Turns out the worst part of Pocahontas wasn’t even in the movie!

Snow White? Belle? Aurora? Cinderella? Ariel? Jasmine? Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope.

My favorite Disney princess? That’s easy: Pocahontas.

This revelation hardly qualifies as a secret (even before I pressed ‘Publish’): I once spent an entire field trip belting out Just Around the Riverbend while making my way in a canoe down an actual river, and I’m fairly certain there is a video somewhere in existence that features my rendition of Colors of the Wind – performed on a kitchen counter in Nepal, on Purim.

Despite my undying love for the movie, it had been years since I last watched it. And when I finally did get a chance to turn it on, one specific part made me wonder what I ever saw in Pocahontas, anyway:

I’m not going to elaborate, but if you watch the song – especially if you’re lucky enough to watch it in context – you’ll instantly recognize that it is the quintessential concoction of crap: it interrupts the movie, it’s a bad song, and everyone would have been better off without it.

Still, one thing didn’t make sense to me: I can sing along to every other song in Pocahontas. But when If I Never Knew You? came on, I felt as though I had never heard it before in my life. Granted, listening to it is borderline traumatic, but I don’t think I could have so completely blocked the experience from my memory.

Turns out, there is an excellent reason for that. Your honor, I would like to draw your attention to Exhibit A:

What you might have just watched is a promotional trailer for the 10th-anniversary edition of Pocahontas. About 40 seconds in, the voiceover proudly promotes the new edition “featuring the song ‘If I Never Knew You’, with never-before-seen animation.” All my life I’d watched Pocahontas on VHS, If I Never Knew You-free. On this occasion, I had turned to a pirated copy, because VHS and Natalie Portman. The song was obviously included in the digital version to teach those would turn to internet piracy a lesson they would not soon forget.

After making this discovery, I noticed the following explanation posted by the same person who uploaded the song to Youtube:

this song was originally intended for the film and was almost finished, when Disney ran the movie (with the song) to a few test audience, and the younger–read, the kid–audience pretty much started squirming during this song, probably wanting to get back to the action.

Another recent Pocahontas discovery: Thomas is voiced by Christian Bale. In case you don’t adequately appreciate that fact, go watch Batman. Then watch Pocahontas. Then watch Batman. Good times.


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