of characters I don't remember. To be honest, the side characters really aren't all that appealing. I mean, Grandmother Willow is a great and wise character, she's like a tree version of the Fairy Godmother, only not ditzy, yes still funnier. Nakoma and Thomas are pretty likable and entertaining characters that are dedicated to their friends. But the other characters just aren't memorable or even interesting. Kocoum is the typical stiff fiance that the heroine doesn't want to marry, Powhantan is the typical dull leader and strict parent that doesn't want to listen, and everyone else is just unmemorable. Anastasia on the other hand, has three side characters that I find to be very memorable. You have Vlad, Sophie, and the Dowager Empress Marie. Not a big cast of side characters but by having a minimal amount of side character, we get to know them better than just having a bunch of side characters you hardly get to know or aren't very interesting. Vlad is a good friend to Anastasia that at the beginning wanted to tell her about the plan. Yes he lies to her, but unlike Dimtri, he actually treats Anya like a person with kindness and respect. I'm surprised Dimitri treated his meal ticket like such crap. Sophie is a very entertaining and pretty funny character, with the perfect voice actress to play her, Bernadette Peters. Speaking of perfect voice actresses for characters, the Empress is voiced by Angela Lansbury (most famous for voicing Mrs. Potts from Beauty and The Beast) and gives a great performance. She has so much emotion in her voice, even when her voice is very quiet. You can really feel the pain she's going through with losing her son and his family, losing her granddaughter because of something she believes is her fault, and just wanting to find her granddaughter but imposters keep on trying to fool you for your money. So I'll have to go with Anastasia on this one.
Round 6: Best Evil Minions
Evil minions are rarely very intimidating. The only one that comes to mind is Harley Quinn from Batman. But I digress. So you should probably know by now that it's not an unpopular thing that evil minions reform. But are they done well? Are they entertaining. Well, Bartok, Rasputin's evil minion makes a lot of one-liners but that's it. There's not that much to him. He was apparently popular enough to have his own AWFUL spin-off sequel, Bartok: The Magnificent. They don't explain why he's a bat who can talk or why someone who is obviously not evil is an evil minion. He was a very unnecessary character that adds nothing to the story. However, Percy and Wiggins actually do have reasons for being evil minions. Wiggins was assigned to Ratcliffe or something, either way he gets paid. Percy is a pet dog and that's pretty much all you need. Percy and Wiggins aren't really evil, they were just given a bad boss and owner. Percy does reform and it doesn't need to be developed because he was never really evil. He was just shown kindness from Meeko and Flit and he changes, even becoming Pocahontas' sidekick in the sequel and in most Pocahontas merchandise. So like Meeko and Flit, Percy serves a purpose to subtly show the message of the movie. Wiggins, while he doesn't have much to him, if very humorous in how stupid and silly he is. He's not sarcastic or clever like Bartok, but he's slightly more entertaining. So point goes to Pocahontas!
Round 7: Best Songs
This one is going to be very hard to explain for me. Both movies have incredible songs, not a bad one among them. Even people who don't care much for either movies thinks the soundtracks are fantastic. Both of them have a very broadway style to them and it's neither too modern like the songs in The Lorax or too old fashioned like Bambi. The songs are completely timeless and can be enjoyed in all time periods. The songs all transition very well and don't just come out of no where, like the songs in Frozen (which despite my dislike for it, has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack that I could listen to all day). The only way I'd be able to properly analyze the songs is if I did a completely different article for that. So, I guess for once I won't be able to really explain why one is better and just go with the one that just appeals to me more, Anastasia.
Round 8: Best Instrumental Score
Much like with the songs, it's very hard for me to explain and yet it's easier to explain than the songs. The instrumental score in both movies has amazing choir singing in the background, which is always absolutely awesome. Both of them have a lot of epic moments but I get more excited with the epic moments and choir singing in Anastasia than I do Pocahontas. However, with Pocahontas we do get more into the culture. In Colors of The Wind, they place snake rattling sounds and with Steady As The Beating Drum you get a big sense of the culture. I don't know much about the musical culture of Russia, so I can't comment on that. So, just like the songs, I'm just going with the one I like more rather than explaining it, because it's very difficult. So the winner is Anastasia.
Round 9: Best Animation
Once again, whether you're a fan of films or not, people always praise these films for their gorgeous animation. I hear people complain that the rotoscope in Anastasia is annoying but I actually don't really notice it. Even when people try and point out the scenes to me, I can't really notice it. I try as hard as I can to see it but I just really can't see it at all. The animation is absolutely gorgeous. Pocahontas' animation is gorgeous looking as well. The colors really pop out and the lines look really smooth, except for the eyes. A lot of the times the eyes look really stiff and the lines are so thick. It's only when we get a close-up of the faces that the eyes look more appealing. But the colors are just so stunning and the animation is definitely the best during Colors of The Wind, where the colors really get to pop out with no real restrictions. However, I feel like the colors are kind of too bright. That's one of my problems with the animation in Disney, the colors are usually too bright for me. With a movie like The Prince of Egypt, which also has undeniably gorgeous animation, the colors are just too dark for me. Anastasia on the other hand has just the right balance. The colors aren't too dark or too bright, the backgrounds aren't too simple or too detailed, and the character look very realistic without making them look creepy like those celebrity guests that would appeal in the show "The New Scooby Doo Movies." I could look at the animation in Anastasia FOREVER if I had to. Anastasia has the best animation I've EVER seen, so obviously it wins this round.
Round 10: Best Couple
Neither couple is extremely well-developed. However, where Pocahontas and John Smith are only a little bit rushed but also have a lot of chemistry, Anastasia and Dimitri are REALLY rushed and don't have any chemistry. I've heard people complain that Derek only loved Odette for her looks and yet these are the same people who adore Anastasia and Dimitri as a couple. Oh yeah, because Odette and Derek only had their entire lives knowing each other and only made subtle hints showing they liked each other. While Anastasia and Dimitri were constantly fighting, there was no signs of liking each other, no development, and.... Dimitri only started loving her for her looks.... DON'T NEED MORE THAN THAT! The two of them were constantly bickering and it was only when Anastasia put on a pretty dress and changed her hair into a more attractive style that the romance started. I mean, people have said the same thing about Rapunzel and Flynn, but they actually had a scene where they started liking each other before Rapunzel's hair was put in that gorgeous braid. They actually talk about their pasts with each other and explain how they became the way they were. Anya and Dimitri never had that. Dimitri never explains how he went from a sweet kid into a complete asshole that only cares about himself. They don't know anything about each other and we don't know what they like about each other besides Dimitri liking her for her looks. Plus he seems to only care about her when he finds out that she really is the real Anastasia, yet he doesn't seem to try to be with her because she's royalty. Where the hell did that come from! So he was going to use a stranger in a con to get money but he won't marry her because she's royalty, which should make him richer! Both this couple and Dimitri are just terrible! Definitely the weak points of the movie. I don't even know what Anastasia likes about him. Maybe that he and Vlad were helping her learn how to be a princess and find her family. Who knows? At least she reacts properly to him lying to her by yelling at him and giving him a good punch. Just a HORRIBLE and OVERRATED couple! Anastasia can do SO MUCH better!
Pocahontas and John Smith, while not perfect, are just a BILLION times better as a couple! They talk to each other, they share interests, hopes, dreams, their problems, tell each other about the others world, and help each other grow. Yes, they could have been more fleshed out but are still a great couple. They're dedicated to each other and want so much to bring their world's together in peace and finally be together. Pocahontas stops at nothing to save him from being killed, even going against her father and saying he'll have to kill her first. Her love for John Smith is what helps her show everyone how the path or war and violence is wrong, that instead peace is the better option. However, unlike with Anastasia and Dimitri, Pocahontas doesn't leave her people to be with John Smith. It's a hard choice but Pocahontas knows that her people need her and she'd rather be without John Smith than to let him die by staying with her. It just makes me so tearful! It's SO BEAUTIFUL! Dimitri makes Anastasia, one of my favorite fictional characters, look bad by leaving her grandma to be with him. SHAME ON YOU DIMITRI! So NO CONTEST, this round goes to Pocahontas. Unfortunately, that bad sequel had to ruin it by having her end up with John Rolfe. THAT MOVIE NEVER HAPPENED!
Round 11: Best Plot/Writing
Spoiler alert, the winner is Anastasia. However, I will explain why Anastasia is better. First of all, I think the idea of a lost princess that went missing and everyone is looking for to be very interesting. The story is really well-done and has very few plot-holes, if any. The only flaws in the writing is Dimitri is a terrible character, the romance is horrible, the Rasputin's spaz moments outweigh his awesome moments, we don't get to read much about the Romanov's themselves (aside from Anastasia, of course), and the ending sucks (again, the fault of Dimitri). If they had fixed these problems, the movie would have been better and probably almost flawless. Plus, I would've loved to have seen what Anastasia's relationship with her family was like and what her life in the orphanage was like. But the emotional scenes, especially the one where Anastasia and her grandmother are reunited, are done really well. Plus there are a lot of references to the real life Anastasia's life. Such as the butterflies in her dream, that's actually a reference to the butterfly wallpaper in Anastasia's room. That's pretty clever. But overall, the writing and the plot are just incredible. It has it's problems but every movie does.
As for Pocahontas, while the story is great, I feel like it's a little rushed. It didn't seem as fleshed out as it could have been. It needed to be longer in my opinion. Plus they don't really explain how just listening to her heart would allow Pocahontas to speak other languages. What's up with that? Plus, since this is a movie where you're supposed to communicate with nature, why don't the animals talk? If there was any Disney movie where the animals can talk to people, this is one. Maybe also learn a little bit more about the culture, though I think we get a decent amount. So both are great movies but Anastasia definitely wins in this round.
Round 12: Best Ending
I'm not a fan of either endings but for completely different reasons. Anastasia leaves her grandmother that she's been searching her all her life and has a limited number of years left with for a conman jerk that lied to her and she hardly knows. Along with that, out of nowhere we have Bartok end up with some pink female bat. What the hell? Where did that come from? I still ADORE the movie and the character of Anastasia, but this is a big problem for me. Why can't Dimitri just leave with her and her grandmother? Why do they have to run away and elope? What is the point? This couple and Dimitri's character are even worse than I though!
Pocahontas on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It has a bittersweet ending where Pocahontas stays with her people instead of being with her true love. A very well-done message but again, wouldn't sending John an a ship for a trip that would be months long just increase his chance of death? Oh well, it's Disney logic, I don't question it that much. If it was that logical, most of the men on that ship would be dead and be outnumbered by the Native Americans. The ending is well-done and beautifully tragic. I especially love the scene on the cliff where they're saying their last goodbyes with the wind blowing at them. But my problem with it, is a personal thing. I HATE sad endings! A sad ending will usually ruin a movie for me. I still ADORE the movie and have respect for the ending, if they had shown a sign of hope that they would meet again and be together, I would have been satisfied. Along with that, we wouldn't of had to worry about that bad sequel. Besides, sad endings are not what I expect for endings of Disney movies. However, the ending for this movie does have high quality in writing and emotion, unlike the emotion in Anastasia. So, I'll definitely have to go with Pocahontas on this one.
OVERALL WINNER: Anastasia
Anastasia: 7 Points
Pocahontas: 5 Points